Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rich Price and RGB, Canal Room, 9.19.07

By Charlotte Deaver

True, this collection of singer-songwriters is performing as a trio. True, each band-member crafts songs that, in the tradition of Crosby, Stills and Nash and Van Morrison, are catchy and singable, but intricate enough to keep the listener's ears perked for the next unexpected turn. And true, while each individual voice is gorgeous and distinctive, as a group their most magical - and musical - moments occur when they sing together; These guys actually listen to and hear each other.

As a group, I think that's what I enjoyed most about their collective performance. They share the participatory experience they're having on stage with the audience by virtue of the way they relate musically on stage, more so than in terms of direct verbal address to the crowd or to each other. I can imagine that three different song-writers who perform together might encounter a bump or two along the way; Three egos, three singers, three styles, but similar genres, genders, instruments, and audiences, now sharing the stage and spotlight (a little arm-wrestling, anyone?). But RGB (Rich Price, Greg Naughton, and Brian Chartrand) balances their act with only a little bit of locker-room jesting, each taking a song, a lead vocal, a solo fairly, respectfully.

What drew me to the show was not, however, this deliberately equal distribution of talent. After hearing a song featured on the credits of the movie I'm Reed Fish, I downloaded several songs by the "R" in RGB, Rich Price, and was immediately hooked. First of all, his voice has a texture, range, and tonality that I love -- just a little airy but also really full, with real respect for melody. And secondly, the songs are simple but lovely. There is a lilting ease to them that aids a visceral response, while the lyrics are also thoughtfully constructed.

I've "spun" his latest CD, All These Roads, non-stop since I picked it up at the show, and the production (by Andy Zulla) and instrumentation on All These Roads are perfect. It definitely deserves much wider attention and listeners than I believe it has now. But I'm not convinced this RGB collaboration is the best way to promote it, if such is the case. I'd love to see him with his own band and tour as a solo act, and if my antenna is a good as I think it is, I bet I will soon.


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