Auckland singer/songwriter Tony Richards presents a selection of songs that have been honed by live performance, tweaked for maximum likeability. As the liner notes say, if the audience would turn away from the ubiquitous pub TV screen while he played, then Richards knew the songs were good.
Passing the pub TV test with consummate ease, this album features some solo vocal-plus-guitar performances and also a few tracks with guest artists including guitar luminary Nigel Gavin – yes, that’s the company we’re in here. Some tasteful violin from Richard Adams here and there also makes a nice touch. If you had to level any criticism it would be that the vocals are lacking guts at times, but then this is not a shouty kind of record.
Overall the vibe is a bit like a poppier Kiwi version of John Martyn/Richard Thompson, which makes for a great laid-back listen. It’s apparent from his bio that Richards can turn his hand to many musical forms and is currently trying something new, in the form of being a bluesy solo singer/songwriter. Long may he wander.