Rick's 2018 Spotify numbers!

 

2018 was a year of solid gains in my Spotify audience!

Here are the numbers: Total fans up 66%. Fan playlist adds up 57%. New fans up 54%. Total followers up 56%. Total streams up 87%! In 2018 we were heard in 842 cities in 44 countries!

MANY THANKS to all our fans who listened to my music this year on Spotify - keep listening in 2019!


 

Half Moon Bay #7 in Europe!

 

HALF MOON BAY IS UP 3 PLACES TO #7 ON THE NEW OWMR TOP-100 ALBUM CHART! We're super grateful to Steve & Chrissie Sheppard at One World Music Radio for playing my music! OWMR is Europe's #1 radio station for the genres covered.            http://www.oneworldmusic.co.uk/album-chart/4593927394

 

Half Moon Bay at #10 on OWMR Top-100 chart!

 

Our 2nd great airplay chart report in a weekHalf Moon Bay climbed 70(!) places to #10 on OWMR's Top-100 chart for October! One World Music Radio is Europe's #1 online radio station for the genres covered (including mine). Many thanks to Steve & Chrissie Sheppard of OWMR!

You can listen to Chrissie's Top-100 chart show for October at OWMR October 2018 Chart Show.

 

Half Moon Bay at #4 in September!!!

 

RICK'S FIRST TOP-5 ALBUM!

Half Moon Bay vaulted from #45 to #4 in only one month!

Half Moon Bay is our highest charting album ever! Two of my previous albums rose to #7, but only after 3 months of airplay each. A huge thanks to all our friends in radio for playing Half Moon Bay! Special thanks to my hard-working media promoter, Randall Davis of The Creative Service Company!

Most of all, thanks to my Lord Jesus for inspiring my music and opening doors for what I do. http://www.zonemusicreporter.com/charts/top100.asp

 

Half Moon Bay Debuts at #45 in August!

 

HALF MOON BAY DEBUTS ON ZMR AT #45!

With only a few days of airplay in August, Half Moon Bay debuted on the ZMR (Zone Music Reporter) chart at a very respectable #45 (the upper half of the chart)! Technically, radio programmers only had the album for the last few days of August (not very long to play and report it). According to Randall Davis, my media promoter, some of the reports probably had to do with the programmers really loving the album in their September airplay. They were playing the music this month just as they were filling out their report lists for August and couldn't resist putting Half Moon Bay on their August report

WHAT A GREAT START!

 

First U.S. airplay for "Half Moon Bay!"

 

Our radio promoter, Randall Davis of The Creative Service Company, reports initial U.S. airplay for Half Moon Bay from these great broadcast & online outlets. Many thanks to these fine stations for airing Half Moon Bay, with many more station adds coming in September & October!

WWUH FM 91.3 Hartford, CT
WICN FM 90.5, Worcester, MA
WKNH FM 91.3, Keene, NH
WNMC FM 90.7 Traverse City, MI
WFCF FM 88.5,St. Augustine, FL
WDJW FM 89.7, Somers, CT
WAPJ FM 89.9, Torrington, CT
WPAA-TV Channel 18, Wallingford, CT
WIN-TV Channel 5, Windsor, CT
The Cove, Live365.com

 

Rolling Stone & Half Moon Bay

 

They say timing is everything. In this case, thanks to Rolling Stone magazine for a bit of timely support!

The new issue of Rolling Stone features a list of the Beach Boys' best obscure songs. It includes 2 of the 3 Brian Wilson songs I recorded for "Half Moon Bay."

Rolling Stone specifically mentions "the beach-goth ballad 'Lonely Sea'." They also give Dennis Wilson's "Pacific Ocean Blue" (from which I titled my song "Ocean Blue") a nice plug. The piece ends with a list of ten more "great songs" not previously mentioned, including "Summer's Gone," the final song on "Half Moon Bay."

 

Half Moon Bay: The Songs

 

As I’ve written in earlier blogs, once I heard the lovely instrumental, Half Moon Bay, from Brian Wilson’s 2015 album, No Pier Pressure, I knew what the theme & feel of my next album would be. I love the down-tempo, laid-back vibe of the song, which I basically adopted as the sound of my new album. Finding a beautiful graphic of a large half-moon rising out of blue water was a happy accident that yielded the album cover. All that remained was to write 7 new songs, choose 2 more Brian Wilson songs, then arrange & record the album. :)

