Channeling John Lennon: Ralph Rich is a Musician You Ought to Know

It’s no secret that we Dames like music. Pop, rock, classical, hip hop, and even some rap. We’ve also had our personal experiences with music. Abbie personally knows Red Wanting Blue, Jeannette has touched Josh Groban’s hand, and I wish I had touched Josh Groban’s hand…

Much of my high school experience was spent surrounded by music. Particularly, during long hours of choir and theater rehearsal where for weeks on end we would try to get the harmonies just right — to the point that we were sick of the songs, sick of each other, and physically sick. So not only do I love music, but I’m pretty skilled at discerning good music.

One of my new favorite artists is someone who I’ve known for nearly my whole life — even longer than I’ve known Jeannette (and I’ve known her since I was six.)

My new favorite artist is Ralph Rich.

A Northeast Ohio native (from Hubbard, a suburb of Youngstown), Ralph Rich has been involved in the local music scene for about 4 years, performing both as a solo artist and as a member of various bands including Krave, The Fuzzy Dice, and Super Cheef. He has played at multiple venues big and small including The Lemon Grove, Cedar’s, O’Donold’s, and Barley’s Pub in the Youngstown area, The Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Red Hook, New York, and Sadie Rene’s in Canton.

Rich, 24, began playing drums at age 4 and has played guitar since high school. He cites his main influences as The Beatles, John Lennon, Dashboard Confessional, and The Killers. Rich’s sound, however, also evokes the spirit of artists like The Goo Goo Dolls and John Mayer.

Rich has been writing music since high school, using personal experiences as inspiration, and his hard work is paying off. Looking forward to an eventual move to Los Angeles, Rich has just released his first EP. Comprised of original songs written by Rich over the last several years, the EP features six acoustic tracks that capture all of Rich’s influences.

The self-titled EP highlights all of Rich’s talents and his promise as an artist. My favorite tracks off the EP are “For You,” “Gia,” and “Leaving You Behind.”

“For You”: (Sample)

“Gia”: (Sample)

“Leaving You Behind”: (Sample)

Equally as fantastic, are the EP’s remaining 3 tracks, “I Want to Know,” “Think Back-Remember Me,” and “Heartbreaker.”

“I Want to Know”: (Sample)

“Think Back-Remember Me”: (Sample)

“Heartbreaker”: (Sample)

The CD version of Ralph Rich’s self-titled EP is available now directly from the artist. It will be available for digital download on iTunes and Amazon.com on June 1, 2012. It will also be available on Spotify on the same date.

Make sure you check out his Facebook Page here: Ralph Rich on Facebook.

Rich’s new EP is truly excellent and a representative of the talent housed here in Northeast Ohio.

Abbie may have Red Wanting Blue, but I’m looking forward to the day when I can say: “You know Ralph Rich? I knew him in Kindergarten…”

DISCLAIMER: All images and audio included in this post are the property of Ralph Rich.

In Celebration: Public Radio Music Month

Like Jeannette mentioned in her most recent post, there has been quite a hiatus here at The Dish. April is always a busy month, and for me, that was no exception. I’ll be finishing up grad school in May, and it seems like many of my classes backloaded our syllabi with rather large projects (or busy work, depending on the class), and my projects and events for my internship have been consuming most of my in-front-of-a-computer time, which is ok with me since I definitely love working in Student Programming. Besides being a part time graduate intern, part time student employee, and full time student, I’m also serving as one of my sister’s maids of honor for her upcoming wedding, which kind of equates to another part time job. (I really like doing this, too — if Student Affairs doesn’t work out for me, I’m totally becoming a craft concierge!)

April is almost over, though, and I wanted to write this post while it was still relevant. Public radio stations across the nation are celebrating Public Radio Music Month, in recognition of these small, locally supported radio stations that aren’t afraid to take chances with their playlists and programming. These stations are able to bring a more diverse sampling of music to a wider audience than mainstream stations on the dial, providing tunes that don’t necessarily sound like anything else that’s out there right now. For classical music lovers that can’t make it to the symphony in person, public radio puts the listener right in the front row, and alternative music fans can have that small club right in their own car. According to NPR Audience Insight & Research, public radio stations play 4,797,660 hours of music a year. That’s a whole lot of listener supported music.

