Soul Warrior for the people

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First thing you find from a interview with Richard Fahl is the interconnected stories he brings.  A conversation with him, and indeed his songs that pour forward the many people he has connected with in his life speak to an artist who looks outside of the self.  This is the heart of one of the tracks “Soul Warrior” which you can hear on his popular Soundcloud page which I’ve linked below.

So it seemed perfectly fitting that when I met Richard for the interview about his debut cd Songs from the Other Side, released on June 25th 2016, friends were by his side, including a lady with a beaming smile named Rhonda, who was only too excited for me to interview her as well.  Not sure what to ask, I launched into the obvious of what she thought of Richard’s new product.

“I’ve heard Richard playing for years, so many years ago, but this is awesome!  The background music was amazing too!”

Getting Richard aside was actually pretty easy because as a writer I needed to get a lift, so climbing into his reliable old car with the guitar and copies of the cds in the back, I turned on the recorder and he signalled to pull out of the coffee shop as I started my little Sony recorder.

“I’ve been just going constantly, starting from the 9 and a half months that we spent in recording” he began, with the work clearly not stopping there, as Richard has been playing not only his cd release party but a variety of shows at locations like the Whistle Stop in Courtney.

The creation of his debut recording began in Victoria, British Columbia at Electric City Studios by Matt Gibbs who has credits ranging from “Tal Bachman to Onyx and everything in between”.  During that early part of the recording Richard managed to connect with drummer Ron Thaler, who has worked with such names as Alicia Keys, Moby and Sarah McLachlan.  The rest of the instrumentation, besides Richard’s 12 string guitar, was his long time friend Rick Salt, filling the rest of the soundscape with guitar, bass, piano and programming.

Jamming one night after the release in Courtney he had the chance to perform and talk with composer, conductor, music teacher and multi-instrumentalist Blaine Dunaway who got to talking about Richard’s style of music, something which Richard was curious about.

Describing it as “messenger folk” he explained how “every song has a messenger for people…it’s about love, it’s about peace, it’s how to live together.”

On my own person favorite “Can you Really Relate” he explained how Rick said that he should definitely record it.  The song speaks directly to the “messenger folk” style, which brings people together as one people, where there are not the shameless power mongers mentioned in the songs lyrics.  The additional strings were added by Douglas Rowed, a friend of Rick Salt’s who agreed by email to come up with something during a late recording session.  At 3am the email came back with a sound that got the two friends even more excited as they continued to work on the track until they simply couldn’t stay awake longer.

With “Love will Always Be Here” Richard drew from an image from Syria in which a father is holding his dead son, resonating with him to write about it.

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Inner Sleeve with images of James Bay in Victoria, BC

“Being a dad, I thought about my son.  I just closed my eyes and knew I had a song in me at that moment and just prayed for the help to write it.  The melody and lyrics came but it still took me a month before I played it live.  The audience gave me the standing ovation and when I went outside one of the audience told me it reminded me of John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance.”

This was especially exciting for Richard who had always been a fan of Lennon, but the song’s accolades were far from over as George Millar of The Irish Rovers, who connected with Rick Salt and then Richard managed to hear the finished product and told Richard and Rick that the song had all kinds of potential and that the two of them definitely needed to come up with a working contract.

Rick and Richard have been friends since they were kids, so the idea was pretty foreign to them.

“We’re brothers” Richard explained “Rick challenged me to write my first song when I was fourteen and I haven’t looked back.  From my mom I got the writer side.  One of my things is trying to emphasize with other people.  It’s about feeling what they are going through.”

Discover Richard Fahl today at his soundcloud page at…