Richard Burgess has been part of the local music scene for more than a decade. His resume includes work in some of Kansas City’s best roots-rock bands, starting with the long-gone but still-revered Hadacol and including Pendergast and the Expassionates.
He will be backed by a four-man band that includes a few former bandmates: Sam Platt on drums, Fred Wickham and Greg Wickham on guitars and other instruments and Johnny Hamil on bass. Burgess recently answered a few questions about the project, his music history in Kansas City and where his music tastes came from.
When did you first get into music?
I started playing bass in 11th grade and by the time I graduated the following year I got a scholarship.. However, I didn't last long there. After dropping out of the conservatory, I started playing roots rock, locally, joining up with Fred and Greg Wickham and forming Hadacol. We recorded two albums and toured quite a bit playing with some pretty heavy-hitters like Chuck Berry, Merle Haggard, BR5-49, Dale Watson, Junior Brown, Southern Culture on the Skids and many others.
You were in three bands who either broke up or stopped playing Hadacol, Pendergast and the Expassionates. What happened next?
I started banging around on guitar more and these songs from the ether started showing up. Well, I scratched them down and liked them quite a bit, so I reached out to my music buddies to help me record them: Sam Platt on drums, Fred Wickham on guitar, mandolin and vocals, Greg Wickham on piano and organ, Kasey Rausch on vocals, Mike Stover on steel guitar and Jason Beers on banjo and harmonica.
This is my first solo record. I never really envisioned myself fronting a project or leading a band, although I did feel I was an equal and integral part of all the bands I had ever been in. But I was not in a band and I had these songs that were telling me they wanted to be not only heard, but played. So like I said, I recruited some of my old band mates and we laid them down.
I didn't really have a message to convey regarding the album. I like words and playing off words and there is a lot of that in my songwriting style. The songs are simple, musically, but I think they are lyrically interesting without being pretentious and too cerebral. Some of the songs were born out of sadness and loss, but most came to life from embracing the new, falling in love, and becoming a father. Some I have no idea what they mean, but they evoke a certain mood or feeling in me and hopefully others. I like those kinds of tunes.
What do you tell people your music sounds like?
I tell people my music sounds like outlaw country or country-folk, Americana, alt-country and so on --- sort of a Waylon Jennings/John Prine hybrid without intentionally trying to emulate those guys
Who are some of your major influences?
Some of my favorites are Nick Lowe, Johnny Cash, John Prine, Howlin' Wolf, Nina Simone, Prince, Waylon Jennings, Bob Dylan, Lucinda William and Neil Young. I could go on and on, but those are a few.
| Timothy Finn, The Star