breaking a new act to the media, the usual introductory point is
the push and pull of hype-carted promises of unbelievable
talent. Tomorrow’s next big thing normally arrives trumpeted
with an expansive and expensive web site. Then there are the
publicity shots. Often there’s a styled hat. There’s often a
shiny buckle and a canyon of gleaming teeth, all aided with
breathless praise pushing the album “you must hear”.
Crammed, if we believe the spin, with unforgettable tunes --
several soon to be huge -- all written by noted songwriters; the
ballyhoo is a predictable treadmill. So, when a review package
arrives without any of the hoopla, well, if nothing else, it
sparks interest. And when the artist’s name is, wait for it,
The Rider, the curiosity really kicks in.
the details may be, but our mystery man does deliver. Released
on V-Tone Music, the 12 track self-written album, My Way, could
serve as a metaphor. The album could easily serve bigger
ambitions for the man who looks out from his album cover,
bearded, unsmiling and dressed in a cape-like coat, while
walking an unnamed highway. It’s all a mystery, sure, but the
music more than satisfies the intrigue.
we do know is our talented and retiring songster comes from
Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He started writing songs at 14, honing
his interest in folk, rock and country, eventually to, years on,
doorstop in Nashville to record this debut. Now with a tight
band of seasoned session musicians, including Tim McGraw’s
Dancehall Doctors, Bob Miner and Denny Hemingson, The Rider has
packaged an album of interest.
immediate notice is he not only pens well-rounded and
hook-driven tunes of life, love and the fragile balance, but he
has a voice that could carry them, easily, to radio. With a
voice textured with a Bob Seger similarity, our identity-shy
artist is a blend of vocal strength and lyrical sensitivity.
Tracks like the rock-driven and drum pounded “Betty Lou,”
the equally danceable, “Stop Hear The Sound,” and the
harmony-rich “Baby You’ll Love It” cover one-half of the
moments come shared on the thought-provoking lovin’ and leavin’
tale, “By Your Side,” while the revealing “Do You
Remember” prods stored memories. The cowboy tale of lonely
rides and active thoughts of home and family play out on
“Hello Brown Eyes,” and, the final cut, Doing Fine
Ya’ll,” is a nod to the simplicity of life, all tunes that
unmask abilities that shouldn’t be hidden.
Rider. He comes without fanfare, without hype, and without the
thundering hooves of a media contingent content to ram the
product home. The Rider: revealing little but sharing
everything. For a guy who wants to stay low-key, content to make
his music his way, here’s an offered suggestion. This album
it out at your local store. The mystery will surprise.