You won't see visible vinyl grooves on these new releases, but the digital format of the single recording fits well into the current practice of downloading music into portable players. "Mr.Sputnik" and "Tater Gun Strut" were the first members to join Richard's bag of tunes. Both tunes have great stories behind their inception and were recorded on the 6 and 12-string guitar. Now, Richard has added additional singles as duets as he continues to expand his library.
Mr. Sputnik was born in a hospital. Not quite a birth, but more of a rebirth.
My friend Waz, William Arthur Ziehl, called me late one night and left the message on my phone. “Yo Bro. I just died.” Of course I did what any good friend would do. I called him back to see how he was doing. Apparently some heart medication collided and his tongue swelled enough to get him, shall we say, all choked up. According to Waz, he temporarily flat-lined, and before returning to the land of the uprights, had a dream that he was a robot – admittedly a reaction to hearing the machinery in the ER.Proud of his 10 seconds of fame in the netherworld, he wrote a slew of letters to all of his doctors requesting to now be known as Mr. Sputnik. Claiming if he ever did croak and return to the robot world, he figured the name would serve him well. But, fearing he would not know how to properly defend himself among the robots, he began studying robotics.
Elated that my friend Waz was still alive and currently my only musician friend with an unofficial robot name, I wrote just about the happiest tune I could - rumored to be in the Key of A although it starts on an E chord. I thought it was only proper to include a minor chord within the tune to properly acknowledge his temporary demise, but being merely a 10 second episode, I only allowed for two beats out of a bar during a transitional move. The tune, which will more than likely be arranged and rearranged for the duration of my career, seems to sit very well on both a 6 and 12- string guitar. I also noted a cozy spot existed on the 6-string with a capo placed at the 3rd fret.
Both the 6 and 12-string tracks were recorded in impromptu fashion in only two takes each at my friend Kim Quick’s home studio, “Over the Edge Studio” in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. While in route to West Palm Beach to perform a show at the Kravis Center, I stopped to try out Kim’s gear and the tunes took on a life of their own. Since I really liked the variations between the 6 and 12-string tracks, I elected to record both. If Waz can live in two worlds, then the tune can live on two guitars. Long live Mr. Sputnik!
Mr. Sputnik was brilliantly mixed and mastered by Tim Roberts of Nashville, Tennessee, who worked on my two previous releases, “Strings for a Season” and “Tasmania Live”.
This release is the 6-string version.
Mister Sputnik, a single released by Richard in 2013, takes a spin out into the universe with the addition of an Aussie as part of the crew to deliver a delightful and bouncy tune. This time, Australian guitarist Michael Fix joins Richard in a 6-string duet when they recorded this version while on tour together in Australia. As a tune that is forever expanding, much like the vast universe, the stories and music of this piece will continually take off into space with other artists joining Mr. Sputnik's crew of robots.
About Michael Fix: Michael Fix is widely acclaimed as one of the world’s finest acoustic guitarists. He has won three Golden Guitars and numerous other awards in Australia, and tours widely throughout the world, particularly Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, and elsewhere in Europe. In 2012 he made his first trip to South Africa, where he performed to standing ovations in every venue. Over the past two decades, he’s released 13 albums, together with several singles and EPs, and has established himself globally as a leading performer, appearing at festivals and concert venues across Australia, Europe and Asia. His latest release is the evocative Time Lines, featuring a collection of exquisite new pieces, inspired by Michael’s travels over the past few years as well as experiences closer to home, together with unique arrangements of some of the songs that have inspired him over the years. See more at: http://www.michaelfix.com
As I walked along the water’s edge near Cedar Key, Florida, with my wife Beverly and friends Wayne and Robyn Rogers, I took up my place in line to search for the ideal spot to launch our carefully selected baking potato. Armed with no more than a PVC pipe, a can of hairspray and a spud, I dutifully followed Wayne, our fearless leader and president of Gold Tone, as he confidentially strolled along the banks toward his favorite boat dock behind their waterfront property.
I quickly suspected that this drill was familiar to Wayne as he finally stopped and faced a small island across the water. Turning toward me, he seamlessly jammed the potato in one end of my pipe, shook the can of hairspray, glared at me with his look of deviousness and unmatchable concentration. “Are you ready?”
Of course I was ready. With a history of hosting Roman candle fights in the woods of Alabama as a teen, I was definitely Wayne’s kindred spirit. I stood at attention ready to launch. Wayne’s brows knitted together, sprayed the can in the other end of the pipe, stepped back and yelled at me to aim.
