What Is Everyone Saying?
Nashville 95: CD Review
In his web site biography, Rich Flanders claims, “I’m not a cowboy, and I don’t own that big spread on the far side of the divide.” But after listening to Yondering: Songs of the American West, some might be convinced otherwise, as Flanders clearly has a deep, intimate relationship with the old west.
His renditions of these Western classics take listeners on a nostalgic journey that conjures images of wide open frontiers and vast horizons. And while the music sticks closely to its heritage, Flanders does a great job toying with creative autonomy. His layered harmonies are meticulously crafted, and are the album’s preeminent attribute. Moreover, Flanders showcases his seasoned vocal chops with wonderful intonation and vibrato, which is a breath of fresh air in a time of unbridled pitch correction.The album is simple, under-produced - yet it has depth and character. In a nutshell: Flanders got the job done, and done right.
— www.nashville95.com , Country CD Reviews, May 13, 2008
Mystery School & The School For Social Artistry
These songs are beautiful, rich, poignant and melodic and given a depth of feeling and sweetness with the tenor and exquisite phrasing of Flanders' voice. They bring back memories and recall days of fortitude and innocence. They give us back the America of our dreams and hold us to a higher ideal.
The Center For Sacred Theatre
Rich's beautiful voice sounds his soul, and makes me homesick, not just for an American West that was a dream, but for the wonders of the natural world, and the heart that still sustains it. The title, Yondering, is perfect,too
International seminar leader, Freedom Through Releasing
After listening to "Yondering" I wholeheartedly recommend it for soothing the soul, as it reminds us of a lifestyle that honors and respects the natural beauty of our planet. "Yondering" is a routine pleasure for me as I face modern day traffic. Thank you for creating such a therapeutic blessing! I never tire of hearing it. Music from home...the heart.
Troubadours of Divine Bliss
We want to thank you for creating your CD "Yondering!"...IT IS MAGNIFICENT!!!! It's beautifully produced and your voice is an American classic! Lush, lively and lovely...We wish you great success with the CD. Every home should have a copy. Thank you for keeping American music alive and very well! An amazing tribute... Happy trails, your troubadours, Aim Me Smiley & Renee Ananda
Acupuncturist, Nutritional Consultant, Author, Los Angeles
You have the most gorgeous voice! I LOVE YOUR CD SOOOOO MUCH!!! Your voice is absolutely exquisite...and your music, your voice, and the arrangements make me so happy! Every song is so soothing to me. If I could I would make you the next cowboy singing star! Thanks for uplifting my day. I am so excited that I own a copy!
Le Cri Du Coyote. Revue de Musique Americaines,
Issue # 103
A singing cowboy returns. Simply beautiful work. The Old West still survives, thanks to fellows like this.
Angel Gail Konz
teacher, intuitive, author - Michigan
"Yondering" is what my husband and I always reach for after a busy day on our farm. Somehow it touches a place very deep and makes more sense to all of our reality. We absolutely love this music! "
Ed & Jill Lamoureux
Master Coordinators, Shaklee Corp., New Hampshire
The first time we played your new CD, Yondering, we were immediatly taken by the simple beauty and calming effect that it had on us. It syncopates both sides of the brain and it begs to be played over and over again, bringing a sense of peace and relaxation in a very unsettled world. It brought us back to our youth. Your voice is an angelic voice. People need to hear this - This is what the world needs. Thanks for the brilliant work.
White Plains, NY
I have been listening to your album, with much enjoyment. You have such a beautiful quality to your voice that I believe can transcend many ills in this world. I loved the song you wrote and hope that there will be many more. I did enjoy the familiar songs I recognized and some that delightfully surprised me, which I've never heard. You have an incredible depth of compassion and heartfullness that can be bridged through your music.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
I grew up listening to Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Sons of the Pioneers, Marty Robbins, etc. and this homage to Western music is excellent. It brings back memories of my childhood...like comfort food for the ears. Rich's voice is amazing and he captures the true essence of these songs. The production is flawless and the musicians perfect. I highly recommend this CD for any fan of Western music or just really good music for that matter.
composer & musical director,
New York City
What I think impressed me most is.....how Rich claims the entire genré of western music as his own. I don't feel like I'm listening to a museum piece....I'm hearing western music for the very first time. I found this recording to be very FRESH and NEW. BRAVO!!! It's a great CD.
