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Rick Woodward has been a musician since his youth. Woodward grew up in a musical family, so it is not unusual that he would pursue this interest. He began playing guitar at age 12 and wrote several songs as a youngster. Woodward’s father was a well-known musician, having played with Bill Monroe and Bill Nettles during the 1930s and 1940s. Both of Woodard’s brothers played with popular local bands.
Woodward however, as a youth, could get few lessons from his older brothers and says: “There was a show on TV. at that time with Jose’ Feliciano, and I would watch him make a chord on the guitar then turn off the TV. and try to make that chord on the guitar. I learned two chords that way and played them until my mom said I had to learn something else or move out. So, I could say I learned how to play from a blind man.”
Woodward’s sense of humor, warm personality, and musical talent led him to be an assistant pastor at New Hope Baptist Church in Hargis, Louisiana. He sang for a time with his brother in a gospel group and also sat in with other well-known local musicians. He worked hard to learn the musical styles of the blues guitar and harmonica.
After living and playing with many famous blues musicians in Memphis, Tennessee, Woodward returned to Louisiana and began to play with fellow Hall of Master Folk Artist Inductee, Rick Seale. Together, they formed the Hoodoo Papas. He continues to write songs and performs regularly. Woodward was inducted into the Louisiana Folklife Center’s Hall of Master Folk Artists in 2005.