Bound to a working man’s journey, New York farm-country born singer/songwriter, Rod Richmond, reveals the day-to-day mindframe of true patriots in the typical heart-on-your-cowboy-boot Nashville sound throughout his second full length album, Livin’ in the USA, released out of Red, White and Blue Records last December. But appropriately so. Between growing up in one pole of the Eastern states to landing in a studio close to the other with a guitar, Richmond has been instilled with that true American ethic in Livin’through farming, volunteering and assisting; working as an architect, firefighter, EMT and truck driver; and serving as an award-winning marksman for the National Guard. It’s been a pretty full run through life so far that’s motivating more than half of this straight country album while the remaining inspiration comes from highly dedicated family and friends. Proving the sincerity of well-rounded Americana intentions not only through the music, lyric, and a prerequisite lifestyle to the album, but also the unselfish nature Richmond holds, he is donating proceeds of every album sold to The Gold Star Mothers to help families that have lost children in our country’s recent wars.
Stereotypically, Livin’ in the USA, is everything already heard coming out of the Nashville country machine: heavy on G, C, D country licks backed by the standard accompanying bass and drums while each individual track is accented with the likes of the fiddle showing up on songs like “Buy American,” mandolin on “The Rest is History,” a nice honky-tonk piano on “God’s Job” and a little lap guitar in every other track. A basic song structure of two verses, refrain, third verse, give or take a coda are set to a strategically placed track masking the monotony of only three tempos: loving ballad to folkish drone, and the heel-toe paces. But the style has stayed around all these years for a reason. It’s a catchy platform to express your ideas.
Within the lyrics is where the gold of Livin’ resides. In a voice resembling Ronnie Dunn, the wholehearted, fatherly compassion towards the subject matter outweighs the stereotypical as Richmond genuinely emotes his drive through songs such as “Guitar Strings”; “After the Shock and Awe,” dedicated to soldiers overseas right now; “Girls That Never Work Out”; and the radio treat around Middle Tennessee, a bluegrass rendition of “Buy American.”
Upcoming Rod Richmond shows in April promoting Livin’ in the USA and fund-raising for The Gold Star Mothers are mainly in Lebanon, Tenn., April 6, 13 and 20 at RW’s Roadhouse beginning at 8:30 p.m., with the exception of April 19, when he’ll make an appearance at the Commodore Lounge on West End Avenue in Nashville. Livin’ in the USA can be found through Amazon, CDBaby and Richmond’s fan sites on Facebook and on the label page, redwhiteandbluerecords.com.