A native son is coming home to sing.
Altoona native Ricky Lee, with his band The Mustangs,will perform Friday at the Railroaders Memorial Museum to promote the release of his new CD, "My Hometown."
Lee said the concert will be his first big show in Altoona since 2009.
"I get the audience involved," he said. Stressing the "positive messages in my music," the singer/ songwriter said, "I'm living my dream. Everyone can chase their dream, no matter what it is."
Lee's country music career has been building since he devoted himself to it nine years ago.
Last year he sang "The Star Spangled Banner" before 78,000 football fans at the Buffalo Bills home opener.
If you go
What: Ricky Lee "My Hometown" concert
When: 6 to 11 p.m. Friday
Where: Railroaders Memorial Museum, 1300 Ninth Ave., Altoona
Details: Tickets are $8 and available at the museum, open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., or any Thompson Pharmacy location. Tickets will be $10 at the gate.
For a free exclusive download, visit altoonamirror.com, click on the Ricky Lee icon on the homepage and follow the directions.
He has opened for country music performers Justin Moore, Gretchen Wilson and Trace Atkins as well as Lynyrd Skynyrd.
"I do a lot with troops and veterans," he said. He teamed up with the national Veterans of Foreign Wars in 2010 to raise money for a military assistance program.
"My Hometown" is his fifth CD. It was recorded at Studio 19 in Nashville. "A Hard Secret to Keep," one of the 13 songs on the CD, will be the first tune released to commercial radio stations.
Lee comes from a musical family and has been playing music since he was 15.
But he said "I gave up on my dream" before meeting Lindsey Connelly. A brain tumor robbed the young Altoona girl of sight and mobility. Her determination and hard work allowed her to crawl again.
"She inspired me," Lee said. He held benefit concerts for her and flew her to Nashville before she died in 2006 at age 15.
"She was my inspiration," he said.
Lee mixes his inspirational musical messages with grassroots patriotism, which includes promoting the purchase of products made in America because of the jobs they retain and create.
He works closely with Mark Andol, founder of a Made in America store in Elma, N.Y.
Andol said he first began selling 50 all-American-made items in 2010. MIA's products now number 4,500.
"He has created a movement," Lee said.
On Friday and Saturday, a mobile MIA store will be parked at the museum.
Andol said the mobile store will tour with Ricky Lee as it tests the markets on the tour for a second retail store site.
"Ole '97," a Johnny Cash and June Carter tribute band, and JJ Hancock, "The Ultimate Elvis Experience," will open the concert in the museum outside yard. Food vendors and adult beverages will be available.
Sherry McCarthy, the museum's director of marketing, said the "Alive @ 5" seasonal concerts are regularly held at the museum but it has never hosted a Ricky Lee performance.
The museum "is a perfect venue to have this kind of thing," she said, adding that it also "brings awareness to the museum."