I’m not sure exactly when I discovered Ed Richwood, and we’ve never met in person, but my FB timeline says we became friends sometime around January of 2016.
Chances are I noted his love of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and grunge in general. But also, I’m sure I appreciated the notion that he is chasing the dream and making music. Ed is making a lot of music, and it is very, very good.
If you haven’t yet, head directly over to his bandcamp page, take a listen to his work and download his albums because you’re in for a treat. Share some tracks and do your part to make sure his music reaches a wider audience and that us starved souls searching for quality Rock and Roll have something to keep our hopes up.
Isn’t that what music is about after all?
His most recent release is “Immortal You.” My one sentence review: it’s an album you have to wait for.
What I mean by that is that you gain a bit more from the songs each time you listen to them, and that’s a sign of a great album. For instance, the first time I heard “Fire” I posted it to FB, the second time I really liked it, the third and fourth it had me dancing in my chair. The verses are constrained (and the handclaps underlying the rhythm bed are a great addition), but the chorus explodes with chillworthy abandon. It’s a great track, and in a perfect world would be getting the type of airplay reserved for “Look what you made me do.” But alas.
The next track “I’m coming home” is also a standout, a reflective moment with a chorus as anthemic and lovely as anything our boy Bono ever dreamed up. It’s simply lovely.
His recordings are thick and I could spend a fair bit of time dissecting just the different guitar tones I hear on any given track but that’d take the fun out of it. I asked Ed about his sound, I described it as “vast,” and he didn’t disagree. “I may tend to overdo the whole process” he told me by email. “I try to follow the rule “less is more”, but I can’t help it. I like big sounds, and I use an incredible amount of layers in my recordings.”
Where does all this richness come from? Every musician (indeed most people) has formative musical experiences and hearing those tales can reveal a lot about a musician’s frame of reference for all kinds of things. For Ed he found his inspiration in one of my favorite bands. “It all started a Saturday morning, when I was 9 or 10 years old” he writes. “I was lying in bed listening to the radio, and suddenly a song from The Cult came up. It resonated deeply in my mind and my body, and soon afterwards I started learning guitar on my own when nobody was at home. At 12 I worked a full summer in the construction sector to buy my first electric guitar. Distortion and goat-sounding screams became the everyday atmosphere at home.”
Later in life not surprisingly it was the Seattle sounds, and that is the only notable influence that finds its way through his recordings. “I’m not trying to reproduce any genre or to sound like anything specially. I’m not trying to sound unique and different either. I’m not sure I understand why my songs sound like rock, it doesn’t feels like something I have decided and I’m excited to explore a lot more music genres.”
He has a voice that can descend into a throaty Eddie Vedder growl or soar in a way that’s positively Cornellian (and yes, that’s a thing and yes I made it up).
For now, it’s just him. All the instruments, all the voices are his, and if you do a google or YouTube search you can find short videos that he makes of himself laying down the tracks for his recordings, as well as some videos of some of his earlier releases.
Flying solo he says is what allows him to be as prolific as he has been. He’s released six albums over the course of the past three years, and a new one tends to drop every six months or so. “I want to keep this frenetic pace indefinitely. I can only do that alone. I love playing with other people, but at the moment I don’t have much time left.”
We’ve talked about music online and he posts fairly often about the vast wasteland that is today’s music world. Like anyone who cut their teeth on punk, or on the raw personal revealing sounds of the 90’s grunge rockers, finding good music is a challenge he feels along with the rest of us.
“Honestly I’m thirsty and always looking for new stuff but I still think that the 70s and the 90s were the revolutionary peaks. So bands like Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam and Neil Young for example are keeping the flame alive of what real rock is in my opinion” he writes. “Yes, we have more music than ever, but I have a hard time finding people twisting the concept of music. Most stuff that I find now it reminds me of puzzles from something that I’ve heard before.”
He also finds inspiration in Jazz, a musical art form that is uniquely American, but also in flux. “There is a freshness to jazz that makes it always kind of sacred” he says.
It’s part of a constant search for musical inspiration, a search he shares with an online community that seems to be on the same path. They’re fiercely protective of him, and particularly thoughtful given the nature of the internet. “I don’t think that I would be doing music if no one would be using it” he says. “So, I keep the people who listen to my music very close to my heart and my thoughts in my daily life. I feel very thankful of them.”
Right now, he’s trying to rework his songs into an acoustic format so he can do a solo tour. And he’s also laying down tracks for what will be his seventh release.
He is based in Berlin, and is a unique talent. Follow him on Facebook.
You can also buy his work on an of your favorite streaming services.
Support good music, and good musicians.