It always goes back to the blues.
There is a deep-seated connection to that musical paradox. It’s the simplest of song structures, but produces the most diverse sounds imaginable. Rich will spend a lifetime trying to master it.
Growing up in a family of music lovers, Rich was first inspired by the songs of the sixties. His grandmother paid for piano lessons, and he was dedicated in his practice. The musical knowledge gained was everlasting.
Kiss and Van Halen suddenly related to the hyperactive teen. From then it was all guitar. He sat down with those Mel Bay books at the age of 15 for hours and hours. A few lessons to open up his ears, and then it started clicking.
An Arlen Roth book introduced him to the concept of going back. How did your heroes learn? The next level was Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, SRV, Gary Moore, The Allman Brothers, and The Who. Then came BB King, Albert King, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Freddie King, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Sterling Magee, and yeah, it always goes back to the blues.
He cut his teeth in high school and college playing all over New York with his best friends on the local jam-band circuit. After marrying Alicia, another music lover, and relocating to the DC metropolitan area, he was fortunate to be introduced to the local Funk / Soul / Go-Go scene by bassist George Belton, his brother-in-mind. But it was more of a validation than an introduction. That groove and feel had always been there.
The connections led to sessions with Unit:E, Yewande, Koko Boom, Dyverse City, Rahmana, Full Mesh, and Halfway to Concord. When an opportunity with local rock trio The Jones opened up, Rich grabbed the bass and gave it a shot. The Jones are still going strong; a power-trio rooted in the songwriting of Mike Greenberg, and the musical expression of 3 buds. He has been fortunate to perform all over the US at memorable venues in San Diego, NYC, New Orleans, Cleveland, DC, Maryland and Virginia.
Rich’s approach to the blues feeds off high-energy funky grooves and doesn’t turn it’s back on the Delta roots or the Marshall-stack successors. The guiding principle is raw and fun.
His latest solo release, First In Line, features Sean Rickman on drums and appearances by George Belton (bass), James “Chordy” Teagle (keys), Quibee (vocals), and Adam Gussow (harmonica). Mixed by Andrew Dunbar, the 8 original songs are rooted in all aspects of blues, from hard-hitters (Fine Way, In My Mind), to funky (Waiting Blues, Big Bower’s Hour), to upbeat drivers (I’m Taking Notes, Broken Song), and traditional blues compositions (Dirt Blues, Lone Soul). First In Line was tracked at Rich’s Bradshaw Studios in Virginia.
Rich has been inspired not only by his peers, but by the many guitar students who have benefited from his teaching methods. “I don’t spend a lot of time trying to re-invent. Rather, I want to preserve the great tradition of blues music in a way that pays respect, but maybe puts just a little twist on it to keep it in the face of modern culture.”