KERRVILLE 2018 NEW FOLK WINNER, RICH KRUEGER IS SET TO RELEASE HIS SOPHOMORE EFFORT, NOWThen (October 26, 2018)
“[Krueger’s] a major songwriter, complete with wavery high baritone that hurts so much it'll make ordinary mortals wince.” - Robert Christgau, The Dean of American Rock Critics 2/9/18 Noisey (Vice)
“Krueger reaches way down and creates his own musical paths, song after song. Paths which suck you into an altered universe in which you get lost in other peoples problems and successes for a change. So damn good. ...maybe perfect music for the moment. Rich Krueger, where have you been hiding?”—Frank J Gutch No Depression The Journal of Roots Music
"I'm loving Rich Krueger's new CD, NOWThen. He is so deserving of all the success he has been receiving! Way forward Rich!” - Melanie (Safka)
“[Krueger’s] 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…There’s no template for a Krueger song and the album weaves like a drunken sailor with bar room wisdom, tin pan alley pop, country and old fashioned R’n’B all stumbling into view. Sure enough there are shades of Springsteen, Newman, Bukowski and Van Morrison here and there but it’s all filtered through Krueger’s sardonic prism.” - Paul Kerr Blabber n’ Smoke (Glasgow)
“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 I ever did see one.”—Peter Stampfel, The Holy Modal Rounders
“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…Lyrically artful and musically diverse, Krueger`s soulful voice carries us over his debris-strewn chaotic emotional landscape to a place of catharsis and - dare we say it - peace.” Emily Kaitz, singer-songwriter
“Homeric” – Mary Gauthier, singer-songwriter
“The high point of my trip to Kerrville in 1996...Quirky, unique, original...A breath of fresh air amid the quagmire of mediocre self-produced CDs” - Jack Hardy, Fast Folk
“Talented...highly distinctive songwriter...cerebral, ironic....Richard Thompsonesque”. - Michael Parrish, Dirty Linen
“Krueger`s melodies, phrasing, and carefully-crafted lyrics call to mind the very best singer-songwriters…Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen. But his vision is very much his own.” - Jennifer Zogott, Folk Roots Magazine (Britain)
“Richard Krueger is taking his folky guitar explorations and voice into places hitherto unvisited except by real seekers after the musical grail—sensitive and beautiful, shine on Rich!” - Gary Lucas, God and Monsters & Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band
Rich Krueger is an interesting and generous guy who has something to tell you if you are willing to listen. Something that you might or might not enjoy, something that might even trouble you, but it will never be ordinary.
What album do you know that features Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart), Robbie Fulks, Peter Stampfel, John Fulbright, Sarangi Celtic, and Mexican harps, tuba, theramin, dogs, horns, Mariachis, AND great songs? And what do the themes of love, Wittgenstein, Cook County jail and trapeze artistry have in common? The answer to both questions is Rich Krueger’s newest release, NOWThen.
Krueger, who is now based in Chicago, IL, was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, NYC. He has been writing and performing with his band The Dysfunctionells since 1985. The Dysfunctionells, (who describe themselves as “THE Butt-Ugliest Band in Chicago”) have backed up the Holy Modal Rounders at their reunion at The Bottom Line in NYC, and Krueger has recorded with Peter Stampfel on his own and with the band.
Rich Krueger jumped into the spotlight in 2017, after releasing his first album, Life Ain’t That Long to worldwide critical acclaim, and non-commercial Triple A radio play around the world. Since then he has done numerous interviews in the US and UK and was a finalist in the Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Competition in 2017 and 2018, which he went on to win in 2018. Life Ain’t That Long got a coverted "A” rating from Robert Christgau, the Dean of American Rock Critics, and assorted other critical raves world-wide including in No Depression.
The folk rock Bible, Dirty Linen (no longer in print) has called Krueger’s music “Richard Thompsonesque”, and Anti-folk noted that, “Krueger is an old folkie at heart (although an esotericist in practice), and has a folkie’s love of text above all.” Just this year Krueger was chosen as one of the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Finalists. His love of text shines on Life Aint That Long. He performs original songs with well-made, intelligent, thoughtful and sometimes disturbing lyrics. His songs are story songs with characters that aren’t always fully aware of or are in denial about what is happening to them. The songs are usually touched by humor, even the songs with heavy topics. They challenge his listener’s beliefs, not just massage their prejudices.
The 15-song, NOWThen is self-produced and self-released. Krueger’s brother provides the artwork. The title means a couple of things as Krueger explains, “My body of songs are coming from two different periods in my life. The first, (Then) is from 1985-1998 when I was in medical school /graduate school/residency/neuroscience post-doc. After almost a 20-year gap, I started writing and performing again in 2007 (NOW). The other meaning is that I have changed, my life has changed, and the world has changed. I found it interesting that some songs that were written previously seem to have anticipated to some degree, major issues happening today.”
Most of the players from Krueger’s Life Aint That Long also play on NOWThen, but there are many others new to this project (see separate player sheet). There are appearances from friends including Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart), Robbie Fulks, Peter Stampfel, John Fulbright, Erik Frandsen (The Colbert Report), Casey McDonogh (NRBQ), Jay Ansill (acclaimed Celtic performer/composer), and Jim Becker (Iron & Wine). Some of the arrangements are far simpler than LATL, but a couple are much more elaborate. The musical palette on NOWThen includes Sarangi, Tablas, Celtic and Mexican harps, tuba, theramin, dogs, a horn section, gospel singers, and a full-fledged Mariachi band
A Neonatologist at The University of Chicago by day, Krueger came to writing songs because he grew up listening and singing translations of the songs of Belgian singer-songwriter, Jacques Brel. “I listened to these songs over and over,” he said. “They were braver, more honest and cut to the bone. I wanted to write like that.”
NOWThen is a work of love and of hope, hard work and joy and about having open eyes. “It reflects my life and my friends,” the artist discloses. “It reflects my basic philosophy about life which I can sum up this way: There are 2 points here. First, there is one fact that has always been true, and always will be true about human beings. And that is that some of what any person knows to be absolutely true, is actually not true. The sad corollary of this fact is that most of man’s inhumanity to his fellow men, and most of the evil men do in this world are a direct result of a difference of opinion with me about my first point.” He adds, “I’m a friendly and open smart and funny guy with a mouth and willingness to use it. I’m pretty much an iconoclast. You can’t spend any significant amount of time at a place like The University of Chicago and not be an iconoclast.”
Rich Krueger’s songs are songs that could only be made by an outsider, and observer. They might make you think, they might make you laugh, and they might even trouble you, but NOWThen is full of real songs that are never ordinary.
#NeverOrdinary #RealSongs #NOWThen