It’s difficult to pinpoint Richard Tyler Epperson’s style precisely. This album opens with one called “At Your Door,” which has a bit of a reggae groove to it. However, it’s much closer to an old reggae-pop song from the 80s, production-wise, than a more traditional Bob Marley track. Epperson considers himself to be a singer/songwriter. Indeed, he is that. However, by just terming his music singer/songwriter material, he’s not giving himself nearly enough credit. The music on Falling Between the Stars is far too creative to be merely that of a singer/songwriter.
When one imagines a singer/songwriter, images of a lonely soul either sulking at a piano or bending over an acoustic guitar come into the mind’s eye’s view because singer/songwriters are known mostly for their serious lyrics, and to a lesser degree for their music. However, Epperson’s full-length includes a wide variety of sounds, which back up his smart words.
One called “Awake” sounds to have been influenced by electronic music. No, it’s not one of those repetitive, seemingly computer generated works you might hear at an EDM festival. However, you can definitely hear that genre’s impact on the track. Both “Sick” and “Beautiful Mind,” on the other hand, are more along the lines of rock & roll, complete with loud guitar. “Another Day,” to add another color to this aural rainbow, is quiet, sweet and gentle with subtle strings and acoustic guitar.
The song “Drive” is one of the strangest cuts on the collection. It has a bit of a rockabilly feel underpinning it. It’s also one of the happiest songs on the album. This is not to suggest Epperson’s a downer; however, when a truly happy song comes along, to contrast distinctly from what came before, it reveals how Epperson is a deceptively somber performer at times.
Epperson as a vocalist is not any sort of powerful singer. Rather, he is sometimes much closer to the wispy singing popularized (sadly, mainly after his death) of Nick Drake. He is at his singing best on “Stars,” which features a swaying groove that creates a beautifully romantic picture. It accurately paints an aural portrait of a romantic night under the stars. “As the stars shine down,” Epperson sings, as though he’s right there staring up at the night sky.
Although Epperson is more of a soft music artist, he nevertheless comes off like an authentic rocker during “Sick.” This one doesn’t have the reggae beat “At Your Door” has, yet Epperson sometimes has a Sting-like, faux reggae singing voice on it. It brings out a rare angry side in Epperson’s vocal character.
There’s plenty to recommend about this Falling Between the Stars album. For a first full-length, it’s a fantastic start! This is a very professional sounding effort, in addition to its wide sonic variety. This man can fit into the pop world, just as easily as he would not sound at all out of place on alternative rock playlists.
Of course, all this sonic adaptability would mean nothing without good songs, and Epperson writes really good, truly memorable songs. Each and every one is distinct and unique. Let’s hope this music lands in the right hands because Epperson is so naturally talented. It’s rare to hear an independent album that arrives as fully formed as this one is. It’s ready for the bigger buying public.
If you’re tired of all the junk on pop radios (haven’t we already had enough Psy?) this full-length should be a satisfying surprise. Richard Tyler Epperson is a fun little find. If he catches on big time, it won’t be a surprise. Let’s hope Falling Between the Stars doesn’t end up falling between the cracks.
Artist: Richard Tyler Epperson
Album: Falling Between the Stars
Review By: Dan MacIntosh
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)
Richard Epperson’s debut album ‘Falling Between The Stars’ is an earnest, soulful effort full of friendly lyrics, accessible melodies, and a diversity that makes each listen a new experience. Recorded in Richard’s basement and mixed/drums added in Canada and the UK, the album has a raw, sincere charm to it, with plenty of electric edge. The album is an enjoyable roller coaster of electric crunch, thoughtful lyrics and smooth, emotive vocals that swim beneath the energetic rhythm tracks. It’s a great debut and a sign of more to come. “Falling Between The Stars” is the album Michael Buble would make if he was a bit more adventurous. And could write his own songs.
