Richard Leschen
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Richard Leschen

Band Americana Acoustic


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Advance Praise for Black Horses CD"

Excellent! Wonderful! Superb! Fantastic! What is it with these mid-western types, is there some peculiar ingredient in the water? Leschen’s use of language, metaphors and imagery is very much in the mould of Dylan, but he is no imitator and is quite original in his stringing of words together creating wonderful images in the mind of the listener. His playing of the different styles is just impeccable and I would place him as one of best guitarists in New Zealand.
- Rudy Sunde, Maritime Crew

Many of Leschen’s songs are timeless … Along the way Leschen reminds us of the poetry of life – throwing in references to Kafka and Greek Mythology as well as numerous striking images of his own. Dreams do, in the end, come true: people do head out of their mediocre lives and into the sunset of their dreams.

- Renee Liang, poet and author of Chinglish

Beautifully produced, second selection of self-composed songs by a wonderful guitar picker, who sings a set of Dylan-like lyrics, heavily influenced by his American cowboy background. Maybe he can't ride a horse, but he certainly takes you there with his songs. Believe me, just as good live as on this studio recording.

- Roger Giles, President of Devonport Folk Music Club & Auckland Folk Festival Inc
- Various Folks

"Heavy Waters CD Review"

True and respectful to his named influences including Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and American folk, Richard Leschen has woven a collection of narratives presented in folk-rock with touches of country and discernible kiwi flavour. Highly sentimental, the epic opening track Thanks For Calling was triggered by Hurricane Katrina putting his friends in peril, as well as contact stimulated by a surprise phone call from his father ("Dad never calls!"). Leschen writes with his heart on his sleeve, and captures the moment with cynically crafted and surreal references to worldly ways, posturing by the undeserving and aloof in front of a backdrop of Americana. The phrase title is referenced in other lyrics to water in various states: tears, river delta, clouds, rain and blood „Ÿ all presented in emotional weighty contexts, tying the work together nicely. Lyrics are printed on the CD booklet and enunciated clearly in the music, although sadly sometimes drowned out by the mix. Recorded to convey timeless tradition, capturing the essence of natural Northland beauty, and to be enjoyed for years to come.

--- Andy Bramwell, Waikato Times
- Waikato Times, Feb 3 2007


His first album release, Heavy Waters, was written during 2004-2005 and highlights a range of writing and musical styles (alt-country, rock, folk, Tex-Mex, and bluegrass) and includes solo work and full-band tracks. The second album, Black Horses was just released and features Leschen stripped to acoustic guitar and voice: more mature than the debut disc, Black Horses is a compendium of lyrical worlds layered onto fine solo guitar work.



It's been hard times and it's been good times for Richard Leschen. Born in the southern United States and an immigrant to New Zealand, he has lived on the struggling side of the economic fence, has faced bizarre social and environmental situations, has seen much of the world's poorest and richest countries, and travelled to remote rainforests and isolated subantarctic islands. No wonder there is depth and imagery in Leschen's lyrics. He blames Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, Bob Dylan, Peter Rowan, and a whole swath of American folk songsters for his descriptive style of writing.

Leschen composes in various styles combining the rich Americana heritage with contemporary themes and world music. His early lyrical influence was John Denver, but as a teenager he turned to writers such as Russel Smith (Amazing Rhythm Aces), Willie Nelson, and David Allan Coe. Meanwhile he would listen to bluegrass radio, that in his neck of the woods often preceded Ken Nordine's Word Jazz. At about the same time, Leschen was introduced to the Grateful Dead (and main lyricist Robert Hunter) by his cousin Joe and the Dead and their approach to music formed the core to his musical style. Tim O'Brien's Red on Blonde album introduced him to Bob Dylan, and this is where his song writing really began.

Leschen plays guitar, mandolin and bouzouki and his style of guitar-picking involves syncopated rhythms supported by bass and melody lines, harkening to bluegrass and Carter Family influences. No one, really, plays guitar like Leschen and his James McMurtry-like voice suites the mode and tenor of his compositions. The lyrical content combined with improvisation is reminescent of the Grateful Dead, although performed with one instrument, the acoustic guitar. Japanese call it country music.

His first album release Heavy Waters features an ensemble of local New Zealand musicians and the second album, Black Horses, is solo acoustic guitar and mouth. Both releases are a mix of alt-country, rock, folk, Tex-Mex, and bluegrass, some tracks featuring extended jams.