Lend Me All of Your Stories

I recently shared the post ‘Introducing Richard Bower’ where I shared the great musical talent of this artist. During the post I confirmed that Richard was working on a new EP and I am pleased to report that ‘Lend me all your Stories’ has now been released. With 2 impressive EP’s already under his belt, could we expect another great collection of songs?

Before we get to my review, I had the opportunity to speak to Richard which we talked about his music. This is what he had to say:

What or who inspired you to become a musician?

The person that first got me in to music was my brother, Tom. I’m the youngest of four brothers and he was the next one up but five years older than me. The way I remember it was he was always in bands and he was a very good guitarist. It always seemed like he had such good taste, but I’ll let you decide. Jimi Hendrix (yep), Bob Dylan (yep), Counting Crows (Mr Jones is a stone cold classic I don’t care what anyone says…Big Yellow Taxi?? Hmm), Ride (…..erm, not my cup of tea but they seem to have a highly anticipated return coming up), The Stones Roses (where’s my fishing hat I fancy a dance) are all bands I attach to our Tom from when he was at school.

I tried to pick the guitar up at 10 or 11 but it didn’t stick. Tom tried to teach me Roadhouse Blues by The Doors but I was trying to learn right handed. It wasn’t until I was 14 or 15 that a couple of friends had started playing and that gave me the kick to try again. I decided to string the guitar upside down and my brother taught me Live Forever by Oasis.

At the time Oasis were huge and I loved the first album. Not so much the second, but Definitely, Maybe sound tracked my paper round. I’m going off on a wee tangent here but it’s funny how that album has aged for me. I’m amazed at how slow the songs sound whenever I happen to listen to it because they sounded so in your face and loud when I was younger. Whatever you now say about Oasis they were a massive catalyst for a lot people my age to pick up a guitar and start to dream of Top of the Pops.

So, looking back I would have to say it’s Tom alongside an easy to play Oasis songbook.

How would you describe your music and which musicians influence your sound?

I don’t know really. I’m at pains to say I’m a folk musician as folk music conjures up such a vivid image of an artist. On top of this I have no style what so ever. I wear jeans and t shirt, unless I’m going out – then it’s a shirt…with jeans, obviously! Luckily I’m 33 and I don’t find myself out all that often anymore!

Pop music also invokes a certain image. However, I think, even after writing songs for 17 years I still struggle to let go of the structures and sensibilities within pop music. I generally look for a chorus, also for repeated hooks throughout a song – not something a “real” folk artist or song, to my mind at least, needs or requires. At the same time I do try hard to write a narrative and I like to focus on the “characters” story.

There are so many artists I love but the ones who have had the biggest influence on me would have to be Bob Dylan, Beirut, Bill Withers, The Tallest Man on Earth and Curtis Mayfield.

Your music has an honest natural feel. Is this important when you begin to write new music?

I think, like with a lot of people who write anything, let alone music, I have a picture in my head as to what I would like to achieve. With the Lend Me All Your Stories EP I wanted to record something that wasn’t heavily overdubbed, that would relate to my live shows but lyrically told a few stories.

The three things I think about more than anything else when I’m writing is style, structure and lyrics. Not necessarily in that order or all at the same time. For example I will write a very simply structure and play a style I’ve used many times before if there is something I need to say in a certain way. As long as one of those elements strikes a chord with me I’ll keep moving with the song. That works the same when I’m listening. The artists I mentioned above keep me coming back to their music through their use of those three elements.

Talking about writing music, which is your favourite song you have written and why?

I would say my favourite song is The Journal for the Journey. It’s one of the oldest song on the EP. It’s a song inspired by Cloud Atlas, the book by David Mitchell. It’s not a re-telling of the book by any stretch but I’ve borrowed on the imagery from The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing.

As I’ve said I’m really interested in lyrics, structure and style and for me this song more than any of the others on the EP hits every mark. Well that or Dead On My Feet. I can’t decide and I like it both for exactly the same reasons.

What are your future goals when it comes to your music?

I just want people to hear my songs and I want to play gigs far and wide! Basically write, record, play!

Did ‘Lend me all your Stories’ continue the trend of another great example of his song writing ability? Yes it did, and he has continued to deliver that honest natural sound that originally converted me into the fan I am today. The EP is no frills and no tricks which allows the listener to experience the music in the way you expect to hear it, almost in an unplugged style. It is always great to hear an artist like this who has this great balance of vocals and guitar.

Each song takes you on a lyrical journey with an amazing soundtrack to accompany you. Richard’s vocals sound great as he takes the role of a story teller with each song in his warm and tender tone. This is used to perfection to deliver his songs including ‘The Journal for the Journey’. My favourite song from the EP is called ‘Storm’s a Comin’ which for me is something special. I love the crackling vinyl on the intro which then bursts into this retro acoustic blues vibe with some great work on the keys. This is my type of song and I would love to hear him create a concept album with a similar sound.

This is yet another great sounding release from Richard Bower and I strongly recommend you head over to his Bandcamp page (click HERE) to grab a copy. While you are there, check out his other music too.

As always, I am already eagerly awaiting his next batch of new music as I am always curious to hear how his sound will evolve. I will follow Richard’s musical journey via his social media pages at Facebook and Twitter to find out when new music will be released or if I can catch one of his live performances. I strongly recommend that you open your ears and listen to the great sound created by Richard Bower. As always, if you enjoy the music then show your support. Hopefully this will include the music from this talented musician.