The album has many influences, kicking off with the Sean Fournier/Michael Buble-induced track ‘At Your Door,’ which is one of the best on the album. A bright, wandering synth woo-ooo-ooohs throughout the track as Richard expresses what he’s doing as more important than what he’s saying. I’ll come knocking on your door/and I’ll come running by your side. It is sweet and sincere and full of sentiment. The edginess of the album reveals itself in “Awake”, and although sometimes the lyrics feel a little too underneath the production, the soundscape is fantastic, with Richard building the tension with his distorted vocals and subversive, tight drum line. The synth is also present here, and throughout most of the album, and it’s the perfect production icing on the cake.
“Stars” is an epic ballad, and “Sick’ is the hardest track on the record, but also one of the best, pushing the boundaries and range of the album. Incredible vocals here, and also on the following track, “The Life (Fall on Me)” which is so catchy that many listeners going to put it on repeat, and on their favorite playlists.
Richard is undoubtedly in the beginnings of something very, very good with his variety and range of abilities and melodic selection, and his optimistic album is a wonderful way to kick off the New Year. Other stand-outs are the croon of “My Melody,” the haunting piano/string arrangements on “Beautiful Mind,” and the toe-tapping “Drive.” Overall, the songwriting is so sincere, and the melodies so precise, that this album will be sure to turn some heads and launch Richard’s music career. Worth reviewing? Worth buying? You bet.
Bobby Jo Valentine
Utah based Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Richard Tyler Epperson just released his latest CD Falling Between the Stars in 2013. Reading from his bio: I've just released my 1st CD January 2013. I recorded the whole album in my home studio. I played the guitars, bass, piano/keyboards, electric percussion and vocals. The drums were recorded by Phil Robertson and the songs were mixed by Peter Carter.
The CD kicks gets off the ground nicely with “At Your Door” a smooth flowing intro piece that serves up slamming Reggae groove against walking bass lines, effective harmonies and soulful melody from Epperson. Track 2 “Awake” keeps thing moving in the right direction with sonic vocal delivery from Epperson with steady flowing rhythm, well placed keyboard accents painted against a hooky chorus making for an impressive follow-up ballad. Track 3 “Don’t Tell” is another impressive groove that dishes out rock steady rhythm, impressive and thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 amazing songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved is above the bar. I would classify this music as classic Pop, Americana, with brief touches of psychedelic Rock of the early 70’s and Reggae. Music is reminiscent of classic John Mayer, Bob Marley, Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive horn sections, impressive solo guitar, well placed percussion, well placed Keyboard, and lush harmonies layered everywhere built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing & rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to singer Epperson - as for his vocal abilities well – he’s amazing! His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully & unobtrusively with a timber that is simply infectious. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. All songs are extremely well crafted & consistent across the board. This CD from Epperson delivers 14 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of RTE has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. From heartfelt ‘Stars” to rocking “Sick” to melodic “The Life” and “Another Day” to hypnotic “My Melody” and “Save My Life” to tranquil “Were Alright” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 14 “You and I” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
The goal of creating an album of your personal songs is so much closer nowadays with all the great tools and collaboration potential out there right now. Many artists collaborate with other musicians without ever having to meet face to face. This has created the opportunity for so many great songs to enter the world in the listenable form instead of just remaining a thought in a potential musicians head. Today we were introduced to an artist that finally made the time to make the necessary connections to get his music out into the world. Thank the power of the internet for letting us hear Richard Tyler Epperson.
Most of us can relate to life getting in the way sometimes. Richard could no longer let this be an excuse. He told himself he was going to get an album done and found a few minutes of free time every chance he could get between work and everyday life to work on his goal. He recorded the full record in his basement playing guitar, bass, piano/keyboards, and electric percussion in addition to singing. When he lacked proper drum tracks he went to the internet to find Phil Robertson at e-studio-drummer.com to lay down the drums after he sent him a file of his electric kit noodlings. When he needed a proper mix he searched again and found Peter Carter of tweakmusicmixing.com to take his mish mosh of tracks and turn them into the best sound recordings possible. It did not matter that Richard Tyler Epperson is in Utah and Phil Carter is in the UK. This is true technological power.
