CD REVIEW: Richard Tyler Epperson - Falling Between the Stars
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Richard Tyler Epperson
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Ambient Pop, Light Rock, Soul, Modern R&B
Sounds Like: John Mayer, Bob Marley, Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars.
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Mix and Engineering aspects (Recording, Mixing, Mastering), Winded Songs, Marketability
Utahbased Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Richard Tyler Epperson just released his latest CD Falling Between the Stars in 2013. Reading from his bio: I've just released my 1st CD January 2013. I recorded the whole album in my home studio. I played the guitars, bass, piano/keyboards, electric percussion and vocals. The drums were recorded by Phil Robertson and the songs were mixed by Peter Carter.
The CD kicks gets off the ground nicely with “At Your Door” a smooth flowing intro piece that serves up slamming Reggae groove against walking bass lines, effective harmonies and soulful melody from Epperson. Track 2 “Awake” keeps thing moving in the right direction with sonic vocal delivery from Epperson with steady flowing rhythm, well placed keyboard accents painted against a hooky chorus making for an impressive follow-up ballad. Track 3 “Don’t Tell” is another impressive groove that dishes out rock steady rhythm, impressive and thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 amazing songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved is above the bar. I would classify this music as classic Pop, Americana, with brief touches of psychedelic Rock of the early 70’s and Reggae. Music is reminiscent of classic John Mayer, Bob Marley, Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive horn sections, impressive solo guitar, well placed percussion, well placed Keyboard, and lush harmonies layered everywhere built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing & rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to singer Epperson - as for his vocal abilities well – he’s amazing! His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully & unobtrusively with a timber that is simply infectious. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. All songs are extremely well crafted & consistent across the board. This CD from Epperson delivers 14 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of RTE has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. From heartfelt ‘Stars” to rocking “Sick” to melodic “The Life” and “Another Day” to hypnotic “My Melody” and “Save My Life” to tranquil “Were Alright” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 14 “You and I” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
The mix sounds extremely odd and amateurish to me. It simply doesn’t stack up when compared to other world class pop mixes and seriously lacks continuity track to track. Some songs sound adequate while others are way off the fairway. It just sounds awkward, weird and all over the place. This becomes more and more evident on really high end stereo systems and speakers. I Didn't see any Recording or Mastering Engineers listed within the liner notes. For future works I would strongly recommend 3 separate engineers (Recording, Mixing, Mastering) for each Production phase. The perspective 3 separate engineers this will give a production cannot be overstated. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but some of the aforementioned issues do effect the overall marketability of this release. If this review seems lopsided it merely reflects the extremes presented on Falling Between the Stars.
From start to finish Falling Between the Stars from Richard Tyler Epperson is an amazing collection of music. The songwriting – world class, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of Kern and company are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned no holds barred R&B-Pop-Rock swagger. Last but not least the vocal presence of RTE is breathtaking, and infectious.