Western Music Association
Album of the Year, 2010
Best Traditional Western Album by an Individual
Best Original Song (Thirteen Voices)
Five Stars: RIDE AWAY
The true test of a recording artist is not the first great disk: it's coming up with a second disk that is as good as or better than the one that got the first acclaims. And acclaims are exactly what Rich Flanders received for his first album, Yondering, which culminated in the coveted award from the Academy of Western Artists in 2008: Best Song of the Year, for the album's Blue Prairie track. Ride Away, Flanders' second album, fully deserves to be in line for the 2009 edition of the awards.
In a very real sense, this album has been in gestation for four-and-a-half decades - since Flanders was a high school student riding horses in the hills behind San Mateo, California, and imagining what it would have been like to be doing that very same thing a century earlier. He watched, and heard the soundtrack of, arguably the greatest of John Ford's many great films, The Searchers, and the height of John Wayne's acting career as well.
The fine first thirteen tracks of the album lead up to a very steep challenge: Flanders take on the Sons of the Pioneers' platinum classic Western performance of Stan Jones' Ride Away, the song that plays as the opening credits for The Searchers unfold. If you were the curator of the Smithsonian Institute's music program, and putting together an anthology of American music that had but one place for a classic twentieth century cowboy song, this would be it. It takes chutzpah to tackle this icon.
"What makes a man to wander?
What makes a man to roam?
What makes a man leave bed and board
And turn his back on home?
Ride away, ride away, ride away.”
Flanders performs this ballad with exceptional aplomb, aided by his recording engineer, and accompanist on guitar and accordion, Ken DeAngelis. Flanders has an intimate lyric baritone voice, delivered with a palpable warmth that lets you know that this music is coming directly from a heart that is deeply rooted in roaming in horseback across the Western landscape.
There's also an intriguing original song that DeAngelis and Amy Ober penned for this album: Thirteen Voices, inspired by the native American "Thirteen Grandmothers" aiming to inspire people to rebalance their relation with nature.
The classic cowboy instrumentation is completed, and provided well, by Rachel Handman on fiddle and Barry Wiesenfeld on acoustic bass.
Flanders grew up in Midwestern and Western landscapes that he depicts as truly flat as a pancake. There was not even TV, much less anything akin to today's Internet. He caught the latest Western films at the local movie theater, especially the Roy Rogers films that usually gave the Sons of the Pioneers the chance to strut their stuff.
To Flanders ears, that music incarnated the freedom of the vast horizons that he learned to love as he grew up, and eagerly wandered about and savored as a young man.
One final ingredient is, I think, part and parcel of why Flanders music excels in getting his intended message across so well. After getting out of the army, Flanders trained as an actor. Singing entered into the picture at a later stage. I've had the good fortune to hear Flanders sing his Western repertoire live. As someone who frequently writes on opera, I was struck right away by his poised integration of vocal warmth and quietly dramatic physical delivery of the music.
This is a man who knows exactly why he loves the music that he loves, and how to use his native talent and hard training to get into his audiences' ears, heart and mind. I'm looking forward to the third album.
Philip Ehrensaft. The Delaware & Hudson CANVAS. December 2009
The Western Way magazine,
The song, Thirteen Voices, written by Ken DeAngelis and Amy Ober, was performed by Rich Flanders. This song, one of the nine nominees, was hauntingly beautiful, touching and moving, and it seemed like the audience held their collective breath until the song was finished. That song is a piece of "western art" every bit as powerful as a Charlie Russell painting.
"A Piece of Western Art"
I am enjoying RIDE AWAY immensely. Terrific songs, perfect arrangements, and your oh-so-easy-on-the-ears vocals. Thanks for this lovely CD.
Peggy Nash Rubin
Founding Director, The Center For Sacred Theatre, author of To Be and How to Be, Quest Books
Rich Flanders' songs and singing offer a profound sense of yearning and remembrance, a sense that comes close to prayer. What riches he provides!