2015 CD REVIEW
RICH THANKS HANK - COCHRAN - NOT WILLIAMS
“Set em up Joe and make the world go away/ this ain't my first rodeo, just yesterday's heartbreak/ I used to say that she would be back/ but love makes a fool of us all/ cause she's still in town and I'm a long way from home/ is it raining at your house/ your tomorrow never comes/ so help me Uncle Hank because you're stronger than me/ and I'm falling to pieces on oceanfront property.” - Uncle Hank - Rich O'Toole-Chris Monteverde-Suzi Cochran.
Houston singer-songwriter Rich O'Toole fooled an American reviewer about the identity of the subject of his song Uncle Hank .
Rich, now 31, used those song titles to illustrate a story of past love in Uncle Hank on his fifth album Jaded , released in June, 2014.
He wrote it with Hank's nephew Chris Monteverde and fifth wife-widow Suzi Cochran - at the Cochran home in Nashville.
Cochran died at 74 in 2010 after writing more than 50 hits for peers diverse as Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Lee Ann Womack, Merle Haggard and George Strait.
Alabama nouveau outlaw Jamey Johnson also recorded acclaimed Cochran tribute disc Living For A Song .
The Uncle Hank video screened on Nu Country TV cuts from a scene in which O'Toole is playing acoustic guitar to a bar, where he's rocking on electric, in front of a Hank poster.
It prominently displays Nashville - from the Batman building in the skyline to Broadway honky-tonks in Music City.
The video ends with a portrait of Cochran stating his birthdate and death date.
Rich produced and recorded Jaded in Nashville at Benchmark Studios with Ilya Toshinsky and Mack Damon
It's a far cry from university days at College Station long after singing actor Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen - then student neighbours - wrote their Front Porch Song .
Park used George Strait song titles in his song Fit For The King.
Ironically, Strait, 62, is one of many major artists to score hits with Hank Cochran songs.
“I took 31 George Strait song titles, and rolled them all into one song," revealed Park, 30, born in Austin and raised due north at Leander, who sang with Strait's Ace In The Hole Band while in college in San Marcos.
"I made a story, and, that song, really, I stole every word to this song that I'm talking about.”
RICH AND JADED
“We were young and now we're older/ I'm tired of looking over my shoulder/ and seeing you in my rear view/ times are tough things did change/ your daddy didn't like you taking my name/ you're not the reason that I'm jaded/ you're not the only girl I've dated.” - Jaded - Rich O'Toole-Evan Gamble.
Take My Heart - “my heart is yours for the takin, just like a piece of bacon” and Too Good to Call - “were you really too good to call/did you really give a fuck at all/sittin there making me feel all alone” - are classic heartbreak songs with edgy attitude.
In the latter the male character endured a relationship with a girl who was too good to call him back when they broke up.
Krenek Tap Road is a hell raising romp about a bar and never ending parties that follow long after closing time.
I Thank God is about how a father, already married, who conceives a son with his mom - a secretary.
The song implies friends were suggesting the father abandon the son but instead he listened to the man upstairs and raised him.
The father eventually marries the character's mother and the son is saved and raised right in this redemption requiem.
Missing Minnesota is about O'Toole relating to his past memories in Minnesota with his family and Never Gonna Quit is a song about showing resilience.
O'Toole doesn't resile from bearing his heart in his songs.
“People who have a 9-to-5 desk job probably aren't emotional as artists,” Rich says.
“I was born with a brain that thinks a little differently than a normal person, but that's why I write music. You take what God's given you and try to turn it into music. As I write music, life is what shapes everything. You really get into what happens in reality - breakups or love or misfortune that stuff really pours out onto the canvas. It's kind of how you turn that around. I'm not sitting down and writing songs to try to sell a product. I'm really getting to the point where I'm showing as much passion on stage as I possibly can. You have a song like Jaded in the set and I'm up there and singing my heart out and you can tell how hurt I was, and then I sing Marijuana & Jalapenos and it's fun again. It's all emotions in one - that's how I want the show to be.”
RICH RESURRECTS TIM HARDIN
“I got on stage and sang Shout with them,” O'Toole recalled.
“Dream come true. We also took a shot with the band backstage. So that and dirty dancing at foam parties.”
His College Station era impacted.
“My main musical influences would have to be Robert Earl Keen and Reckless Kelly ,” O'Toole confessed.
“Growing up I always listened to regular country music, and when my buddy introduced me to Keen and Reckless Kelly's music, it totally changed me forever, and after that I stared getting into the whole Texas music scene.”
O'Toole released debut album, Seventeen , in 2007 and second album In A Minute Or Two on October 21, 2008.
His third album Kiss of a Liar featured the duet with Josh Abbott titled Ay Dios Mio and cover of Wilco song Casino Queen with guest Pat Green.
O'Toole co-produced fourth album, Brightwork , with Damon and Ilya Toshinsky for his indie label, PTO Records.