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BLABBER 'N' SMOKE

We were introduced to Rich Krueger last year via his EP Overpass (reviewed here) which revealed him as a serious songwriter with razor sharp wit, a sometimes surreal way with words and an excellent ability to blend various musical styles ending up with his own idiosyncratic sound. The EP was a curtain raiser for two planned album releases with Life Ain’t That Long the first to be whelped into the world and a fine pup it turns out to be...

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NOISEY (VICE)

Born on a Wednesday full of woe, a 58-year-old Chicago neonatologist undertakes to show the world he's also a major songwriter, complete with wavery high baritone that hurts so much it'll make ordinary mortals wince.

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NO DEPRESSION

Sometimes you need only one song and sometimes it takes years but if an album is really good you will eventually know it. For Life Ain't That Long, it didn't even take a song. The first few measures of “A Stoopid Broken Heart”, I knew. By the end of the second song, I really knew and by the end of the third I was laughing, it was so damn good. Rich Krueger, where have you been hiding?

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POPAGANDA

Google Translation of the Greek

RICH KRUEGER LIFE AINT THAT LONG Stories with acoustic based melodies.

Fast: New York's Chicago rocker's work on Rockink after last year's work, It's That Time Again. We heard her: With a crown on his head, the triumph of Neil Young-Van Morrison-Randy Newman, Rich Krueger tells stories with acoustic basically melodies. From Neil Young takes the spirit to the most stripped melodic moments. From Van Morrison borrows the most cocktail atmosphere, especially in the 7-minute "The Wednesday Boys". From Randy Newman he gets - what else? - the narrative skill in unleashing stories. For example, Robert Graves and Sid Vicious can be mentioned in the same song ("Then Jessica Smiled"). And it does not just make Jessica smile.

Run away: If you arrive from Newman to Paul.  

Did you tell her now? "He undertakes to show the world that he is a great songwriter, with a voice of high baritone that is running and hurting so much that it makes ordinary mortals cheer." -Noisey

Let me leave it? For foreign language delight.

OLIVER'S TWIST

In which a 58 year-old paediatrician from the US cobbles together his debut album (!) out of various folk-country-gospel-rock-R&B-jazz combinations. It works, partly because it’s so excellently produced and performed, but mostly because he writes his ass off and sings his vignettes in a style that evokes so many of the great singers from Van Morrison to Randy Newman.

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ANEWSCAFE.COM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA'S PREMIER ONLINE NEWS MAGAZINE

Rich Krueger, a performing songwriter, has a pretty good following in the Chicago area. He's not a household name, but a fair number of folks around the country have been exposed to his art. He was recently a finalist in the "New Folk" category at the Kerrville Folk Festival, and has been written up in European publications focusing on American acoustic music. He was also a member of The Dysfunctionells, who described themselves as "THE butt-ugliest band in Chicago."

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SEGARINI: DON'T BELIEVE A WORD I SAY

PART OF A MUCH LONGER POST

Speaking of Christmas songs, Rick Krueger just released one that is so folk it is freaky.  Usually, when musicians compose anything about Christmas, they lose the feel.  Not so with Krueger.  He not only captures the feel, he tells the story.  The more I hear this guy (he has a new album titled Life Ain’t That Long, which it ain’t), the more I like him.  

THE ROCKING MAGPIE MUSIC BLOG

We love left of centre music here at RMHQ and just fell in love with this Christmas song by New Yorker Rich Krueger, who is releasing a fabulous new album on January 26th (watch this space!)

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SEGARINI: DON'T BELIEVE WORD I SAY

PART OF A LONGER POST

First track into Rich Krueger‘s Life Ain’t That Long and I’m saying, sonofoabitch, that’s practically Michael Dinner without Michael Dinner’s voice.  And that ain’t a bad thing.  Dinner’s voice is definitely one of the more unique voices I have heard over the years, but Krueger has a voice of quality, too— a little higher in scale and maybe without the deep texture of Dinner’s— but plenty good enough and, in fact, plenty good.

Next track, The Gospel According to CarlRandy Newman, swear to God.  Third track— I don’t care anymore.  This Krueger dude has some talent!  Each song seems to stretch into different territory.  I mean, I am two thirds of the way through this album and I’ve had a variety of styles thrown at me and I like them all. Someone told me this was going to be good.  I should have known.  This guy’s been around awhile.  He knows his stuff.

Peter Stampfel of The Holy Modal Rounders, had this to say:  As a lifelong fan of True Deep American Strangeness, I came to a realization after leaving Milwaukee for the last time in 1959: The truest, deepest American strangeness is to be found in the heartland, the great Midwest.  As a perfect example, take a song— any song— of Rich Krueger and you will see exactly what I mean. Rich is an American Stranger if ever I did see one. Here’s the one which hints of Dinner.  BTW, the title of the album is Life Ain’t That Long. Because, as Rich says, it ain’t.

