Rick Rorex Bio:
Rick began playing mandolin at the age of 11. His early mandolin influences were Emmylou Harris, Country Gentlemen, Seldom Scene, Bill Monroe and Doyle Lawson. In the early 80’s as his musical knowledge was expanding, he heard Darol Angers Fiddlestics and David Grisman’s Mondo Mando albums. These recordings changed the entire path of his mandolin playing. This exposure led to the discovery of other artists and genres such as The Tony Rice Unit, Newgrass Revival and Jazz/swing giants like Jethro Burns, Tiny Moore, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Django Reinhart.
Rick got his first experience as a professional musician playing with James Monroe and his Midnight Ramblers. James' group at the time included the legendary musicians Uncle Josh Graves on dobro, Monroe Fields on bass and Mark Rayborn on Banjo. During this time, Rick had the opportunity to play a few shows with the great Mac Wiseman.
In the mid 1980’s, Rick recorded a solo mandolin instrumental project called Old Friends and New Trends with progressive guitarist Al Smith, Banjoist Mark Rayborn and the late great Fiddle player Randy Howard. This recording contained a mixture of fiddle tunes, swing and dawg tunes. As a follow up to this recording, Rick, Mark Rayborn, Al Smith, and Randy Smith formed a group and played many gigs in and around the Chattanooga and Atlanta areas. This group's repertoire was focused on new acoustic music. Following this group, Rick played in the band Acoustics with Mark Rayborn, Neal Nichols, Bobby Burns and a young guitarist Kenny Smith.
Following college where Rick obtained an Electrical Engineering degree, Rick lived and played in and around Huntsville Alabama. He helped form the band Barnstormers with guitarist Kenny Smith, Chuck Holcomb Banjo and Mike Shephard on bass. During these years, Kenny and Rick routinely played the contest scene. In 1994, Rick won the National Mandolin Contest in Winfield Kansas. Shortly after, he published an instructional book called Mandolin Tunes and Techniques capturing many of the arrangements and solos from his competition years.
The following years were focused more on his Engineering career and raising a family. During these years his music pursuit continued but was limited to local venues and church events. In recent years he has begun ramping back up his music. Rick has focused on private mandolin lessons and has recently led impromptu Dawg jams at mandolin workshops like Swannanoa’s Fiddle, Banjo and Mandolin week and Alan Bibey’s Mandolin camp. Rick is currently involved in music collaborations with The Rick Taylor Combo, Bounds and Determined, Justin and Angelica Branum, Criag Morris and King Cotton and the award winning Kenny and Amanda Smith band.