He’s on a mission to keep the classic music of the 50’s and 60’s alive.
Enter Flashback Freddy, also known as Fred Wortley, a Lacombe-based artist who will take you on a trip down memory lane through the music of the likes of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash.
While Flashback can now be found hopping, skipping, jiving and keeping audiences across the province on the dance floor, he wasn’t always hot-rodding around with his music.
Somewhere in between moving from Vancouver Island and leaving a career in the logging industry a few years ago, birthed the artist Flashback Freddy.
“I had about 40 years of logging under my belt already and I had enough of that,” said Flashback. “I thought what am I going to do? I had always played the guitar throughout the years just for fun with a couple of my friends – just a little acoustic guitar, that’s what I had. I would pick up my guitar, maybe a couple times a year and just plunk out something on it at a party or something.”
It wasn’t until he ended his career in the logging industry that it dawned on him that it was time to pursue his musical passion.
“I was sitting at the kitchen table, trying out some of the old ones and my wife looks at me and she says, ‘You’re not Fred, you’re Flashback Freddy,’” he said. “She says, ‘Get out there, have some fun with people and share it.’ And so one thing led to another and she kinda gave me a push.
“I thought, you know, there’s enough people who still like this music,” he said of the two classic decades. “And so off I went. I thought if I could only learn just maybe 15 songs or even 20, and now I’m up to around 500. I just kept plugging away. It was like an obsession. I had to learn.”
Flashback said he found that the music of the ’50s and ’60s was exactly the type of music he wants to play. In the late ’50s his older brother and sister were in high school, so their musical tastes obviously rubbed off on young Fred, who was around nine at the time.
“I grew up listening to that music, you know from the late ’50s and I kind of liked it,” he said. “I wanted to play songs that people knew and loved through the years and they could dance to it.
“I feel like I’m on a mission to keep it alive. Buddy Holly, Ricky Nelson, Elvis and Johnny Cash and all of those guys. That’s what makes it tick for me. This music is kind of timeless in the sense that it has the beat, especially that rockabilly stuff that the younger crowd can embrace.”
Flashback’s song catalogue is expansive, and covers a wide range of genres – rockabilly, country, surf-rock, early rock ‘n roll – which is achievable as a one man band.
“I’ve been in a couple of bands prior to this, but with the wonders of modern technology, I am able to use backing tracks that augment what I do and it sounds like a band,” said Flashback. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
He adds that by being a solo performer he has a smaller footprint, which allows him to visit venues of all sizes.
What sealed the transition from Fred to Flashback was a switch from an acoustic guitar to a Fender Telecaster, the electric delight Flashback calls ‘Maybelline.’
“That was big for me,” he said. “I’ve never had so much fun in my life. The guitar feels better than the power saw in my hand. It’s not that I didn’t mind working out in the fresh air, but this is way more fun. It’s like a dream come true.”
Flashback Freddy will be joining an array of performers at the refugee benefit concert hosted by Flat Iron Jazz on Jan. 30th at 7:30 p.m. at Wolf Creek Community Church (located at Hwy. 12 and Wolf Creek Drive in Lacombe.)
The funds raised go towards the resettlement of a family from Syria to Lacombe.
Tickets are $25 and are available at Sunny 94, the Mary C. Moore Public Library and from Lacombe Community Refugee Effort committee members.
For more information about Flashback Freddy, visit www.flashbackfreddy.ca.