1. Highway 98

From the recording Highway 98

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(update April 2014)
Hard to believe the Highway 98 signs are up. The dadgum signs are UP! Holy cow. What a wild ride this has been.
Of course you know, the song is up on iTunes, and all other major digital music retailers and music streaming sites. So please check it out...and leave a rating or comment and share it on your Facebook and Twitter pages.
Folk and Country radio is embracing the song and playing it, all over. Even outside of GA. Wow, who would've guessed it! If you have a favorite station and they AREN'T playing it, please let me know. We'll make sure they do.
If you missed our sign unveiling, it was awesome. The crowd was awesome. The Jackson Co Deputies there to help with traffic, the press, my friends and neighbors...all awesome. What a day. What a memorable day for me and my family!
Here's a link to a YouTube of the event, if you're so inclined. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wF9G1cF2hQ
So what's next? Well now we concentrate on making sure Radioland has all they need to keep playing. And we'll be focusing a lot on getting the Highway 98 video done. So stay tuned as things continue to unfold.
And be sure to come out to a local show! No local shows...? Then tell me where you are and we'll put something together.
Thank you, guys, for all you've done! I am blessed!!!
(update March 2014)
And the deal is done! Yes!
Highway 98 signs are scheduled to be erected by the GA DOT, Tuesday April 8 (the 98th day of the year). The unveiling ceremony will be held that following Saturday (weather permitting), April 12 at 2PM. More details coming.
And, the studio version of "Highway 98" is now up on iTunes, and should be hitting all major digital music retailers, right away!
We did it!!! YOU did it!!! Thank you!
CLICK HERE to view a map for our Sign Unveiling Ceremony, at the crossing of GA Hwy 98 N and US Hwy 441 Bypass (Veterans Memorial Parkway), Commerce, GA 30529. (34.193514,-83.431184)
And here's a link to the Facebook event for it: 
Update Nov 2012
GA DOT funding for the “Highway 98” road signs is finally secured!
We are all incredibly grateful to the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and the folks at Commerce’s Southeast Toyota Distribution Center for sponsoring the cost of these signs.
Please, please give them your support and show them your appreciation for helping us make this part of GA Music History, a reality!
Next…sign unveils, coming soon! :) 
(update April 2012)
It is official! Monday March 26, 2012, the legislation (HR1642) to make “Highway 98” the song of GA Highway 98 passed the GA House of Representatives. How cool, how cool. :)
Never before, in the 280-year history of the great state of GA, has the legislature ever recognized any song as the official song of any GA roadway. This is a first for GA Music History, and an incredible thrill for me and my family. And it’s a red-letter day for all of GA, as we honor one of our historic, rural roads and turn the attention of people all over the country to our beautiful and picturesque way of life.
The bill, spearheaded and co-sponsored by Rep Tommy Benton, is the product of many years and countless hours of work, patience and determination by everyone around me. And it would not be as it is, were it not for the efforts and dedication of many, many people…I won’t even attempt to start naming names.
Now all that’s left is to raise the funds for the signage (which the State does not pay for any more). Approximately $600 is what it will take to get the GADOT to erect and maintain signs at either end of 98. We’ll be getting the word out and giving people a chance to be a part of that, both in large and small ways.
And actually, as of Sept 2012, it looks like we may have some corporate sponsors. But final details will be coming.
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The Evolution of Highway 98
If you’ve been around me for long, you’ve probably heard (or even have a copy of) the “old” Highway 98 recording. Chris Bishop, down at (now defunct) Radium Recording (Athens, GA) did the engineering on that and we knocked it out, man, in probably less than an hour. The whole thing.
However, it was kind of sparse. But it was always intended to never be more than a demo…it just never got re-recorded, and then it became a single, and so on and so on. But I’ve always wanted to re-record a fuller, radio version of it.
In anticipation of the coming excitement, I finally got back in the studio and did an all-new, fuller-instrumental version. That has been floating around the internet for 6 months or so. Of course, I was never really satisfied with it either. :) So back we go...into the studio yet again! (I am obsessing, I know it.)
Now, after nearly a solid month of doing nothing else in the studio BUT a new Highway 98, it is FINALLY done!
