Rich - "One"

I’ve been jumping back and forth searching for something to supplant Sam, Carla, and the Cheers Gang; god bless the algorithms, they try, they really do, but it’s been mostly duds and sinkers over here until Hulu decided to shove Taxi right into my face. I’ve heard so many good things about this show, Andy Kaufman, Judd Hirsch, Danny Devito, Marilu Henner, and Chrisotpher Lloyd, so I finally gave it a go. I hit play, and what’s this? WHAT’S THIS THEME MUSIC?! Alright, shit, you got me Taxi, I’m hooked and I haven’t even heard dialogue yet. I did some digging and realized that the theme song for the show (“Angela’s Theme”- Bob James [1978]) wasn’t even the original theme music. It was the score for a one-off character in the third episode. After listening to what was the intended original theme music, it just seems like there was no way that “Angela’s Theme” couldn’t be the theme music. It sets the tone and environment for the entire show; a group of people trying their best and just barely making it through. Dark, neon, sunshine, sorrow, some success, and more failures. Anything made in a vacuum always has a different potential when you see the forest for the trees.

Rich is a self-proclaimed “Pontoon Rock” group based out of Pittsburgh, and their debut album One is a stellar display of Ambien drenched, groovy-bop, heartbreaking, sunset-driving ballads. The members of this group hauled their rear-ends to a hunting camp away from the city, near Allegheny National Forest, and decided to just go ahead and write and record some excellent music in the span of a few days in March (Minus “So, True I Do” which was recorded at Mr. Smalls Recording Studio). The environment of this album brings the bass tone (Nate Campisi), reverb-twingy, drenched guitar (Rich Stanley), beautiful synthscapes (Ryan Hizer), and smooooooth drums (Kayla Schureman) of the 70’s blended together with a little bit of now. “So True, I Do” slings the same groove as “Down the Line” by Gerry Rafferty with a little bit more tension, while “Let’s Get Real” lets off all the steam of relationship frustration sung with so much sultriness you’d be convinced it was a love song.

Which leads to the vocals and lyrics on this album, Stanley, brings all of these tones together, with Schureman backing his lead to ensure maximum groove, solidifying One. The lyrics bring the light to the disco ball and then you can see what is on the walls, or at least try to, it's pretty damn dim, but here's a hand, Stanley's, held out to guide us through. The production on this album is grade-A as well, and who could’ve guessed it’s Campisi behind the knobs, who’s had his hands on a whole buffet’s worth of great Pittsburgh releases, let’s hope he continues to do so.

My favorite track on this album, “Silver Skin”, rides for almost 6 minutes without you even realizing it. Everything is locked together in rhythm and moving from suite to suite as easy and as effortless as a tide. Overall Rich has created an album that has a multitude of potential coming out of its cabin creation. It’s boat cooler music, it’s sad slowdance disco floor boogie; really the genre rubix cube is for everyone and anyone to solve. For me, “Visions of You” first finished the album out as I was in Deep Creek, Maryland with the sun setting, getting ready to hit the town, pensive but ready to boogie. Whatever you think One, it’s that and so much more.

RIYL: Connan Mockasin, Christopher Cross and Gerry Rafferty slow dancing on Ambien, Aloe Vera
that’s been in the fridge, “you got any more white claws in the boat cooler, dude?”

Favorite Tracks: “So True, I Do”, “Silver Skin”, “Visions of You”