Charley Rich

Amazon.com

5.0 out of 5 starsMusic you can live with

When trying to move forward to confront a day full of too many obstacles, "By Myself" creates a mental pathway that both encourages and relaxes. The songs combine a sense of improvisation with a smoothness and consistency that's at once fresh and distinctive. The melodies live through a variety of permutations-- but always come out clean in the end. Best of all, the music creates a landscape where you just know things will work out all right in the end. When too much of what's "modern" and "new" sounds like screaming--it's a privilege to sit back and listen quiet, intelligent voice that only seems to seek to "be itself."

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All Aboard 

A deft touch and gentle fingering technique that coaxes a soft, understated but powerfully deliberate clarion tone that at times drips like syncopated honeyed wine; and seems a half beat behind the languid compositional melody to pleasurable effect. At the best of times the guitar is a conveyance device, and with Mr. Rich at the helm, the journey is adventurously exotic and satisfying 

Review You

With By Myself, Charley Rich displays a seemingly boundless ability to reanimate a broad variety of guitar styles.  The only knock on the project, as its title suggests, is that Rich occasionally could have used a few more voices in the room to help flesh out his sound.  Still, those quibbles are few, and his sweeping facility with the project’s showcase instrument remains a wonder to behold.

Rich, a longtime member of the Long Island group Sun Moon and Stars who studied privately with jazz notables Joe Monk and Harry Leahy, opens amidst a pastoral stroll on “Disoholirag.” But even as the track unfolds with an easy-going gait, Rich takes a solo that another thing entirely – riffy like Wes Montgomery to start, and then finishes on a run as crying and ruminative as anything David Gilmour ever did.  When he returns to the song’s main theme, it’s with a touch more sadness.

“Friend,” meanwhile, skips along with a light-hearted joy, allowing Rich an opportunity to tap into the homey vibe of Eric Clapton’s 1970s solo recordings.  His solo, this time, even includes some of the simmering blues inflections that have so long been associated with Slowhand.  His playing on “Fine” has a West Coast jazz feel, urbane and cool, situated over an ageless pop hook.

Tracks like “Once a Long Time Ago” and “Time Again,” in keeping with their poignant titles, finds Rich doubling on guitar, and each line tells an ever-intriguing story of hushed reminiscence.  A tasteful string arrangement on the former only adds to the track’s stately grandeur.  “Daybreak” moves from a similar quietude into a country-inflected showcase for Rich’s fleet fingering.

The quick-stepping, layered “Madeira” may be the album’s high point, so deft and involving are Rich’s statements on the guitar.  Combining rockabilly, jazz and folk styles, he creates a new synthesis of affecting sounds – something fresh out of the familiar.  My only complaint might be that, at 2:11, it’s far too short.  This thrilling journey through American music styles could have gone on forever.

“RiverFalls” returns to a loping, far more straight-forward Americana feel, but Rich ably fills these wide open spaces, too – first with a series of warm and woody asides on the guitar, and then with a synthesized flute-like accompaniment.  Unfortunately, that kind of electronic backing is often devoid of the human interaction that gives music its connective resonance.  In keeping, there are times when it isn’t always as successful across the breadth of By Myself.

“Wondering,” though it echoes the other, more completely realized moments when this album swings brightly, might have been a more complete success if Rich hadn’t chosen to go it alone on these sessions.  After yet another smart turn on the guitar, the song becomes distracted with these oddly placed outbursts from something that sounds like a computer-generated accordion.

When Rich, a former student at the Berklee College of Music, deftly channels the romanticism of Duane Allman on “Feathers and Pearls,” his one-man-band musical format can’t match the rhythmic energy of those ageless turn-of-the-1970s sides.  Of course, Rich continues to display a pleasantly distracting artistry throughout, but the interplay of a flesh-and-blood rhythm section would have made a world of difference here.  Similarly, the keyboard-generated horns on “If the Sun Don’t Shine, the Squirrels Don’t Dance” and the closing “Mythology” throw off the momentum of two otherwise enjoyably lithe groovers.

That said, those final two tracks certainly hold plenty of other musical delights, in particular Rich’s tangy asides on the organ.  He swings like mad, too, on the guitar.  All he needs is a few more friends to join in the studio fun next time.

Artist: Charley Rich

Album: By Myself

Reviewer: Nick DeRiso

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

iTunes

Sublime Guitar Tone 
     

Ok, Basically there are two kinds of guitar instrumentals these days. The kind guitarists listen to and the kind the kind regular folks listen to. The guitarists type is usually riff based as opposed to compositional and a lot of noodling which for most folks is basically unlistenable. The regular folks type of guitar music is usually smooth Jazz or maybe a Spa type ambient, again riff based but more accessible. 
Charlie's music is a little of both, but with a very strong compositional approach using carefully developed melodies and swirling harmonies that create a kind of surreal tonal palette from which he weaves in and out of. 
For us guitar players he has command of a clean guitar sound that is in your face but still very warm. There is a purity in his tone that comes from a technique few electric players possess, that is the ability to set the string in motion without actually striking the string but gently pressing and releasing it. Concert level Classical Guitar players use this technique on Nylon string instruments. 
One of Charlie's most accessible songs is the first tune titled Disholirag, it is kind of a 21st century acoustic country style rag with a few twist and turns, a little jazzy at times. A simple rememberable melody and a nice relaxed groove. If you purchase this one I guarantee you will want the whole album.

iTunes

A unique guitarist/composer 
     

Charley is a poignant melodist, something you rarely hear in modern music. His guitar playing is intimate, and he often favors back phrasing, bent notes, slides, and a variety of interesting timbres and touches. His electronic arrangements are like an aural version of an impressionist painting, with a jazz beat blended in.

Some of the tracks included are:

"Wondering”- a swing tune with polytonal riffs.

“Time Again” – Cool congas, tympani and bass behind Charley’s haunting lead lines.

River Falls” – Feels like an early Paul Simon folk instrumental.

“Mythology” – Crazy horns slip sliding and swinging with Freddie Greene/Basie-like comping. A great contemporary bebop tune. Reminds us of Weather Report and late Miles Davis. And here, Charley on one guitar trades fours with Charley on another.

“Friend”- twin Allman Brothers-like guitars over a Bossa Nova.

“If The Sun Don’t Shine, The Squirrels Don’t Dance.” – A pretty theme moving into some fun funk.

"Disoholirag"- A rag based sound with a melody that would make a great French movie theme.

One can imagine these electronic orchestrations played by a real orchestra, and that might be an interesting idea for Charley to pursue in the future.

This would be a good CD to have in your ears when you’re hiking in the back woods. Kind of like nature with a groove. Meditative, but with lots of movement.

Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Perspective on JazzJanuary 1, 2013 

This review is from: By Myself (MP3 Music)

"By Myself" is an eclectic mix of relaxing guitar based songs. Every song seems to be similar enough that you know they stem from the same theme, but each has a different chapter to tell. Although the cd is only 37 minutes in length, the songs are so I had it on loop and did not notice for three hours. I could see myself relaxing on a beach or in the park while listening to "By Myself." It is hard to believe that one man played every instrument of every part of every song. Each song is so layered that you would think there was an entire bandstand playing. "If the Sun Don't Shine..." is my favorite song by far. The introduction of the trumpets adds a unique flare to the song that differentiates it from the rest of the pack. Though subtle, the bass line is very catchy and makes you wish for more. "By Myself" is a must buy, and a must listen.