In Northeast Ohio, my public radio of choice is The Summit FM (91.3 Akron/Canton, 90.7 Youngstown), and that’s usually where you’ll find my radio set. Don’t get me wrong, NPR is great, too, but I just can’t get into classical music on the radio. I do, however, like to catch up on the news and listen to Fresh Air and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me when I get a chance. (Can I please have Carl Kasell record my voice mail message?!) The Summit is an entirely listener-sponsored radio station, and has been for over 30 years. This allows them to bring you music for your drive home, minus all the annoying commercials that you get on other stations. Plus, there’s a wider variety of what you’ll hear, since they don’t play the Top 40 in a continuous loop. As I’ve traveled all over Northeast Ohio, I’ve discovered a lot of great music that I never would have heard on other stations. While some of the artists they feature are quite well-known (Bruce Springsteen, Adele, and the Black Keys, to name a few), there are others who are gaining more and more notoriety by being featured on these local stations.

Here are a few of my favorite finds that I’ve discovered listening to The Summit (which you can listen to right now, since they stream it online for free, and also through a free app for your iPhone!). Whenever the first two songs on this list come on, I tend to crank it up and rock out…  Support your public radio stations and tune in; you never know what you may find!

Other songs on the list:
Mat Kearney –  Hey Mama
Michael Franti – Subterranean Homesick Blues
The Head & the Heart – Lost in My Mind
Of Monsters & Men – Little Talks
Eric Hutchinson – Watching You Watch Him
Mumford & Sons – The Cave
Dr. Dog – That Old Black Hole
Imelda May – Mayhem
Wilco – Dawned On Me
Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over
NEEDTOBREATHE – Drive All Night
Dave Matthews Band – You & Me
Red Wanting Blue – White Snow

Tramps Like Us, Baby, We Were Born to Run…

Have you ever had to participate in one of those group ice-breaking activities? You know, where they ask you some random thing about yourself and you usually have to stand there for a minute or two and say “um” multiple times? Like, “if you were a cartoon character, who would you be?” (A mix between Lisa Simpson and Leila from Futurama, obvs.) Or, “Give us a motion to associate with your name,” to which I respond by recreating Olive’s Super Freak routine, move for move:

However, if I’m ever asked what animal I would be, I’m going to respond “bumblebee.” We’ve all heard that very scientific fact that the bumblebee should not be capable of flying because of it’s awkward body and tiny, fragile little wings, but it does.  In that sense, my friends, I am like the noble bumblebee. I’d like to think that my little legs get me where I need to go. Perhaps not very quickly, but I get there. So, this is probably why I surprised myself a little bit when I decided that I would participate in the 2nd Annual Campbell-Dickinson St. Patrick’s Day 5k Run/Walk in my hometown. I’m sure a lot of other people never expected me to want to participate in such an event, either. I chose this as a short-term goal for myself towards the end of last year. But, I actually really enjoy working out, when I can get to it, of course; it’s just that walking/running is perhaps on the bottom of my list of enjoyable workouts, which looks like this:

1. Zumba      2. Lifting      3. Running/Walking

 I just find it boring, especially if you’re on a treadmill or just walking around a track multiple times. You’re not really getting anywhere. I do enjoy using the ellipticals at the Rec Center, but I have a hard time finding one that’s parked below a TV with a channel I like. Most of the time, I end up on the machines closest to the TV showing CNN or VH1. I need something to motivate me when I work out, which is why good music is an absolute must. Zumba obviously has fun, energizing music to dance to, although I do appreciate it when there are Top 40 songs mixed in with raggaeton, salsa, and cumbia. It makes it easier for me to do the arm workout or squat songs at home. When I lift, I prefer something with a slower, heavier beat, that puts me in a kind of, let’s say… overly self-assured attitude. That should explain why Kanye West shows up a couple of times on my lifting playlist. Actually, looking at a small sample of it, a lot of it is rap, I guess:

1. Let Me Blow Ya Mind – Eve w/ Gwen Stefani
2. God’s Gonna Cut You Down – Johnny Cash
3. Amazing – Kanye West
4. Black & Yellow – Wiz Khalifa
5. Can’t Tell Me Nothing – Kanye West

Johnny Cash? Where did you come from? Whatever, that song is hard. Anyway, I’m walking in this 5k on Saturday, and I need to update my playlist. I’ve already taken out the songs I skip most of the time whenever I work out, and this is what I have left:

