Country Music People May 2019 - Page 38

albumreviews CHAD RICHARD Worthy Cause  Slow Rollin Stateline / Love Anyway / German Angel / Right Now / Worthy Cause / Fredericksurg / Waters Rise / The Big and The Little Hand / My Name / 12 More Days of Blue / Shawdy and a Shiner / The Game Producer: Walt Wilkins Independent 44:35 Chad Richard says he once got some advice about not turning something you love into a job. So for many years he had a job in a Louisiana 38 cmp - MAY 2019 chemical plant only playing small gigs. Walt Wilkins heard him and asked him to sit in with his band. From here things progressed and a debut album released in 2015. This is his second release: produced by Wilkins. For the record Wilkins’ compiled a great band with players who ordinarily work with Ryan Bingham, Band Of Heathens and Kelly Willis. The result is a contemporary yet classic sounding country album. Slow Rollin Stateline hits a soulful easy groove to kick off 12 self penned songs. Marian Brackney’s fiddle leads the tune and Wilkins guitar adds some tasteful licks. The chorus places you way down South - “Zydeco to the East and gumbo too, Texas swing to the West, the world’s best barbecue, Sweet memories of these two states of mine, Flow like that Muddy, slow rolling Stateline”. Love Anyway has clever wordplay around the theme grace and mercy and generally getting along. His voice sits way up front over a gentle shuffling rhythm and strings add saccharine to the melody. His voice can carry a tune with a deep reflective care worn timbre welded to a delicious Southern drawl. It also drips personality that helps adds great emphasis to the message. Waters Rise is topical. With sonorous backing vocals (Tina Mitchell Wilkins) he sings to the accompaniment of an electric piano of how people rally round to deal with such catastrophes and rise up higher than the water. Worthy Cause could be Chris Stapleton with a bluesy vocal over a minimum of backing. He puts his heart into this love ballad and we bathe in that expressive voice whilst eventually a piano (Chip Dolan) and lap steel (Corby Schaub) take this home. Topics chosen are engaging, and include ghosts, the kindness of strangers, single parenting and, to prove that this is a bona fide country album, he even ‘pops a top’ and sings about a dog. However for all of that he can construct an arresting line or two and in the wistful The Game (about a solo troubadour playing the circuit) he sings - “Waitress cleans off a table while she talks to me, Says she’s been workin in here since ’93, The sad smile she wears makes it easy to see, She ain’t exactly where she hoped to be”. He’s a great observer and coupled with this is his ability to find a thoughtful lyric to articulate it and not least an ear for a tune. This record is a great listen with no filler and it is quite baffling how a thing of such great beauty had to be self released. I’m really hoping he gets some traction and finds a larger audience. Tony Ives