Updated: Jul 1
A brand-new album release from Richard and The Lionhearts has a wonderful way of displaying an outstanding amount of character and personality that is given with genuine honesty and songs that feel touchingly rustic in their own right.
The Before I Go album displays chapters in the life of the songwriter and within those chapters certain emotions are captured and put out there as he wears his heart on his sleeves.
For me, this is part of what makes the record so beautifully engulfing and graceful.
Being able to step out of wherever you are and into someone else's history and stories is something that you don't get a lot of in many kinds of music anymore so upon hearing this album I got pulled right in and it wasn't just the music, it was those stories in the way they were told.
It was like reading a book about somebody and the relationships and experiences and things that are missed and things that are and were loved.
All of this is very beautiful because what it captures is realness and that's something I think a lot of songwriters strive for but is very hard to actually pinpoint.
This album has an amazingly catchy but classic tonality to it that helps the stories come through properly and are done with a certain level of heart that is just naturally embedded in the veins of this record.
These are the kinds of things that make music worth listening to.
You get a lot of pieces of someone throughout the course of the release and as it unravels you are able to picture things in your head which in turn can actually cause certain memories of your own to suddenly pop in.
The songs are very relatable a lot of the time and so those two lines get crossed for the listener which is quite wonderful and engaging.
This album has that classic southern rock tendency to it and it just really makes you want to see these guys perform everything live right in front of you.
There are elements of the record that are touching and there are elements of the record that feel like this was something that needed to happen in order for the songwriter to get things off of his chest.
Throughout the release you have some amazing guitar work and vocals that are delivered with a certain kind of warmth that feel like you're watching a friend perform them.
Having the pleasure of hearing certain material before this was released gave me a certain hope for this album and when the album was finally heard it far surpassed what I had hoped for.
With such an in-depth and personal record, we had to sit down and talk to the band to find out exactly where everything came from and what may have inspired the material you hear on it.
Here's what happened when we did just that.
Buzz Slayers: First of all, welcome back and thank you so much for taking some time for this!
Certainly, my pleasure, thank you for reaching out again.
Buzz Slayers: I'd love to start by talking about the new album Before I Go. Having the pleasure of hearing "Boulevard" was amazing but this album has such a wonderful spectrum songwriting wise! Did this take you long to put together?
The short answer (this is where you know you are getting a long answer) is “no” really. These songs came together as part of a continuation of the Boulevard sessions. Those sessions were a result of creating songs for a potential Hollywood rom-com written by an old friend and her son. The script triggered many emotions about my hometown and my first love. With that inspiration, I wrote some amazing music for the film (10 songs including Boulevard and some background music too). Even with that burst, I was still in high gear for writing personal songs that touch deep down and speak out loud to everyone, not just me and people of my generation. With that as the backdrop, these songs took shape over a week or so (that of course is just writing the lyrics and first rough demo).
Buzz Slayers: The record feels almost like chapters of your life rolled into one album like a good book in a way. Was it like that for you when you wrote it?
Absolutely yes. This seems to be a general motif in my writing style. If it doesn’t mean something to me then it's not going to inspire a song. . In the opening track, “All’s Fair,” for example, I took the old expression all’s fair in love and war, and answered it by saying, “I don’t want to fight any more” (with some oblique references to over partaking in tequila). Honestly, I prefer not to analyze or try to explain my songs, once an idea takes hold, the lyrics come very quickly and what shows up is a mosaic of deep emotion, unlocked memories, archetypical imagery, and random references to great literature, music, film and more. I feel like thinking about it too much will actually stunt and not expand the creative process. So, I put them out there, and hope my audience will enjoy interpreting what it means to them.
Buzz Slayers: Is writing songs like these cathartic for you? It feels like some of them would be.
OMG yes! These songs, for the most part, are ripping out a piece of my life and putting it to a tune. Once most are finished, I get teary eyed, or goose-bumped from them. They are tremendously cathartic and very nostalgic, and bring back good and bad memories, but with my core team behind me (led by Dan Cohen and Mikey Schnall) I put a spin on these songs that are not too sad, or morbid, or obtuse. One of the simplest ways to stay happy is letting go of the things that make you sad.
Buzz Slayers: What would you say is the best part of doing what you do?
It is that point in time where I realize that what I am working on is going to fly, then it takes on a life of its own. This is the point where other band members jump in and put their touches on it. Mikey will help with adding a thought, reference or word to make a line work better, and crucially tells me with brutal honesty when a concept is or is not going to work. Danny jumps in, and through his unique lens excavates each song's potential. He starts his painting with drums, keyboards and production techniques and suggestions to keep the song moving forward.
Buzz Slayers: Are you a guitar player first? Was this your first instrument?
I started with the saxophone when I was in Middle School, switched to bass in High School and then guitar. It is my primary instrument but on R & the LH songs you will hear me on bass and various keyboards, and percussion.
Buzz Slayers: Are you guys doing a tour for this release?
We are still scattered all over the globe as of right now, but plans are being discussed for an English Pub tour in 2024, keep your fingers crossed.
Buzz Slayers: Are you planning any music video releases for singles from the record?
As a matter of fact, yes, we are talking to some producers about a video for the title track of the album to begin with, and we’ll see where we go from there.
Buzz Slayers: What is the next step for you musically?
I never stop. I am still constantly thinking of what can be added to the soundtrack of the film. Danny is working on some older songs that never saw the light of day but are R & the LH classics and need to be mixed, produced, and released. At this point in time (not counting what I may write today), I have about 80 songs that need to be polished and released.
Buzz Slayers: How long has music really been affecting your life? Do you come from a musical family?
I grew up with music in my house (mostly opera and Broadway shows), but I started early with the Beatles and Stones. But I always, always wanted to make music. I used to sit in my little Greenwich Village apartment with Mikey and write songs about going to Chinatown for dinner or going to get high in Washington Square Park (these songs may see the light of day sometime in the future).
Buzz Slayers: What can fans of the music expect from this record?
I think like you said, it’s a slice of life, musically. The raw energy of “All’s Fair” to the lovely flutes at the beginning of ”Before I Go.” The lyrics of “Hero” painting the story of how we all play parts in our lives and that sometimes we end up “Underneath It All.” They can expect a multitude of styles played by some of my favorite musicians including Elijah Eskin, who played that scorching solo at the end of “Boulevard.”