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A man, not alone
Richie Lawrence, the not-so-lone ranger.
PHOTO BY KATIE THOMAS
Well, shoot howdy shucks. Lawrence’s voice is so gentle and insistent that it kind of makes me feel high just hearing it… it’s mellow and bright like the yellow sun in springtime, never intrusive but impossible to ignore once you notice it. Lawrence has mastered the ability to take roots Americana in its most August lazy and yet make it seem fresh, like a young gal/guy in a gingham dress who has never felt a hand in that part of their britches before. It’s impossible not to compare this to Jason Heath’s recent album, solely because this one is so much better–unlike Heath, Lawrence’s slow and steady approach means he never wears out his welcome, and even the accordion he uses sounds like a genius addition instead of like kitchen sink excessiveness. The album starts off being country/western and suddenly becomes Tin Pan Alley poetry in the vein of early Oingo Boingo/Tom Waits. It’s strange and wonderful. I get sickened by things like this because they remind me of how my fast-paced L.A. lifestyle means a misery of missed shows and underappreciated amazements.
-D. M. Collins
HiFiCity.hu is digging Richie’s new album, Water, calling his Steinway piano “the love of his lifetime.” What would Miss Katie say? Good Hungarian translation is always appreciated!
Richie Lawrence was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma when Eisenhower was president.
He grew up as a townie and farm boy and spent so many summers on the grassland of the family farm. But Lawrence was quite early in the musical palette submerged and taught himself to play piano at the home 1917 Steinway. He also appropriated the craft of songwriting and to his latest album ‘Water’ thirteen tracks penned together.Essential for life, of course, water, hence the title. And like this definition the album drifts quietly. The poetic lyrics Richie flawlessly strewn with delicious piano arrangements. The simplicity prevails clear and the songs unfold slowly but unexpectedly a simplistic whole. ‘Pirate Kitty’ even has a German tango rhythm. Laconic and humorous, it does not always boring. Like the rocking ‘Call Me Back’ and his two-chord vamp. Here the piano works brilliantly redeemed by a glistening guitar of Paul Lacques. ‘Fields Where They Lay “immediately telling Celtic protest song. But the buoyant mood in the Cajun influenced ‘Marry Me’ is ultimately the puppets dancing. Together with his band The Other Half Of the Yolos and his wife Katie Thomas Lawrence Richie will tour extensively to promote this album indeed. Richie Lawrence you will learn how to play and drink ‘Water’ or the big Montains.Check it out!
– Philip Verhaeghe
Translated from Dutch:
Five songs far into Water, the second album by singer / pianist Richie Lawrence, I had the legendary Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band in mind, a merry band of deranged English weirdos with patches of vaudeville, cabaret and many absurd ingredients. Not that Lawrence once an exuberant rogue, but the way he sings, builds songs, piano music and his approach seems in more ways than one on the way chief Bonzo Neil Innes and Viv members Stan Hall. Maybe You And Me, a cabaret-style country song with a high popgehalte, and Pirate Kittyy had just penned by the duo can roll. What Lawrence, however, differs from the Bonzos are songs like the bluesy Old Friends (with subtle piano riffs), the worn Poets Prayer (with nice vocal work from wife Katie Thomas) and light-hearted love ballad Fields Where They Lay. That kind of songs deliver a high water density. Nice picture.
Review of Melancholy Waltz
This is what music is meant to do. I am transported from a weak summer day, still losing its battle with should be long gone winter, to standup flying through the shadows and the heat and sleepy heaviness of somewhere deep in old America. This is stripped down dreamtime, breathing slow, deep and moody. When the vocals start (accompanied by seductive accordion) they are laid back but almost flirtatious, in ‘Danielle’ one gets the impression that even if the woman in question is angry enough to THINK about leaving, she is also charmed by the gentle nostalgia of the playing. Within the title track, Lawrence blends the sad dramatic with a sense of liberation, this and the other songs are flickering ancient images of battles fought and, again, one is taken back to the feel of dreams, the hopefulness perhaps of the weary optimist. These are songs that soothe the savage self pity of the barroom late night, in awe of the days past, in love with the possibilities of the here and now. Magically Lawrence creates secular hymns crossed with just the right hint of music hall bawdiness. When there is regret it is gentle and when there is love it is profound and utterly moving. This collection is an escape, played pure, from the heart.