Grammy nominated songwriter Rick Lang joined me on NineVoltHeart to tell some stories; tales from his upcoming Dark Shadows Recording’s release. “A Tale to Tell” has thirteen of these story songs featuring thirteen vocalists and a slew of Nashville’s best players as well. We start the segment off with “Lost Town” a song which chronicles the Town of Dana Massachusetts and it’s fate to be one of four small towns sacrificed to the establishment of the Quabbin Reservoir. James Kee from East NashGrass does a super vocal on this cut to set the tone for our interview.
Rick Lang is a modest guy who needed to be prompted to acknowledge his many awards and accomplishments but he is glad to discuss the mentoring of other songwriters. As an isolated songwriter in New Hampshire, he really valued input and help in creating his early songs. In turn, Rick has provided this kind of mentoring to dozens of emerging songwriters. He has been active in the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Songwriting Committee as well as collaborating with Eastern Tennessee State’s music Program. A scholarship in his name has been endowed to help young songwriters in need.
Rick’s long standing songwriting work has tended to be in Bluegrass Gospel songs, his “Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout” album was nominated for a Grammy as well as IBMA Album of the Year. “A Tale To Tell” collects a batch of “story songs’ that hadn’t thematically fit in those earlier releases. All the songs are true stories of real life experiences such as the forementioned “Lost Town”. We talk about the stories behind a few other songs such as “They Sawed Up a Storm” and “Toodleoo”.
Rick has become prolific in the creative collaborative process of co-writing. He tells the anxiety of his first co-write with Donna Ullise and Jerry Salley. Well, he’s gotten over those jitters because he’s written hundreds of songs since; many picked up by other artists to much success. We talk about his recent co-writing experience with Dark Shadows labelmate, Rick Faris, for his sophomore album, “The Next Mountain”. ‘Rick Squared’ as he refers to the collaboration, co-wrote five songs on this release! We listen to the gospel burner that features Sam Bush and Jason Carter among others, called “See You On the Other Side”. The musical set finishes with “They Sawed Up A Storm” and “Toodleoo”. I’ll let Rick tell those stories, listen in. You’ll enjoy the Tales, for sure.