JP'S MUSIC BLOG

This release, being the first of the two new albums contains 10 solid songs of well-structured songwriting, beginning with the upbeat, Americana vibe of "A Stoopid Broken Heart." The album continues with "The Gospel According To Carl," which sounds like it came straight from the seventies folk/rock movement and should turn you into an instant fan of Rich's songwriting. His music takes on an edgier sound with his tribute to 1977 when Krueger was only 17 years old and all the highlights he experienced that year in "77/17." When he slows down for the ballad "Can't See Me In This Light," you can appreciate the honest delivery of his words and the emotions he pours into his performances. He wraps up his new release with the seven-minute, soul grooved plea of "The Wednesday Boys" and the inspired, gospel sway of "What We Are." There are also two bonus songs added to this album, including his Christmas-themed "And It's That Time Again," which Rich wrote back in 1985. 

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THE PASADENA WEEKLY

RICH KRUEGER, Life Ain’t That Long  (RockInk): 3½ STARS

Veteran Chicago guitarist/pianist Krueger delivers a winningly unpretentious, lyric-focused set that plugs in at the intersection where folk, rock and melodic pop jawbone and flip off genre distinctions. Country fiddle, R&B sax, gospel piano and harmonies make satisfying musical sense backdropping Krueger’s free-ranging perspectives. Highlights: “Stoopid Broken Heart” (“No one wants to break down with a stranger/ So that’s why God made bars and girl bar singers and one-night cheap motels”), “Can’t See Me in This Light,” bonus Christmas track “It’s That Time Again.” RIYL Robbie Fulks and Randy Newman. rockinkmusic.com, richkrueger.com

THE HOLLYWOD SOAPBOX

Krueger performs as a solo act and also leads The Dysfunctionells, who have played with Peter Stampfel and The Holy Modal Rounders. He has a folksy sound that’s harder around the edges than most acts, combining real-world lyrics with catchy guitar riffs. There’s an countrified ebullience in “A Short One on Life” and a contemplative musicality on “Yesterday’s Wrong…”

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MIDWEST RECORDS MUSIC BLOG

RICH KRUEGER/Life Ain't That Long: Hits are easy. Being admired by Holy Modal Rounders is another story. Chicago secret weapon Krueger loves life in the left field of back porch music and delivers a set that does make the Rounders proud. While his musicianship is polished and his lyrics make you go ‘huh?', this cat is a strange folkie for today's strange times and drugs. The perfect antidote to anything that sucks (as long as you aren't happy to be sucking it), this is a wonderful clarion call to the real disaffected that want to know there's someone else out there that sees things the same way. Where's the Earl of Old Town when you need it? Smoking. 

BLABBER 'N' SMOKE

We do love our mavericks here at Blabber’n’Smoke, folk who approach music from a slightly different angle and Rich Krueger seems to fit that bill. He was a member of The Dysfunctionells (who described themselves as “THE Butt-Ugliest Band in Chicago”) and who recorded at various times with Peter Stampfel and Michael Hurley, so, a good maverick pedigree there.

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ONLINE

In "A Short One on Life," the opening track of Chicago singer-songwriter Rich Krueger's as-yet-unreleased new CD, he tells us that one thing he's learned is that "life ain't that long."  And maybe it isn't, but his songs sure as hell are - there's hardly a one under 4 minutes in length and several venture into the 6 or 7 minute range - but Krueger's got stories to tell, moods to paint, and sometimes his brilliant, exuberant  bursts require longer than the standard radio airplay time length.  His unbridled wordiness, passion and irreverence invite comparisons to Loudon Wainwright III, Randy Newman, and the Sex Pistols.

 

Krueger is no musical neophyte, having weathered Chicago's music scene for years with his madcap band The Dysfunctionells, now scattered to the winds.  For this new project he gathers stellar players from Chicago, Tulsa, and other locales including Scott Daniel on fiddle, Seth Lee Jones on guitar, Brian Wilke on pedal steel, a pounding rhythm section and an unearthly gospel diva emitting celestial warbles and shrieks.  In "The Gospel According to Carl," Krueger presents us with an over-the-hill used car salesman's philosophic musings on life and religion which carry the listener to heights of transcendent joy.

 

"77 and 17" is a hard-rocking autobiographical retrospective which among other things reveals Krueger's surprisingly mature actual age - 57 - and some of his early influences and losses.  "Can't See Me In This Light," a beautiful mournful tune powered by accordion and electric guitar, asks for love, forgiveness and redemption, while "What Is It That You Want" is an angry wake-up call to the complacent non-participants of our society.

 

Throughout this lyrically artful and musically diverse collection, Krueger's soulful voice carries us over his debris-strewn chaotic emotional landscape to a place of catharsis and - dare we say it - peace.