Submitted by Don Graham
From raising hell to singing for the Lord Joe Richard’s transition is complete. From his early days in music which occasionally took him of the chosen path and on to the garden path with drugs and partying the Loudonville, Ohio Native is finally and gratefully where he belongs. ”
I was raised in a musical family. I was only seven years old when I joined my first band. My Dad had a country band, James Paul and The Blue Country. When I was about five I’d watch my Dad’s drummer and try to figure out what he was doing. . My Dad saw my interset and took notice bought me a drum set for my sixth birthday. A year later I joined my first band Iron Fist, playing Kiss, Peter Frampton, and other classi rock tunes . Years later in high school I was in a group called , The Ramblin Band. We got to open for established acts bands like Charlie Daniels, David Allan Coe and , Emmy Lou Harris, Tom T. Hall and Ray Stevens.”
Joe spent the first 32 years of his life playing music and living the rock n roll life. “I spent those years of my life drinking, taking drugs, and many other things. I was trying to fill the void and the emptiness that I always felt inside.” Joe Richard didn’t grow up in the church but a life changing event changed his world forever.”
In 2001 my wife and I were invited to a baptism of my wife’s Uncle. Her family’s church performed their baptisms in a small river outside of town. When we walked over the hill to a clearing near the river, there were people everywhere lining the river bank. A couple of preachers led my mother in laws brother into the water, raised their hands in the air and said, ‘we baptize this our brother, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost’ and dunked him under the water. When they pulled him up, he had a glow about him and the congregation began singing, lets all gather by the river. It tore me up. At that minute I decided I wanted a change. I was so tired of the life I was living! Conveniently, they had a revival the following week, my wife and I attended, she was saved on Thursday, and I was saved on Friday. A couple of weeks later we were baptized in that same river, and we have been blessed ever since. Thank you Lord for saving Me!!!
It was at this point that Joe made his musical. He wanted to sing for the Lord but wanted to keep true to his love country music. He prayed on it and the word he got was to combine the two, which did in his newly released record ” Roots” . I call this brand of music Outlaw Christian. I draw on my past, including my time in reformatory.” I can’t believe he would ever save me,” Richard sings on the title track about his path to salvation. “So many times I turned him away/I can’t believe that he would hear me pray.”
Watch and listen to “Roots” on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF4Nld31PwU&ab_channel=JoeRichard-Topic
Ten years after his time at the reformatory, Richard returned to prison as an extra infilm The Shawshnk Redemption. In the video for “Roots” he returned to the prison again, this time in full command of his fate and his vision. In a full circle moment, Richards not only wrote, directed, and set much of the video where he once did time, he cast many of his own friends and family, including his son and grandson to act out the narrative.
, Richard recorded Roots in Nashville with producer Rick Schweinsberg (Red Roots, Zach and Rodney) and an assured group of musicians including Grason Lilly (Lead Guitar), Byron Harris (Bass Guitar), Ike Lafontaine (drums) Wayne Hobbs (Steel & Slide Guitar, Dobro) CJ Davis (Fiddle & Mandolin) and Philip Cobb (Piano).
Listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/track/02vpBDY6VBtRKPZNtb5tYA?si=44a26def8f0b4174&nd=1
The current CD includes:
“Rise Up,” an uptempo toe-tapper featuring Davis’s spirited fiddleplaying, will get listeners to do just that. “There’s a Spirit Within” details the transformation Richards experienced while in prayer, offering a possible route to others on the path. The piano-forward ballad “Love Is” detais the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “In the Garden” is another parable in the form of classic country.
“I don’t wanna be the man I used to be,” Richard sings on “Don’t Wanna Be,” a mid-tempo, mandolin-gilded number that furthers the underlying theme of the title track: ”I wanna be where He wants me to be.” With Roots, Richard has arrived at that place.
Joe Richard is a happy man living with an attitude of gratitude and hoping you all listen to his music and message with an open heart.
For more on Joe Richard visit his website: https://www.joerichardgospel.com/