The result is Falling Between The Stars, a 13 track album showing off a true talent for songwriting. From the opening song ‘At Your Door’ Richard features an interesting spacey keyboard riff and a beautifully mellow singing voice. He claims to be an acoustic artist at heart but these subtle electronic touches add a layer of warmth to his songs. on ‘Don’t Tell’ he ventures more into the alternative rock genre with a full complement of sound and shows off the depth of his vocal talent. My personal favorite track has to be ‘Stars’. It is a mellow yet spooky track featuring deeply reverbed vocals that create a feel of coziness while at the same time sounding so far away. There are flashes of old Coldplay here.
Bottom Line: Richard Tyler Epperson has created a masterful self portrait with the album Falling Between The Stars. He brings the listener in close and shares his deepest feelings in song.
To take a listen go to:
Newsflash: Utah based Richard Epperson just released their latest CD “Falling Between the Stars.”
by Drew Blackwell edited by Markus Druery
Review: “Falling Between the Stars” is one release that certainly doesn’t disappoint. This is one artist that brings to the table effective songwriting and superb musicianship all tightly wrapped in via a highly passionate musical package. This meshed with a one in a million Alternative Rock-Pop sound and rock solid songwriting make for an effective combination. Epperson even touchs on Acoustic Folk-Pop with hints of Jam Band, and Melodic Indie Pop-Rock. All songs are wonderfully simple but masterful in their overall arrangements. Music reminded me of a cross between Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson. This CD is quite entertaining and uplifting overall with an amazing vocal front of Epperson. Epperson is quite appealing and is extremely marketable (vocals and visuals). If Epperson just so happened to write all these songs he could be bigger than any of us realize at the moment. All songs are well-crafted with op tiered musicianship and excellent production overtone. There are some incredible moments on this 14 Track CD. My favorite is a toss up between “Voices” and “We’re Alright”. Many songs simply personify Love and the Human Experience which gives Epperson an amazing feel emotionally when attempt to connect with a cult fanbase locally or abroad. He has much in the way of potential.
Bottom Line: Richard Epperson have proven themselves with this latest release. He is a marquee talents around Utah. I must admit “Falling Between the Stars” sucked me in like a powerful drug and refused to let go long after the CD was over. This usually indicates he is something special about the artist or band in question. Thus deserving praise, recognition and musical fame at the international level.
In this overly saturated genera/market with a plethora of artists coming out of the woodwork, armed with nothing more than a PC, Microphone, a guitar and a crappy sounding CD – it’s nice to know there are a few bands and artist out there that can still deliver what I call good, quality music. These new artists I speak of manage push their music out to the world and much of it do I dare say is substandard to say the least. So what do bands like Plain White T’s, The Black Keys, Bruno Mars, The Last Goodnight, Ben Harper, Maroon 5 and Train have that Epperson don’t? Not much really if you ask me save the multi million dollar promotional machines and major record label support. Epperson breaks the mold with their impressive sound and delivers music that has a deep seeded Electric-Pop-Rock roots. The players are red hot and the production value is as good as it gets for an Independent Artist. Musical overtones that will remind you of acts like Michael Mullins to more funky version of Rob Thomas or John Mayer. But honestly let me go on record and say there’ isn’t a band out there right now that can toe to toe with Epperson. Right now after hearing their music – he is the ultimate good music pop band out there right now. I don’t say stuff like that often. All in all a well rounded CD that has much to offer the listener. Apparently there are still a few bands and artists out there believe in delivering good music that doesn’t sound like a commercial.
Richard Tyler Epperson stands out from other Indie-Alt Artists in a good way within this very saturated singer/songwriter market. His answer to boring. trivial music is to deliver something unique, a nice easy flowing sound and a honest approach/message to call their own. The strong suit of Epperson is his undeniable musical passion and his ability to write you a powerful piece of music via solid musicianship straight from the heart with messages that speak to all the senses
Overall Rating – 8/10
by Rory Richardson