In his web site biography, Rich Flanders claims, “I’m not a cowboy, and I don’t own that big spread on the far side of the divide.” But after listening to Yondering: Songs of the American West, some might be convinced otherwise, as Flanders clearly has a deep, intimate relationship with the old west.
His renditions of these Western classics take listeners on a nostalgic journey that conjures images of wide open frontiers and vast horizons. And while the music sticks closely to its heritage, Flanders does a great job toying with creative autonomy. His droning, layered harmonies are meticulously crafted, and are the album’s preeminent attribute. Moreover, Flanders showcases his seasoned vocal chops with wonderful intonation and vibrato, which is a breath of fresh air in a time of unbridled pitch correction.The album is simple, under-produced - yet it has depth and character. In a nutshell: Flanders got the job done, and done right.
From www.nashville95.com , Country CD Reviews, May 13, 2008
"Another favorite of mine is Rick (sic) Flanders. This is a gentleman who has won numerous awards, the most prestigious of which is the Will Rogers Cowboy Award. His album, "Yondering, Songs of the American West" (fantastic!) won the 2008 Album of the Year Award from the Academy of Western Artists. He's the real deal. He is an "earth father" who puts his beautiful heart on his sleeve every time I hear him sing."
Sue Matsuki, from Sue's Views, Reviews & News, CABARET HOTLINE, Online, June 20, 2011,
Thompson Ridge's Rich Flanders Wins
Flanders' CD Nominated for Prestigious Award
Ulster County Press: Arts & Living
|Singing cowboy Rich Flanders is hoping to return from a trip to Garland, Texas next month with the Academy of Western Artists (AWA) award for Best Western Album of the Year.
Flanders is a former Broadway performer whose first western album, "Yondering - Songs of the American West," has been nominated for the prestigious award that goes to the best of the best in Western Music.
I was pretty excited when I heard about the nomination," Flanders said from his Pine Bush home last week.
But what made it all even more special was that one of the songs on the album, "Blue Prairie" was nominated for Best Song.
The native Californian, who performed in the Broadway hit "Shenandoah," released his CD of cowboy music, including such old timey favorites as "Cool Water,""Ghost Riders in the Sky," "Ridin' Down the Canyon," "Blue Shadows on the Trail," and "Tumbling Tumbleweeds."
When he released the CD, Flanders said, "They are all songs about being close to nature and, I hope, will allow people to reconnect with the wilderness."
He chose the songs because they each have "universal appeal," and now that he has been nominated for the Best Western Album of the Year award, he said, "I knew we
|had something here that was pretty special.
One of Flanders' favorite parts of the two nominations is that the winners will be announced at the annual Will Rogers Cowboy Awards.
"I'm excited about all of this because Will Roger was such a great folk hero," Flanders added.
"When the award nominations were announced, I had a deep sense of satisfaction that we had done something special," Flanders said. "This is an important milestone in my career."
The awards will be presented on Sept. 23 at the Granville Theater in Garland.
Joining Flanders on his album were Ken DeAngelis on guitar, accordion and additional vocals; Barry Wiesenfeld on string bass; Rachel Handman on fiddle; and Amy Ober on harp. Julie Ziavras provided harmonies on "River of No Return" and "Man Walks Among Us."
In addition to his work on Broadway and his award-nominated album, Flanders is a frequent cast member of the monthly "Broadway Concerts Direct" series in Wurtsboro and in Manhattan, and he is the voice of "Cowboy Bob" and"Woody Guppie" for RubberChicken Cards, the Internet e-cardtoon company.
Ulster County Press: Arts & Living
Section B, August 27, 2008
A new CD entitled Yondering.
Rich Flanders has been in Broadway musicals (notably Shenandoah) and sings often for John Hiller and Sarah Rice's Broadway Concerts Direct performances in Wurtsboro and Loch Sheldrake.
Flanders' lyrical pipes are generally used for singing the great standard songs of the 30s, 40s and 50s: Tin Pan Alley and Broadway. This time around, for his Yondering CD, he offers up "Cowboy Poetry."
" My Yondering CD is Songs of the American West" explains Flanders. "I do lead and harmony vocals throughout (16 songs, including one original) with Ken joining me on five of them, and Julie joining us on two. In addition to his engineering talents, Ken also does bangup accordion and guitar, tracks; Barry Wiesenfeld is on bass fiddle, and Rachel Handman is a wonderful fiddler/violinist on half a dozen of the numbers." (Handman recently wowed the audience at Schempfs Bach Festival at which she played unaccompanied Bach for violin solo).
Flanders continued, 'the project was in my mind for years and a labor of love. We've been creating it since February, and it all came together as beautifully as I could have hoped. Many of these songs haven't been heard in many years, but are real gems and should find an audience. It also strikes me how timely some of them now are, with the planet in crisis."
"Ken co-created the arrangements. He understood what I was trying to translate. And he had wonderful original ideas of his own. It took us from February to July, about six months, two nights a week, picking the timing, tempos, laying down (record and re-record) vocal tracks, adding the instruments, layering steps that end with the final product, listening to each other -- accepting and rejecting-- the sounds were in my head and we worked them out instrumentally, like translating. Ken and I collaborated equally."
What is "Cowboy Poetry"?
"Just good lyrics," says Flanders. "For instance, there's Bob Nolan and his songs Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds. The term started in the 70s or 80s, probably because Americans love to categorize everything. So using the phrase seems to make Western Music more acceptable. We needed permission to record some of the songs. Bob Nolan's grandson has a website and keeps the songs going. He gave us a page on the site. And word of mouth has resulted in the CD already having played on Radio Free Nashville and Western Music Time, an intemet radio show.
|For our readers of a "certain age," hip-hop is just something that happens to their hip after the replacement surgery.
But ask that same person about The Sons of the Pioneers, they think Roy Rogers or Frankie Laine, and all of the great cowboy singers that have long since passed.
But Rich Flanders, a Pine Bush resident who once appeared in the Broadway hit "Shenadoah," wants to bring back the classic cowboy songs such as "Cool Water" and "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" on his new CD - "Yondering - Songs of the American West."
"These songs have been part of my life for a long time," said Flanders, who grew up in Northern California before going to Broadway and then settling in the northern Orange County town of Pine Bush. "'They are songs about being close to nature and, I hope, will abow people to reconnect to the wilderness."
All of the songs were chosen by Flanders with an eye towards classics that "have universal appeal ."
|And while he has received a good response from older listeners, he has also received acclaim from a much younger audience. Flanders said a seventh grade teacher in San Diego played the album for her students and they have all written him telling him how much they enjoyed the music.
Flanders attributes the youngsters' interest in the songs, to the growing love for the environment that students are learning at home and at school. "These songs deal with nature themes and carry a powerful message and are timely," Flanders said "This CD was really a labor of love."
To learn more about Flanders and his music, go to his Web site www.richflanders.com.
A Singing Cowboy Returns. Orange County Resident Releases CD of Classic Tunes. Robert Ford. The Ulster County Press. Wednesday, October 17, 20
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WVKR 91.3 FM, Vassar College
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9 -11 am Eastern, Wednesdays
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