Ward Richmond: Highly Meditated

This charmer of an album is both interesting – Richmond has been in bands for years but now reflects on getting sober, becoming a father, yoga and meditation – and melodic.

The first song is either nihilistic, or about some kind of meditative revelation. Before the music even starts he’s telling us: “I’m thinking about quitting everything / cos I don’t give a about anything … and I’ve never felt so good about anything before.” Despite the lyric it’s a bouncy and breezy song, somewhere between Jonathan Richman, folky Americana and The Kinks.

In Europe is about life touring with a band on the titular continent, the lyrics gently poking fun at touring musicians (“We had drummer named Bruce / he always liked to tell us what to do / it always made me wonder who was working for who”). The music has shades of a 70s soft rock classic, the kind of tune that features on a dad rock, driving CD. A lot of the tunes sound like something you’ve heard before, in fact High Road opens a bit Joan Jett but then goes a bit Men At Work.

While the lyrics can be amusing there are no comic songs, not even Fountains of Wayne style humour; they’re all serious songs, which means if you don’t listen to the lyrics they’re songs that work just as music. A couple of tracks, such as Shootin’ For The Stars, are regular songs.

It’s an enjoyable album, somewhere between all the bands mentioned: if you like the sound of Stacey’s Mom (Fountains) meets Into The Great Wide Open (Tom Petty) via Jonathan Richman, give it a listen.

Of the album, Richmond says: “Every Saturday I would wake up at 5am with my one-year-old son, grab my guitar, sit down for a couple of hours and just write, and force him to listen. The songs wrote themselves. Levi had no choice but to endure these song writing sessions. Now that he is two, he can clearly communicate to me that he does not like my music.”

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