Richard D Shank
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Richard D Shank

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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"A Single Step review"

“A Single Step” is the stunning debut solo CD from Richard D. Shank. His passionate vocals and musical style are certain to evoke comparisons to Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, while at the same time just as certain to create future comparisons from others to him.

“Journey” kicks off the CD in just the right way with the prominent piano, a rocking guitar solo and the lyrics detailing the best place for a first step: “You’ve got to start from where you are / There’s nowhere else to begin.” Guitar solos are also notable in “Learning to Live,” “If I Could” and “Believe.” The stark piano and vocal opening to “You” builds in layers towards a blues/jazz feel with the introduction of the trumpet halfway through the song.

“Is This Real,” “Where Do We Go” and “Who Are You” feature some beautiful piano work that will implore comparisons to Billy Joel. “Where Do We Go” also has backing vocals from Gabrielle Phillips which add another dimension to the song. The soft piano laden “Help Me Now” abruptly shifts in tempo and tone midway through the song giving it a whole new character. There is even a nice cover of a Dwight Yoakam song, “Thousand Miles From Nowhere” to round the CD even futher.

From first song to last, this CD is packed full of powerful, passionate songs, representing experience from the highest highs to the lowest lows, all pointing to a message of forgiveness, hope, and perseverance.

Described as piano rock, it is also so much more, featuring layers of prominent guitars, thundering bass and pounding drums into a melodic, driving rock ‘n’ roll experience. (Joat Music) - Southeast Performer


"A "step" in the right direction...,"

Richard Shank's debut album "A Single Step" is soulful easy listening. It is difficult to pick a favorite song from this album. Several stand out for me:

"Journey" <- Nice tempo, beat, and message. Very reminiscent of Billy Joel.

"Learning to Live" Another contemporary classic

"You"

"Lessons Learned"

If I could choose one that - well - I find myself singing in the car - it would definitely be "If I Could." Great song. Well written by Shank himself. I guess that's another reason this album has a lot of really good songs and Mr. Shank captures the emotion needed to pull them off - because he wrote most of the music... and lived it.

His piano talents are evident throughout the album.

There is a Dwight Yoakam cover of "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere" I liked a lot, too.

I look forward to more from this artist. If you like the cd, request your radio station to play his music, too. I have. - Amazon.com review


"DJ AltRockerDave"

..somewhat reminiscent of REM, and to a certain point, some of the early progressive stylings of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. I LIKE IT!!

- www.flashbackalternatives.com


"Richard D Shank: A Single Step - Music Review"

Shank's style, although personally described on the website as piano rock, is actually really close to that of Bruce Springsteen. He has a talent in writing lyrics, and it's not about love (finally!) but about life, they are thought provoking lyrics.
- By Tingyu Shen, HOT INDIE NEWS .com


"Been there and back"

SENECA — The piano isn’t just an instrument to Richard D. Shank, it’s also a psychologist. On Shank’s new solo disc, “A Single Step,” he turns depression and remorse into propulsive piano rock.

“The record is a snapshot of where I’ve been over the last five years,” Shank said.

While “A Single Step” recalls some famous piano men, the record packs more wallop than your average Elton John tune. Think Journey fronted by Billy Joel. The songs on “A Single Step” are built around keyboards, but guitars often dominate the mix.

Shank drew inspiration for the aesthetic from an unlikely source: Guns N’ Roses’ two “Use Your Illusion” albums. However, “A Single Step” sounds nothing like Axl and Slash.

“Everybody remembers ‘November Rain,’ but there were several tracks on those albums where piano and guitars worked well together,” Shank said. “I’ve always loved watching guitarists.”

For the shredding on “A Single Step,” Shank enlisted a trio of string-benders. Rick Lunsford brought big, ’80s rock riffs to the project. Handling a majority of the solos, Jeff Lawing employed an icy feel reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. Meanwhile, Rick Wellman drew upon bluesmen like B.B. King.