I aimed. He leaned slightly forward and lit it. BOOM! Instant aeronautical potato. I swaggered in my pride of a job well done and that was the sprouting of “Tater Gun Strut”. The work in progress started as “Tater Gun Rag”, but in the early days of its budding, the tune seemed to carry more of a strut-like feel to it in the middle, so the rhythmic swing of the piece dramatically shifted gears. “Tater Gun Strut” found its way onto both my 6 and 12-string guitars and still seems to sashay between the two because what else would you expect from a tater strutting its stuff?
This release is the 12-string version.
Today, recognized world wide as a performer who has a quirky take on everything around him, Richard continues to live up to this depiction with rousing shows filled with offbeat observations combined with his right-hand wizardry and heaps of technique. Now Richard has taken the excerpt from his original Echoing Wilderness (coined and recorded by Leo Kottke as Echoing Gilewitz) and has re-recorded it in Australia with guitar wizard Michael Fix. As they toured together "Down Under", it was a given that they would want to recorded some tunes together and Echoing Gilewitz was the perfect selection.
I was originally inspired to begin writing Echoing Wilderness in the late 1970's at the University of Alabama. As one of my first serious endeavors at composing, the opening slide segment was my attempt to mimic the piece," They Only Moved the Stage", by pedal steel player Cal Hand and guitarist Leo Kottke. The middle portion came from a friend who didn't even play any instrument at all! He insisted on directing me how to play a 12-string guitar with directions amounting to comments such as 'do something up high...,' now try those harmonic things again', 'do a low thing somewhere twice...', etc. The final segment was influenced by the European group, SKY, with classical player John Williams on guitar. The piece in particular was "Watching the Aeroplanes", which has a continuous and swirling effect. With the ending still unwritten, I found myself searching for a closure after returning home from a day at Disney World in Orlando, FL. The theme song from the Main St. Electrical Parade continually played in my head as I listened to the Hunchback of Notre Dame on television in the background. Just when the Hunchback realized that the beautiful damsel did not find him as Mr. Right for her, he vented his frustrations by dangling from the tower bells. The forces of SKY, Disney World and the Hunchback collided in my head and the tune popped out perfectly. Guitarist Leo Kottke wound up recording this end segment on his Private Music recording, A Shout Toward Noon, as "Echoing Gilewitz" and has played it in concert.
An enchanting instrumental of Gove Scrivenor's "Minuet for the Backroads"comes alive as Australian guitarist Michael Fix joins Richard Gilewitz in a duet for a toe taping, head nodding tune. Recorded in Australia while on tour together, this bouncy tune brings out the high energy bluey style of Gove. Taking on the swing and sway of this piece, the two guitars seem to be dancing as they travel the backroads together.
Upon first hearing Gove Scrivenor in the early ‘80’s, I must admit I was initially taken by both his voice and his auto-harp skills. This particular guitar instrumental called “Minuet for the Backroads” grabbed my attention above all else because I realized how well this waltz-like melody could transfer to the 12-string guitar, an instrument I was enamored with at the time.
About Gove Scrivenor: Gove's music has been described as "high energy folk blues", with inventive slide work and powerful vocals, tempered with singular work on the autoharp and beautiful ballads of his own writing. Gove moved to Nashville in the early 70s after a four-year stint as a submarine sonar technician in the Navy. This move proved to be a wise one, as he was signed by the largest music publishing company in the world, Acuff-Rose. Wesley Rose saw in Gove the qualities that his struggling TRX record label needed, and Gove was soon signed to a recording contract as well as a songwriter agreement. Things began to happen. Scrivenor signed a management and booking deal with the Don Light Talent Agency in Nashville. During his years with Don Light, Gove toured with fellow agency artists Delbert McClinton, Jimmy Buffett and the Original Coral Reefer Band. These successes opened many doors and he was soon performing two years in succession on the popular PBS series "Austin City Limits" with Doc Watson and The Amazing Rhythm Aces. He played the character of Daniel Boone on the National Geographic Recording written by Billy Ed Wheeler titled "Cumberland Gap". Gove was often called for jingle work as well, including the early Opryland campaigns for TV and Busch Beer. When looking for expressive and uncommon sounds, Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Dan Seals, Hank Williams, Jr., Iris Dement and Glen Campbell all turned to the evocative sound of Gove Scrivenor's autoharp.When Gove released early albums on Flying Fish Records, his friends Doc Watson, John Hartford, Marty Stuart, Buddy Emmons, Ben Keith (Neil Young), and Dave "Please Come To Boston" Loggins all lined up to contribute to his recordings. These two albums were re-issued by Rounder Records (Flying Fish) in 1999 as a compilation titled Solid Gove. He was joined by John Prine, Nanci Griffith, Lari White, and Guthrie Trapp for his first Compass Records release Shine On, a collection of five self-penned and selected favorites by fellow artists. (Wikipedia.org)