By Alexis Nalley | Photography by Dero Sanford
From Usher to AC/DC, Tragikly White has been bringing classic dance songs to enthusiastic fans around the Mid-South for 25 years. Rick Martin, lead vocalist, started the band with bassist-vocalist Jimmy Tomlinson, guitarist-vocalist Tim Reed, and drummer Michael Smith in 1993. At that time, he noticed that there weren’t a lot of cover bands doing dance music and decided to take the initiative. “This was in the middle of the grunge phase, so people looked at us like we were crazy at first,” Rick recalls.
Despite the initial response from wary audiences, Tragikly White has remained true to its vision and has consistently been recognized as the best band in Arkansas by readers of the Arkansas Times. “Obviously that is a huge honor for us,” Rick notes. “On the national circuit we are known as ‘that dance band from Arkansas.’ We are very proud of where we’re from and we love our fans.” The band has played at almost every venue in Arkansas, noting that each one has its own charm.
Throughout the years, Tragikly White has been the headliner for music festivals with more than 10,000 people in attendance, but they still enjoy playing smaller, more intimate events. “We’ve also had the privilege to play literally hundreds of weddings and corporate parties around Arkansas,” Rick explains. “We always make sure those people have the time of their lives. It’s our honor to be there for them.”
With 25 years invested in the community, the band supports countless organizations in Central Arkansas – including Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, American Red Cross and American Cancer Society – and has been the featured entertainment at hundreds of events and fundraisers. “We are always happy to do whatever we can to give back to the people who have given us so much.”