When writing about Richard X. Heyman, it is very hard to know where to begin. He has gone from forming a New Jersey garage band, The Doughboys, in the 60’s, to covering songs from The Stones, Kinks, and Yardbirds, to recording many nicely done albums, and even come full circle in 2000 reorganizing The Doughboys. Being influenced by such greats as The Beatles, The Byrds, and Richard Rogers, Richard’s career spans over five decades of astounding music. As one listens to some of his earlier tracks such as “Vacation” (1980), to “Falling Away” (1991) and “Cornerstone” (1998), one can notice a common denominator; Richard’s earlier work appears to be timeless pieces waiting to be heard by the next generation.
Which brings us to Richard’s newest album recently release, titled X.
Here, the question should be asked, Why a tenth album? But as Richard said, “It takes ten albums to make it from the living room to the bedroom.” For Richard his trip was more of a “circuitous” journey than expected. However, as you listen to X, symbolizing the roman numeral 10, one can notice that X is more of a realization of success for this singer/songwriter who plays many instruments. Rumor has it, playing the drums is his first love. His second love is his wife, Nancy Leigh, who has mastered the art of engineering in their home studio. Just don’t tell her about the number two thing.
But for this Virtuosic indie musician, X, as one writer stated, is an “effortless mastery of popular music infusing classic styles with timeless emotional truths.“ in other words, X is a timeless sequel to Richard’s previous work.
When listening to X, there seems to be a central theme throughout the album; relationships. Whether it is merely friends going their separate ways, or a couple breaking up, X seems to deal with aspects of different relationships. He writes “When Denny Dropped Out Of The Scene”, talking about a time of growing up, friends going their separate ways, and moving on to new friends.
Then in “Be The One”, the album takes a different path of regret, remorse, and consequence. “What was I thinking of, I don’t know to the breaking point of love, why did I go?” “Now I won’t be the one to tell my deepest fears in your ear” “Be The One” even deals with depression as it crops it’s ugly head in the stanza, “Gold I’ve won has turned blue.” As one listens to this album it’s like the album is unfolding into a drama enabling the listener to take off the rose colored glasses in order to see the emptiness and regret.
In “Difference Between Us” it is so well said, “When the fork in the road came up, you went right and I just left.” Who can’t relate to that? Then the album takes on another aspect with others trying to fix it, but as the song answers, “If You Have To Ask”, then you don’t get me.
As the drama unfolds it continues with “Somebody Has Finally Found Me.” Richard writes “People spend their lives trying to find love realizing love has to find them.” Finally, as we listen to “Will To Go On” the piece takes us to a rock, a security blanket to cling to being so much to so many.
Listening to X each song stands on its own but seems to run together as in a three act play. It feels like the album is taking us through various stages of life. Richard reveals vulnerability, contradiction, and hopelessness. Musically, it is superb with most of the instrumentals performed by him alone. The classical piano with Richard’s singing sounds more like a duet between him and the piano. “Please Be Mindful” is another well done number that simply drives with a solid beat. There is also a nice guitar throughout the album which at times adds to the mood of the album. To add some pop rock, “Compass” has all the sounds of classic rock and roll. It is a favorite with the 60’s flare. Again, love the piano, only wish there was more of it. “Firing Line” is another fine pop rock piece. The percussion and drums were excellent and gave the tune added flavor.
X has a total of fifteen tracks. Simply put, there is clear message here along with a very well produced album with the help of his wife Nancy. X has some great individual tracks, and collectively these tracks put together a nice package. The album is outstanding, and well worth adding to one’s collection. The question, is will there be a number eleven?
So as it goes, this is Richard X. Heyman, with his new album X. It certainly marks the spot.