Ricochet is an American country music band from Oklahoma. The band was founded in 1993 by brothers Jeff Bryant (drums, vocals) and Junior Bryant (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), along with Heath Wright (lead vocals, lead guitar, fiddle), Greg Cook (bass guitar, vocals), Teddy Carr (steel guitar, Dobro), and Eddie Kilgallon (keyboards, rhythm guitar, saxophone, vocals), After several years of playing throughout the Southern United States, Ricochet was signed to a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1995. Their self-titled debut album produced three straight Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts, including the Number One single "Daddy's Money"; the album was also certified gold in the United States.
The band followed its debut album with 1997's Blink of an Eye, which also produced several hits on the country music charts. A third album, titled What a Ride, was slated for release in 1997, but was not released; however, their 2000 album What You Leave Behind contained tracks from this cancelled album. After being dropped from Columbia in 2001, Ricochet released a live album on an independent label. Ricochet's latest album 15 years and Counting has produced the crowd favorite "Sweet Tea" the album is available online or at shows.
Ricochet's membership has changed significantly over time. Of the original six members, only Heath Wright remains, alongside Chris Hempfling (vocals, drums), Matt Harelik (vocals, keyboards, trumpet), Steve Hamby(vocals, bass) and Larry Hight (vocals, pedal steel, rhythm guitar, and saxophone).
Ricochet was founded in 1993 by brothers Jeff (born December 27, 1962) and Junior Bryant (born October 23, 1968), who at the time were members of a band called Lariat, in which Jeff played drums, and Junior played fiddle and mandolin. The two brothers had invited lead singer Heath Wright (born April 22, 1967) to join Lariat; although the other members of Lariat disbanded not long afterward, the Bryant brothers and Wright decided to form a new group known as Ricochet.
The three members held auditions to recruit additional members, finalizing in 1994 with a six-piece lineup composed of Jeff, Junior, and Heath, as well as Teddy Carr (steel guitar, vocals) (born July 4, 1960), Greg Cook (bass guitar, vocals) (born January 28, 1965), and Eddie Kilgallon (keyboards, rhythm guitar, saxophone, vocals) (born May 12, 1965). Under this lineup, Ricochet toured throughout the Southern United States, where they soon became known for their high-energy, mainstream country music sound. They often spent their downtime rehearsing and writing songs.
1995-1997: Major-label debut:
Through the help of the band's manager, Ricochet was recommended to Blake Chancey, an A&R director for the Columbia Records label and they were signed to a development deal. By early 1995, the deal turned into a full-fledged recording contract with the label; in addition, they were signed as an opening act for Doug Stone, Charlie Daniels and Merle Haggard.
Ricochet's self-titled debut album, Ricochet, was released in 1996. The song "What Do I Know" served as its lead-off single, and was a Top Ten hit on the Billboard country music charts. It was followed by "Daddy's Money" (their only Number One hit to date) and "Love Is Stronger Than Pride", also a Top Ten. The album remained on the Top Country Albums charts for more than a year, and was certified gold in the United States. Ricochet's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner", recorded for Columbia's NASCAR: Hotter Than Asphalt album, charted at number 58.
1997-1999: Blink of an Eye and What a Ride:
Ricochet's second album, Blink of an Eye, was released in 1997. Although its lead-off single, "He Left a Lot to Be Desired", was a Top 20 hit, the album did not perform as well as its predecessor. A third album for Columbia, tentatively titled What a Ride, was recorded in 1998; although three of its singles entered the country charts, the album was not released.
A bout of carpal tunnel syndrome forced Jeff Bryant to leave the group in 1999; he was subsequently replaced by Tim Chewning on drums. Around the same time, Shannon Farmer replaced steel guitarist Teddy Carr, after Carr and his wife were preparing for their first child. With the new members in place, Ricochet recorded the album What You Leave Behind in 2000; included on it were several tracks from the unreleased What a Ride, most notably their cover of Steve Young's "Seven Bridges Road". Two of the songs that were newly recorded for What You Leave Behind were also released as singles before the band exited Columbia's roster in 2000. In 2001, Eddie Kilgallion left the band to tour with Montgomery Gentry. The following year, Junior Bryant departed to spend time with his wife and son. A live album, titled The Live Album, was issued in 2004 on the independent Cowtown Records label. In September 2008, the band released a compilation album entitled Ricochet Reloaded--Hits/Plus, which includes a combination of their greatest hits and newly recorded material. The latest release in 2012 entitled 15 Years and Counting is a compilation of Hits, fan favorites, and newly recorded material. In 2014, bassist Greg Cook left the band to become the Tour Manager for Ricochet's close friends, The Swon Brothers, after the Swon's successful season on the hit show, The Voice.
Jeff and Junior Bryant's nephew, Chase Bryant, is also a singer.