Rick Lang Music
A concept album in the making for over 25 years, Rick’s collection of songs with story lines connected to the ocean reflects his passion for family legacy derived from the fishing villages of Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. Planning began in 2011 with engineer/producer Bob Dick and a cast of 17 New England musicians and vocalists to help capture the overall ocean feel and authentic sounds. One might call this soft or mellow bluegrass with sounds reminiscent of Larry Rice, Blue Highway, Emmylou Harris, and Larry Cordle. Rick provides some background vocals on one number, as well as guitar and claves on two others.
“Lighthouse” and “Blood Red Sky” come closest to banjo/resonator guitar-style numbers. Light fiddle and mandolin can be heard on “Widows Walk.” All accompaniment is meant to support the story-song concept and accomplishes this objective very well. In “Blood Red Sky,” Rick ponders his three-decade search to understand the tragedy of his younger brother’s suicide in 1984. He notes achieving some kind of closure with the writing of this song. The title-track, “The Undertow,” addresses the powerful force hidden beneath the ocean’s surface. Rick presents an analogy between turmoil in a relationship and the turmoil of the undertow.
A longtime member of IBMA’s Songwriter Committee, Rick’s talent as a writer is certainly showcased on this recording. If you want to enjoy music that will take your thoughts to sea, this one is for you. You’ll get to mull over 12 of Rick’s two-dozen-plus maritime-themed songs. Perhaps another will emerge someday. (RLM Records, P.O. Box 424, Kingston, NH 03848, www.ricklangmusic.com.)BW