The record begins with “Journey,” a Springsteen-esque rocker. After Shank counts off the number in **Boss-like fashion, the band brings it, E Street style. Amid the clamor, Shank belts out lyrics about hard roads and mistakes.

“Songwriting is definitely a release for me,” said Shank, who is based in Asheville, N.C. “It helps me put something into perspective and sometimes even understand what I’m feeling.”

Another key track — “If I Could ” — begins with meditative piano, a la Van Halen’s “Right Now.”

“That song is really an apology for the damage I’ve done,” Shank said.

A “series of bad decisions” cost Shank his first marriage and estranged him from his kids. This isn’t a “Behind The Music” cliché. According to Shank, his dark past doesn’t involve battles with booze or dope.

“The damage I did was more emotional. I’ve had to start my life over more than once,” Shank said. “But I’ve got some friends who told me at some point you’ve got to let go of what you’ve done and start living life.”

This isn’t to say “A Single Step” is a mope-fest. Shank, 37, is now happily remarried and playing shows across North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. A spirit of renewal shines in songs like “Journey” and “Believe.”

Indeed, Shank’s piano-guitar hybrid has been refined to a professional polish. But some of the best moments on “A Simple Step” occur when the pianist deviates from his reverb-drenched formula. “You” benefits from a ’60s pop arrangement and a floating trumpet break. The warm purr of Hammond organ spruces up “Where Do We Go” and “Lessons Learned.” For “Who Are You” Shank downsizes to coffee shop introspection.

If the album has a misstep, it’s a cover of Dwight Yoakam’s “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere.” Shank’s remake fails to capture the lonesome prairie ethos of the original.

“A Single Step” was recorded in small bursts over a year’s time at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville.

”It’s phenomenal,” Shank said of Echo Mountain. “They took an old church and converted it into a studio. Their equipment’s a good balance between new technology and old.”

So while the band tracked to Pro Tools, they also had vintage amps and compressors at their disposal. Shank even broke out the studio’s funky Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos.

Although “A Single Step” draws heavily from the music of Shank’s youth, there are also bits of modernism: The classical flourishes on “Standing” came from a fondness for Evanesence. Coldplay inspired the piano licks on “Who Are You.”

“In the ’90s, grunge kind of killed piano for a while,” Shank said. “Coldplay does a great job of taking the piano and making it the centerpiece and having the music move with it.”

Shank was raised in a home where only Christian music was allowed. However Shank got his fix of rebel yell on the school bus, where he basked in hair metal bombast.

“The first secular album that we had in the house was Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad.’ My brother snuck it in.” Shank said. “When it was discovered it was thrown away.”

Unlike many club-level acts, Shank configures his shows with flair. The evening is broken down into three sets. The first cycle features Shank playing “A Single Step” material with his full band. Next, Shank makes a stand with just his piano and voice. A looser, improvisation-oriented run closes the show.

The stripped-down second set allows Shank to introduce new tunes, like “Can’t Go Back,” which echoes Billy Joel’s “She’s Got Ways.”

“There’s greater intimacy in breaking a show down like that,” Shank said. “There are some songs that just work better like that.” - UpstateToday.com


Discography

A Single Step
- Released 2007 on the Joat Music label
- "Journey" in rotation on http://www.thepenguinrocks.com/
- "Standing" has received airplay in the Asheville, NC market
- "If I Could" has been a fan favorite on MySpace

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Bio

Richard D Shank is not just another singer/songwriter. Armed with a mic and keys, Richard plays what has been described as neo classic rock and piano rock, reminiscing sounds of Billy Joel, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and others with a classic rock sound. His music is often called intense and it is apparent to many that he wears his heart on his sleeve.

Richard started playing the piano in his early teenage years. He has played a wide range of styles from gospel to rock and country to blues. He has taken his years of experience to create a sound that is his own. His debut solo album “A Single Step” was recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC, with Richard writing the majority of the songs.