LOTS of time spent on this brand-new "studio" version, and not just because I've wanted to be particular with it. But it has been important to me from day-one, for this to be something special. And I really feel like it is. And with all humility, I'm very proud of the final result.
Musically, if there's anything lacking, then I've got noone to blame but me. Out of pure OCD pickiness, I wound up laying in all the vocals and instruments. All but the bass...on which I am truly horrible. But good friend and bassist extraordinaire David Wilkins threw down some totally sweet bass lines in here. One of my favorite parts of the recording, actually. Now, when I listen, if I close my eyes, I can almost imagine Lee Sklar working some of that legendary bass magic of his...but I wouldn't trade David for a dozen Sklars. No way, baby. (Very smooth.)
I'm not the best pianist so many, many days and late nights were spent "learning" how to play the piano and organ parts I had in my head. And the drums...forget about it. It's a miracle in itself that they even got recorded. But yes...I am happy with this! Totally happy! Frankly, THIS is the version that I have had in my head for the last 10 years. So now you can hear it as it was always intended to be!
This will be THE radio and retail release of Highway 98 and the one that we’ll be referencing for the GA legislation and dedication proceedings. You should be seeing and hearing a LOT more of this in the coming months.
Hope you enjoy this new recording…I would love to hear what you think!
So thank you, as always!!!
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WHY Highway 98?
Highway 98 is THE road, running out of downtown Commerce, GA and into and through Madison County, GA…Danielsville, Ila, Comer. It’s a geographical point of reference and practically a landmark, in and of itself. As I’ve heard it said, “Nothing happens in Madison County that it don’t roll down 98 first.” And I would agree.
It’s a long, straight, lonely road. Houses and barns and pastures on either side, all the way down. A few stores. But mostly just big hills and long, straight stretches of blacktop. It’s very picturesque to tell the truth.
So I figured if there can be songs about Highway 40, Highway 101 or Route 66, well, we ought to be able to have a song about Highway 98. It’s just as integral to out lives here as those other roads are, there.
So I wrote it.
And in a narrative style, kind of Shawn Mullins meets Bob Dylan thing, I started penning the words that colored my memories, from the very start. It’s very literal and very autobiographical, but fans say that they identify with it.
I get stories of people who say they could listen to this, close their eyes and it feels just like their right there. The Jehovah’s Witness building, Midway Store, the courthouse in Danielsville, the school, the scenery, the pastures and barns and farms.
And it’s personal for me… “my best friend Todd’s old house” and “my grandpa’s”, those places are real.
And when I sing “Highway 98, I swear, there’s something about your lines”, I feel it all the way down to my bones, every time.
Hope you like what you hear. And I hope it makes you itch to take a drive down Highway 98, just to see what you can see.
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Limited Edition Autographed CDs are coming soon, to a store near you! And, a Highway 98 video is in the works!
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Highway 98
Words & Music by Ricky Fitzpatrick
Verse One
Headed out of Commerce, ‘cross the railroad tracks and the new bypass.
Right about there the world begins to change.
Past the new Jehovah’s Witness building, and my best friend Todd’s old house,
Takin’ me right on back again.
Verse Two
Not too slow…not too fast, set the cruise and let off the gas.
Blacks Creek Church Road and drifting through my dreams.
Past the county line and Midway store, a million other times before.
And in the farms and the barns I’m wrapped up in your wings…
Highway 98, I swear, there’s something about your lines,
Makes a good ol’ boy get lost inside your miles.
Highway 98, out there, in the middle of the highway signs,
Makes me want to take my time…on you.
Verse Three
Past my grandpa’s house and Jot ‘Em Down; a thousand years from the nearest town.
There ain’t no one else on the road tonight but me.
‘round Danielsville and the register homes, like the lyrics straight out of some classic Country song
Not a care in the world as far as I can see.
Verse Four
On past the high school and under the stars, occasional headlights from the passing cars,
And the whole world just seems to be right again out here.
Destination: far as I can take it, all the way down 98.
I just might keep on drivin’ all night…but I don’t care.
Highway 98, I swear, there’s something about your lines,
Makes a good ol’ boy get lost inside your miles.
Highway 98, out there, in the middle of the highway signs,
Makes me want to take my time…on you.