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

Our Ohio Success Stories, Revisited

Of all the fashion articles, in all the online women’s magazines, in all the Internet, I found another Youngstown blogger who wrote about Nanette Lepore this past fall. While perusing Glamour’s Slaves to Fashion blog last night, I found this article about Youngstown’s favorite fashionista and her “Made in the USA” values. It includes photos from inside her NYC Garment District studio and factory, where all of her pieces are designed and assembled.

I want this dress in my closet, stat.

I wish I knew how to wear these colors! (Photo from Glamour article.)

I posted a comment about how I’m sure Ms. Lepore’s work ethic is a reflection of her Rust Belt roots, and posted a link for Joni’s article featuring the fashion designer. This afternoon when I went to see if anyone had replied to my comment, I found two lovely surprises: 1. Nanette Lepore is bringing her line to JCPenney (although, it’s a junior’s line, which I read as, “Not so much for you, curvy girl” —  however, accessories like bags and necklaces are one size fits all!); and 2. Someone had responded to my comment! Natasha, another Youngstowner, posts about fashion on her blog, Cardigancouture. It turns out, she also wrote a post last fall about this hometown success story. What are the odds? Anyway, I highly suggest you check her out. Her most recent post about brightly colored denim is a a territory I’m not sure I could ever approach, but I love her creative suggestions!

Last fall, I also wrote a post about my personal favorite Ohio success story: a little rock and roll band from Columbus, Ohio, called Red Wanting Blue. Well, the day I’ve been waiting for since the start of last semester is just about here. Tomorrow, they will be performing at the first Penguin Pre-Party at YSU, and I have to try to not turn into a total fan girl.  Yesterday, the band released the first music video to accompany their new album. Their song, “Audition,” is a remade version of the same song which appeared several years ago on one of their early albums. The structure and sound are still generally the same, which just goes to show that this fan favorite is a solid tune. At live performances, they add in a throwback to Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” (do, do do, do do, do-do-do…). And speaking of those live performances, tomorrow also kicks off a 3 concerts in 9 days streak for myself, my sister, and her fiance. Though they can’t make it tomorrow night, we’re all going to Cedar’s this Saturday night for their show. I also bought Carmen and Josh tickets to their House of Blues show in Cleveland for next Saturday. Like I said in my original post, not all people can afford to go see their favorite band multiple times a year, and its even more unlikely that their favorite band makes multiple appearances in the same region in a year.

Here’s the video for “Audition,” filmed at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus. They asked for fans to send in the videos they took that night of the performance to be included in the video. I think it turned out pretty well.

Red Wanting Blue – Audition (Official Music Video) from Red Wanting Blue on Vimeo.

“From the Vanishing Point” – A Fangirl’s Review

I know my fellow Dames are well aware of my love of a certain “rock n’ roll band from Columbus, Ohio” called Red Wanting Blue. However, I’ve been a little silent about them on Facebook and the Twitters recently, but that’s because I’ve wanted to do a post about them, about why I’m such a huge fan, and their new album “From the Vanishing Point,” which will have it’s wide release on January 10, 2012. (Although some fans may have already pre-ordered it and will find it under their Christmas trees this year…)

I attended my first RWB concert as a sophomore in college, when a friend asked me to come with him to Barley’s as sort of a wing-woman, which is kind of one of my pro-skills. We sat towards the back, and it was pretty loud in there anyway, so I didn’t hear much of the music, but from what I could tell — not so bad.

The second time I went to see them was actually a total fluke. I was at one of the pre-party concerts at my university seeing another band, and there was a raffle for tickets to see RWB at the House of Blues in Cleveland. A friend of mine won the tickets, but was unable to take them, since she had plans for the next night, and offered them to me. The opening acts were… weird… but I loved what I heard from RWB when they started playing. We had to leave before the show was over, but stayed long enough to hear this song, accompanied by a trumpet player, which was the only time I’ve ever seen them do that live. New fave song. I hunted the band’s page down on MySpace (chyeah, MySpace.) so I could friend them and listen to the five or so songs they had on their page over and over. (It’s probably one of the best off of “These Magnificent Miles,” along with Gravity, Where You Wanna Go, and US Bumper Sticker.)

Fast forward to my junior year when my little sister, Carmen, had just started her first semester at college. I asked her to come with me to see them play at Barley’s because I totally wasn’t going to go by myself. She semi-reluctantly agreed, but we’re both glad she did, since now, I have someone who goes to every concert with me.  I can’t count how many shows we’ve been to in the last 3.5 years in the Youngstown-Cleveland-Kent area, but it’s definitely in the double digits. With the college-student-friendly ticket prices, guaranteed quality of entertainment, and friendliness of the band, it’s difficult not to go.