  1. Sand and Stars. Prompted by the vision of a white sandy beach under a moonlit sky. I used alternating minor & major chords to establish ethereal beauty as the mood of the song. My solo piano plays the main theme, a simple melody which is then progressively enhanced by orchestral strings, electric guitar & angel voices. The middle bridge of tripled voice harmonies (called "angelic" by Brian in his Beach Boys vocal arrangements) floats over rhythmic piano & strings, and the ending repeats the beginning the song, with the addition of bells representing twinkling stars.
  2. Half Moon Bay. Brian Wilson’s lovely paean to inner peace, which he finally found in the latter part of his life. How natural for Brian to name the song after a little surfing community on the California coast. I started with the sustained sound of an electric piano, joined by electric guitar, flute, strings & angel voices. The electric guitar suggested by Brian’s original recording would feature in several more songs on the album. Not only did the guitar give a contemporary vibe to the songs, but it was my homage to Brian’s Beach Boy days. The use of voices gives this and the other songs on the album significant added emotion.
  3. Sunlight In Her Hair. A finger-style acoustic guitar carries the song from start to finish, with chords alternating between minor/major and the addition of countermelody & harmonic strings. A laid-back, deeply romantic vibe suggested by the song title, probably on a beach past or present.
  4. You’re So Nice. An improvised, 1-take piano solo that reflects the feelings of first love - tender, innocent, trusting, beautiful. The brief arpeggiated 2-chord piano opening is a nice segue from the preceding minor/major chord songs to a sweet simple song of mostly major chords.
  5. Ocean Blue. The title was suggested by Dennis Wilson’s 1977 solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue. Framed by electric guitar as homage to the Beach Boys era, as well as evoking the grandeur, mystery and beauty of the sea. This is another song on the album alternating between minor & major chords, with strings & angelic voices adding emotion.
  6. First Light. The quietest song on the album, evoking the peace of sunrise. Simple use of underlying synth to establish chords, with single piano notes & angel voices defining the melody.
  7. Lonely Sea. Brian Wilson’s underappreciated Beach Boys’ masterpiece from 1962 used a pattern of repeating descending chords (which he used again in Good Vibrations). His plaintive vocal of lost love set the emotion for the song which I tried to capture with slow electric guitar, quiet harmony voices and a flute melody, with a brief vocal bridge. The sound of ocean surf frames the open & close of the song.
  8. Whisper In the Wind. In a noisy world, you can still hear the whisper of His still small voice. "He will bring you quietness with His love." -Zephaniah 3:17. Quiet piano, flute, voices & strings - magical.
  9. Sunset Dreams. As the end of the day (and the album) approaches, a piano-based song of memories and dreams at sunset. A piano solo for the first half, joined then by quiet strings.
  10. Summer’s Gone. Brian Wilson’s last song on the final Beach Boy album, 2012’s That’s Why God Made the Radio, is Brian’s perfect look back at his life. From the Endless Summer of the Beach Boys to Summer’s Gone & latter years, Brian comes to terms with both the peace he eventually found and the finality that all things must pass. It was my choice for the last song on Half Moon Bay, a gentle longing for the warmth of the sun from a golden past (or a heavenly future).

 

I couldn’t be happier with the finished album. As Brian Wilson would say, we put a lot of love in these songs. May they take you to the water’s edge on a warm summer evening of dreams and peace.

 

 

The spiritual side of Half Moon Bay

 

In the liner notes to his 1965 masterpiece, A Love Supreme, jazz legend John Coltrane wrote that he had experienced “a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life.” He wrote that he had asked God for the “means and privilege to make others happy through music,” and that A Love Supreme was his “humble offering to Him, an attempt to say, ‘Thank you, God’ through our work, even as we do in our hearts and with our tongues.”

No less a secular critic than Rolling Stone called A Love Supreme a “legendary album-long hymn of praise.” Coltrane is a powerful example of a “secular” artist (in the eyes of the world) who viewed his music as an ongoing prayer of thanksgiving to God, who desired that his music bring joy to the listener.

On stage at the American Music Awards in 1988, Brian Wilson echoed Coltrane’s embrace of the spiritual power of music: “I wanted to write joyful music that made other people feel good – music that helps and heals, because I believe that music is God’s voice.”

I am simply one of millions whose lives have been inspired with joy by Brian’s music over the years. The loving power of his music still rings true.

Half Moon Bay (and all my music) is my humble offering of thanks to Him who inspires and blesses the work of my hands. To compose and play skillfully is to honor the One from whom all my blessings flow, blessings which certainly include my talent and ability as a musician.

In music as in life, I embrace the truth of Psalm 46:10, “Be still & know that I am God.” A master musician named David penned that verse some 3000 years ago. Like David, like John Coltrane and like Brian Wilson, my prayer is that God uses my music to replenish your spirit with peace, joy & love.

As I wrote in the liner notes for Half Moon Bay, “To Jesus Christ – your love and mercy fill my life.” May He do the same for you.

 

Inside Half Moon Bay: liner notes

 

Inside the "digipak" CD packaging of Half Moon Bay, you'll find liner notes on a beautiful picture of the Folly Beach, SC pier at sunrise. Folly Beach has been one of my favorite places for decades, ever since I was a college student in Charleston in the 70's. When I saw the picture online, I tracked down the photographer & she graciously granted me permission to use it in Half Moon Bay.

My liner notes are simple but heartfelt.

Opposite the liner notes is the actual CD, under which you'll find a picture of me off the coast of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands a few years back. The photographer was Sandie, the event our 25th anniversary. :)  I had no idea back then that one day, that picture would be a great choice for an album called Half Moon Bay.

Now you know what you'll miss if you choose to download the album, vs. getting the CD. :)