Like many imaginative types in his generation, Richard grew up identifying with aliens from sci fi movies and TV programs. This influence, rather than turning him into a Ziggy Stardust with shiny pants, sent him on a life-long search for new forms of intelligent musical life, both out there in the world at large (Earth, that is) and way out there in the creative songwriting ether. OK, he thought, let's not get too crazy here and start making new music that sounds like a cathode ray tube on the fritz -- let's make real music that radio pop fans can enjoy, but just do it a bit differently. For one thing, why not mostly leave repeated choruses to other people and use the three minutes of lyric writing time to do something a bit more interesting? And so on. Richard appeared regularly in the Toronto singer-songwriter scene from 1995-2000 and then moved to Amsterdam, where he teamed up with lead guitarist and producer Carlos Vamos to produce his first CD, Light Carries On. Despite, or maybe because of, its "rules are made to be broken" attitude, the CD has been playlisted by forward-looking radio stations in Canada, the US, the Netherlands and Australia (see comments at www.cdbaby.com/cd/summerbell). Its sleeper track '(Thank you for Being) My Dog' won 1st place and an Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting Award in the special music category in the 2005 Great American Song Contest (see http://www.greatamericansong.com/hall-of-fame.html). Another track, Civilian Romance, was on heavy rotation by the internet's "Bear Radio" station (http://www.bearradio.net/radio1.htm) throughout Nov 2005. New projects are in the works, including a new album as well as a single based on two 16th century Christmas songs that both anticipated the musical forms of 21st century rock (just released Oct 2006). A track ('Shucks') will also be forthcoming on the Bear Tracks 4 compilation produced by Bear Radio, and another track ('28th Floor Apartment') will be included on the 'G-CD' compilation sponsored by the affiliated Woobie Bear Music. 'Get it right away,' the planned lead track from Summerbell's forthcoming new album Reality Re-bells, just won an honourable mention in the 2005 Unisong contest, upbeat pop category.
Comments from the Great American Song Contest judges: "what can I say? This is just fabulous?" "A real sense of genius here ... You're undoubtedly one of the most brilliant songwriters we've seen this year..."
Musical influences (current): Rufus Wainwright, U2, Kate Bush, Blue Rodeo, Huun Huur Tu; (historical) Tom Robinson, the Grapes of Wrath (famous only in Canada), Black, the Mighty Lemon Drops, the Dagar Brothers (best singers ever), the whole Guess Who diaspora (Domenic Troiano, Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings, Don MacDougall, etc.), Roger Waters, John Lennon, George Harrison and many others.
Richard's distinctive musical perspective has been warped by living in two countries and visiting 39 others, as well as by diverse artistic and scientific interests.
Richard Summerbell: acoustic guitar, vocals and
occasional lead sigit (high harmonic overtones)
-- sometimes accompanied by:
Carlos Vamos: electric guitars, bass guitar, effects
LP CD: Light Carries On (2004/2005).
Distributed CDBaby, the Orchard, most major
download and streaming sites incl i-tunes, emusic.
CD Single: Stardate 25.12: Nativities. Two pre-18th century Christmas songs updated for the 21st century: The Lake Huron Carol (originally the Huron Carol, Jesous Ahatonhia) and You Came a Star from Heaven (Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle).
Variable. Just a few strongly modified covers occasionally done.