Seriously though, these guys are wonderful to their fans. I have this picture and two autographed posters to prove it. (L-R: Mark McCullough, Scott Terry, me, Eric Hall, Carmen, Greg Rahm, and Eddie Davis.)

Just a note: That picture is from early 2009. Since then, Eddie has left the group (and I think is actually working on his Masters at YSU), and Dean Anschutz (also a YSU grad) has taken over on drums. Not pictured is Eric’s beard.

It seems like the guys are constantly on tour, with shows just about every weekend. This past year has been pretty big, as this indie band signed with Fanatic Records, a small part of EMI, and it lead to the nationwide re-release of “These Magnificent Miles.” You can get it on Target and Best Buy’s websites, but save yourself the postage and get it directly from their merch booth after a show. Leading up to their recent performance at The Newport in Columbus, the band, through Fanatic, released a track from their new album, “From the Vanishing Point,” each morning for 13 days.  Listen to the album, in its entirety, here:

Stay On the Bright Side: Very strong start to the album. They did the same distortion-y opening on “Magnificent Miles,” and that song is one of my faves.
Audition: Not a new song, but a fun reincarnation of a much older tune I’ve heard several times at shows, minus the shoutout to Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.”
White Snow:  I love how the lyrics always seem to tell a much deeper story. The chorus is super catchy, but its structured a little differently than I’m used to. I’m interested to see what they use to get the fuzz sounds at live shows..
Playlist: I’m really trying to get into this one. I am. As many times as I’ve listened to it, I can’t figure out what about the song doesn’t do it for me.  More listening required. This song is fantastic, and kinda sexy (not gonna lie). It finally clicked for me when when I heard them play it live at YSU this past January. (Updated July 18)
Love Remains: This song will most assuredly be making an appearance on my “Sexy & I Know It” workout playlist. With lyrics like “don’t give up, you can keep up, keep on moving. chasing the sound of the sun somewhere going down…” how could it not be?
Cocaine: Yes. This. Scott played this originally as a solo acoustic piece when they were road testing it, and I don’t know which way I prefer.  Kind of a rough love analogy, but its perfect.
Walking Shoes: This song is all kinds of fun and cute and happy.  I love how simple they kept it, and the autobiographical lyrics about “living life through postcards and telephones.” Great harmonies in the bridge, which I’ve never heard from RWB before. Neat.
Dinosaur: Much harder than the song before it. This one also has workout playlist potential. Definitely more alt-rock than “Americana.”
Running of the Bulls: I always like to hear the lap guitar in their songs. This one reminds me a little of “Finger in the Air” in it’s defiant spirit, which I appreciate.
Ballad of Nobodies: This is another story-telling song, really highlighting the beautiful tenor of Scott Terry. The way this song is written reminds me of any of Jimmy Buffett’s ballads. Yes, weird comparison, but its true. Listen to him, too.
Hope on a Rope: This is how I feel about graduate school. “Dream is a whale, and I am Ahab. I am the captain of this rusty bucket ship… I promised my family that I’d break the mold.” I love every part of this song. My boyfriend likes it because Scott yells.
Pour It Out: This song gets me a little bit each time I listen to it, which is probably why it’s my favorite on the whole album. “For every dream that’s in my mind there’s another butterfly that I can’t catch… Maybe I caught the wrong dream runnin’, but this one just ain’t mine to live, all I know is right now something must give.” These lyrics are incredible, and so is the sound.  Or maybe it’s because I love Ohio so much. I don’t know.
My Name is Death: Bonus track. This playful, tongue-in-cheek song is a witty and clever way to end an album I can’t wait to get my hands on.

I can’t wait to see that yellow bubble mailer sitting on my kitchen island in December.

July Updates!

The first time Carmen and I heard them play “White Snow,” we were anxious to see what they used to create the distortion. As soon as I saw it, I turned to her and said, “It’s a #&*%@ Yak-Bak.” At least it’s something like a Yak Bak, which is pretty cool.

On June 29, Red Wanting Blue played for their largest audience in the state of Ohio at Rockin’ on the River in Cuyahoga Falls, hosted by 91.3 The Summit. They were joined by Modern Electric, A Band Called Ashes, and We Are Public Radio, which is fronted by another local favorite, Andy Dolson. Despite the inclement weather, all of the bands put on an amazing show. Red Wanting Blue was even joined on stage by a few mini-fans who led the crowd in cheering for the band, showing us all again how much these guys appreciate their fans.

They’ll be making their network television debut on July 18, 2012 on The Late Show with David Letterman, and you know I’ll be in the front row… in my living room, but still super excited!