Richard X. Heyman — Pop Circles (June 14, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)••■••    Jedna z nejkonzistentnějších otázek, které si fanoušci položili v průběhu pozoruhodně plodné sólové kariéry více než 30 let, je prostě tato — jak to dělá?
••■••     „Toto album je nejnovější šarží melodií, akordových progresů, bubnových rytmů a slov, která nějak padala dohromady a byla nahrána pro příští generace mou krásnou tech. inženýrkou a manželkou Nancy. Začali jsme u East Side Sound na Lower East Side, kde jsem házel a narazil na jejich vintage čtyřdílnou soupravu Rogers. Po deseti hodinách této kakofonie jsme vzali ty bubnové performance domů do našeho ložnicového studia a v počátku jsme se snažili dát tomu všemu smysl.“
••■••     Richard byl jedním z prvních nahrávacích umělců, kteří se objevili na hudební scéně, spolu s Paulem McCartneym, Emittem Rhodesem a Toddem Rundgrenem. Chvála od kritiky začala vydáním prvního alba Living Room!!, který časopis Rolling Stone prohlásil za „neobjevený poklad“. All Music Guide ho později nazval „snad největším americkým hrdinou power popu, skladatelem neobvyklého talentu a inteligence a one~man rockové kapely bez vrstevníka;“ prohlásil Hartford Courant. Byl to „skutečný dědic Wilsonova pláště uprostřed oceánu předstíranců“ a David Wild, který psal pro Rolling Stone, ho ocenil slovy: „rock’n’roll není o nic lepší než tohle.“
Location: NYC, NY ~ Plainfield, NJ
Genre: Classic Rock
Album release: June 14, 2019
Record Label: Turn~Up Records
Duration:     63:32
01. Guess You Had To Be There   3:59
02. If You’re So Inclined   3:15
03. Upside And Down   3:51
04. Everything Must Go   3:40
05. Action Screams Louder Than Words   3:22
06. As Love Would Have It   3:37
07. Marlena   3:24
08. A New Light   3:05
09. In A Sunlit Room   3:21
10. About Time   2:26
11. Hope   2:25
12. Where Circles End   3:37
13. Until Now   2:39
14. Long Way Down   4:09
15. Land   4:14
16. Route 22   4:14
17. Until The Clock Strikes Doom   3:06
18. Guess You Had To Be There (Extended Mix)   5:12
≡»    Pop Circles showcases the wide variety of melodic pop styles in which RXH excels — from melodic pop to soulful sizzling rock.
≡»    Says RXH, “This album is the latest batch of melodies, chord progressions, drum beats and words that somehow fell together and were recorded for posterity by my lovely engineer and wife Nancy. We started at East Side Sound on the Lower East Side, where I bashed and crashed on their vintage four~piece Rogers kit. After ten hours of that cacophony, we took those drum performances home to our bedroom studio and began trying to make sense out of it all. The result is this LP.” (FYI, if you’re not familiar with RXH’s drumming skills, you’re in for a treat. He has lent his persuasive percussion chops to such rock luminaries as Brian Wilson, Jonathan Richman, Link Wray and :Mark Lindsey, among others, including the band he founded, classic garage rockers The Doughboys.) For this project, Nancy Leigh plays solid and inventive bass as well as engineers and provides some harmony vocals; Julia Kent adds beautiful cello tracks to a few tunes; and Chris Jenkins contributed superlative viola performances.
≡»    Pop Circles contains 12 brand~new songs. Also included is the 5~song EP, “Richie’s Three Chord Garage” featuring RXH’s versions of songs he penned for The Doughboys to which he adds the songwriter imprint. Remaining material will be available as exclusive bonus tracks for this Kickstarter campaign. Some of the other bonuses will be original artwork by RXH that was used on the CD jacket, the “circle shirts” he wore in the pictures, badges, wristwatches, clocks, etc., all featuring the pun~y iconic front cover image, and of course autographed copies of the album.
≡»    RXH was one of the first “one man band” recording artists, following in the grand tradition of Paul McCartney, Emitt Rhodes and Todd Rundgren. His abilities have won him a fiercely loyal grass~roots fan base and reams of acclaim over the course of his career. Critical praise began with the release of his first album Living Room!! which Rolling Stone proclaimed “an undiscovered treasure.” All Music Guide called him “perhaps America’s greatest unsung hero of power pop, a songwriter of uncommon talent and intelligence and a one~man rock band without peer,” while praised his “hooks galore and ebullient melodies, and lyrics revealing the emotional power that pop can pack into its brevity.” As Rolling Stone editor David Wild put it in a piece on RXH’s fourth album Basic Glee, “rock’n’roll doesn’t get any better than this.”