  1. American Girl – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  2. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
  3. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
  4. Born This Way – Lady Gaga
  5. Devil’s Dance Floor – Flogging Molly (It is St. Patrick’s Day, after all.)
  6. Dog Days Are Over – Florence & the Machine
  7. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love – The Blues Brothers
  8. Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
  9. Get Me Bodied – Beyonce
  10. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones
  11. Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
  12. Kissing the Lipless – The Shins
  13. Let It Rock – Kevin Rudolf w/ Lil’ Wayne
  14. Please Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna
  15. Proud Mary – Tina Turner
  16. Rebel, Rebel – David Bowie
  17. Rebels of the Sacred Heart – Flogging Molly
  18. Renegade – Styx
  19. Sabotage – The Beastie Boys
  20. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
  21. Single Ladies – Beyonce
  22. Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
  23. Tighten Up – The Black Keys
  24. U.S. Bumper Sticker – Red Wanting Blue
  25. Under Pressure – David Bowie & Queen
  26. What’s Left of the Flag – Flogging Molly
  27. You’re the First, the Last, My Everything – Barry White

But, I need your input. I’d like to have a few more songs on this list in case I don’t want to hear one of these. My only stipulation: absolutely no country music.

So, what would you suggest I listen to while I participate in the 5k this weekend? For those of you who have run/walked a 5k before, any hints or tips? I’ll check back in sometime next week and let you all know how it went. Thanks!

GAP: I’ll explain later

I met the man of my dreams last night…in my dream.

His name is Josh Groban and I am insanely obsessed with him (as is Joni).

I’ve been a fan of Josh Groban for quite a few years now. I think he’s a fantastic singer and is a very talented musician. (Did you know he can play the drums?!? I didn’t until I saw him in concert twice this summer (as did Joni) and it was AWESOME).

If you have any doubts of his musical ability, just listen to this:

He also has a great sense of humor. Sometimes when I’m feeling sad, I watch this video and it cheers me up:

As I previously mentioned, I saw him in concert twice this concert. I went to the first concert with my family at the beginning of the summer. We were in a massive arena and had pretty good floor seats. We didn’t know what to expect, but needless to say I was blown away enough by the first concert that I HAD to see him again (this time with Joni 🙂 During the concert, Josh was extremely interactive with the crowd. He was also super entertaining and kept the audience wanting more.

One of the coolest parts about the concert was that there was a smaller stage in the middle of the main floor which wasn’t too far from where my family was sitting. Although there was security, enough people were getting out of their seats to take close up pictures of him that I figured, what the hell? So, I sneakily scurried by the security guards to get closer to the smaller stage. I took fabulous pictures (which unfortunately are at my house) then headed back to my seat, but not before I heard someone yell my name. Now-don’t get carried away. It wasn’t Josh shouting for me, it was my mother. Slightly less exciting, but wonderful nevertheless because without her scream, I would have never gotten the chance to touch Josh Groban. Yes, I said it-I touched him. Okay, that sounds awkward. Let me explain.

As I was heading back towards my seat, I heard my mother shout my name. I turned to look at her and just at the right time as well because at that time, Josh was leaving his smaller stage for the main stage and was about to run right past me. Well…there were people in front of my, but there was no way I was missing this chance. So, like anyone would do (or so I like to tell myself), I managed to make to the front of the crowd and put my hand out just in time to give Josh a high five. You would have thought I had won the lottery I was so excited!

So, after Joni and I both seeing this concert with our families, we decided to see splurge and see him again. We had great seats (11th row I believe) and had a great view the whole time. In fact, he made eye contact with us and don’t think I’m crazy. At one point in the concert, he invites a couple up onstage who has been married for a long time. After the opening act, Joni had overheard the couple behind us discussing how long they had been married and informed me of this. We then made it our mission to get them onstage. So, being the loud, obnoxious girls that we sometimes are (no offense), when the point came to recruit this couple, Joni and I were ready. Pretty sure it would have been impossible for him not to have heard us, so he looked at us, saw the couple and voila, they were the couple onstage 🙂 Good work to us if I do say so myself.

So, you’re probably wondering what a GAP is, right? It stands for Grobanite Access Point. It stands for different points where fans may have access to Josh like on the steps to the stage or when he’s going from one stage to the other. Joni and I contemplated trying to get onstage, but to no avail. There’s always next time, though.

I also have an I Love Lucy experience related to this event, but I find it so entertaining that you’ll just to have to stay tuned for this story at a later time 🙂