Lee Zimmerman, June 12, 2019
≡»    Indeed, that’s something that fans — this one in particular — have always asked, given his seemingly natural gift for plucking immediate and accessible melodies out of the air as if they’ve always been in the ether and ready to be found. That’s evident again with Heyman’s latest opus, Pop Circles, which, in addition to producing and writing all the songs, finds him playing practically all the instruments as well. Gifted with a decided ‘60s sensibility — he claims a well~stocked record shop’s worth of archival influences — his ability to craft hooks, choruses and ringing refrains has been an unshakeable element in his efforts since the beginning.
≡»    The inside cover of Pop Circles offers further affirmation of his dedication and devotion. It finds Heyman sitting with his guitar, surrounded by dozens of vintage 45s.
≡»    “I don’t want to give you one of those standard songwriter~y response,” Heyman responds when asked about his individual inspiration. “Like, ‘Oh, these songs are just floating in the air and I was lucky enough to be the receptor.’ There are two basic ways these melodies occur. One is putting a chord progression together and see what works on top of it. The second is having a melody first. How and why that melody pops into your head is a mystery, but once it’s in there, you need to then find the right and best chords to accompany it. It’s usually a bit of trial and error, but the melody will dictate what feels right chord~wise.”
≡»    Like most artists of his ilk, Heyman also claims to draw from personal experience, and on the new album in particular, he sings with an urgency that’s more pronounced than ever before. “Guess You Had to Be There” is particularly poignant. It captures the trajectory of those who came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s and the sequence of life~changing events that inspired their ever~evolving journey.
≡»    In this Woodstock 50th anniversary, the song resonates especially well.
Likewise, songs such as the Byrdsy “If You’re So Inclined, the cooing “As Love Would Have It,” the extremely infectious “Action Screams Louder Than Words” and the effusive and assertive rocker “Hope” offer examples of Heyman’s ability to strike immediate engagement.
≡»    “In a way, time has helped me with these songs,” Heyman nods. “I have had many decades of ups and downs and love lost and found. Being around for awhile gives you a perspective on what’s going on that you don’t have in your youth. At least that’s how it is for me. As far as the actual music goes, I still have a strong emotional reaction to hearing music. Certain chords and melodies and harmonies can make me cry or dance with joy.”
≡»    Heyman is always committed to connect, not only though his melodies but with a certain mindset as well. Pop Circles was written and recorded with the Baby Boomers in mind.
≡»    “I have no desire to try and figure out what someone in their teens or twenties would like,” he proclaims. “I’d love people of all ages to listen but the inspiration and style are from and for my generation.”
≡»    Happily too, Heyman has given listeners a lot to choose from. The 17 songs encompass both an album and a bonus EP dubbed “Richie’s Three Chord Garage,” songs originally written for The Doughboys, a band he helped found as a teenager and then reformed as an adult following a belated reunion.
≡»    “We just decided to throw it all on the same disc, as a built~in free bonus, and for good measure we included the extended mix used in the video of “Guess You Had To Be There,” Heyman explains.
≡»    The Doughboys offers him opportunity to make music with others, but as a confirmed homebody, he’s quite proficient when it comes to crafting songs on his own and with the assistance of his wife, bass player and engineer Nancy Heyman. They call their home studio the Kit Factory, a play on their devotion to their family of cats (and for that matter, animals of all variety).
≡» “I start with the drums,” Heyman says of his solo technique. “I play each song as if I’m recording with a band. I just have to imagine the instrumental backing as I’m singing along. With drums being my first instrument it’s helpful because I feel confident that I’m laying down pretty much what I’d do with a full band. I then put down a basic rhythm instrument, usually piano, and then I start and finish all the vocals — lead, harmony and backgrounds. Once I hear the vocal/piano/drum combination, I try guitars. If the song was written on guitar, I record whatever it was that I had, like maybe a riff that triggered the song in the first place. Again, it’s all about listening. Finding what works. Being willing to change or abandon what’s not sounding right. I have an initial arrangement, but it’s not set in stone.”
≡» Ironically, Pop Circles originated as songs that Heyman mainly had written for The Doughboys, but that changed he said once he got deeper into the creative process. “I started writing new songs up to the point where there was a whole different record than the one I initially started,” Heyman says. “When I write for the band, I’m consciously trying to be more garage~y, more Stones/Animals than say Beatles/Byrds. It’s good to have that challenge, because I don’t think I would write in that style for my solo stuff.”
≡» As for the future, Heyman mentions that someday he would love to put together a big jazz band and play drums. “I started out playing jazz in the style of Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich,” he notes. “Not as well, of course, but I still love it.” He also mentions that The Doughboys will be releasing an album of their own called Running For Covers, which will consist entirely of other artists’ songs.
≡» “Some unexpected and interesting choices along with a few garage classics,” he promises.  ≡» 
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