Sound Waves Magazine

Wendy Rich

“It’s All Nothing”

Wendy World Productions

 

Blues-rocker Wendy Rich is a native Texan, but now hails from Florida where her band the Soulshakers are an established blues band. She joined her first rock band at age 13 and in 2000, the frontwoman toured with Big Brother & The Holding Company.  As singer-songwriter, she has released five CDs.  “It’s All Nothing” is her latest and was recorded in Houston, Nashville, and Largo, Florida. 

This girl can sing.  Everybody knows that.  But she does more than that.  She changes her vocal styling to fit the type of song, and well, it’s something!  Her vocals are full of attitude yet at times overflow with sensitivity.  The rich tone in her unique voice, like a warm cup of coffee, changes when you least expect it to make a point.  She delivers poignant and romantic lyrics reminding one of Bonnie Raitt, and then on the next song rocks your world.

The CD kicks off with “Back to Zero,” a rockin’ blues tune with a full sound complete with organ, solid rhythm, horns and harmonies and some seriously good guitar from Kenny Cordray.  “Love and Happiness” slows things down and features tingling piano from Paul English, great vocals, and a modern yet classic arrangement with Cordray filling in with some heart-rending guitar.  The radio-ready “Welcome Home” has a catchy chorus, nice harmonies and some sweet Hammond B3 from Kevin McKendree.  “Losin’ You” is a heartbreaker of a song with breathy, whispery vocals and with polished songwriting from the lyrics to the melody lines to the chord progressions.  There’s also a screaming guitar lead from Rob McNelley.

“Song About Nothing” features electric slide with a Cajun feel, clever lyrics and some vocal growls that seem to come out of nowhere.  Reminiscent of the female soul singers of the 1970s, “I Just Wanna Be” shows off Rich’s pure talent and comfort with whatever a song requires.  Completely switching gears, for the country song “Off The Deep End,” Rich imparts a twang in her voice, similar to Jennifer Nettles.  Then to catch you off guard, Rich’s teenage rock roots come through on “Get it Together” with a George Thorogood feel.

Fans of fantastic female vocals should check out “It’s All Nothing” and Rich’s back catalog of work for an exploration on how truly great singers can belt it out and get it done.

 

 

-          Sue Menhart

 

Reflections In Blue

 

Wendy Rich
It's All Nothing
Self-produced
This is another case where I find myself sitting and shaking my head, wondering how I could have band and let someone of this caliber go unnoticed for so long.  Here is a Texas girl, born and raised, with a dynamic voice and an incredible band...who also is a consummate performer, and she has gone relatively unknown.  It tells me that there is a problem in the manner in which we market music in this country.  Wendy Rich joined her first band at the age of 13.  She joined her first blues band in 1989, shortly before moving to Florida.  She formed Wendy & the Soulshakers, and very quickly established herself and the band on the regional club and festival circuit.  To date she has toured up and down the east coast and to Europe.  With four self-produced CDs under her belt to date, this is one woman who will not be stopped.  In 2000 she took some time off from the Soulshakers to tour as the front person for Big Brother & the Holding Company.  She toured with them extensively through the U.S. and Europe through 2004...still making appearances with them on occasion.  Over the years she has worked with a number of the finest performers in the business.  It's All Nothing combines numbers recorded in Houston, at the SugerHill Studio with Kenny Cordray on guitar, Mark Andes on bass, Tyson Sheth on drums, Paul English on piano and Eric Demmer on sax with tracks recorded at Rock House Studio, in Franklin, TN.  This is the same session that produced Drive, recorded in 2012, and includes Kevin McKendree on piano & B3, Bob McNelley on guitar, Steve Mackey on bass, Lynne Williams on drums & George Harris on guitar (cut 3).  The final track was recorded in Largo, Florida.  The result is a delightful mix of styles that showcases beautifully the incredible diversity and range of Wendy Rich.  The performers on this disc are all top-notch, each doing their jobs immaculately.  I would recommend her previous release, Driver, very highly as well.  This is a beautiful blend of blues, country and soul.  Rich has her feet firmly planted in blues and related styles, able to come out with the force of a category 5 hurricane or to caresser audience with all the tenderness of a long lost love.  This is one act that deserves not only worldwide recognition but, at least one Blues Music Award...if not more.  Do yourself a favor and get acquainted with Wendy Rich.  You will not be disappointed.   This is a woman on a mission.  She's on the move, and not about to stop, come hell or high water. 
-- Bill Wilson

YouTube -  https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Wendy+Rich

makingAScene.org CD REVIEW- It's ALL Nothing

Wendy Rich is a revelation to this writer, as It’s All Nothing is the first time I have heard her, but it won’t be the last.. She has such a perfect blues voice, with the sort of maturity Bonnie Raitt has always projected. She sounds like a grown woman with the experience to sell a song. Her tunes are often country-tinged and always heartfelt.

Not only can the woman sing, but she is backed by a great band. Mark Adnes on bass and Kenny Cordray on guitar set the pace from the first song, “Back to Zero,” which pounds its way to your ears and grabs them as Rich explains that “You’re a little paranoid and out of control” and you need to get “Back to Zero.”

This album was recorded in Houston and Nashville, and the Houston session provides us with “Love and Happiness” and Nashville produced “Losin’ You” which are country blues and remind me of classic songs by Brenda Lee or Connie Francis. Kevin McKnedree adds spectacular keyboard that sends chills up and down my keyboard-loving spine.

Other highlights of the album are “Welcome Home,” a warm and happy number, and “Song About Nothing,” a humorous song about breaking up with an uptempo beat and excellent slide guitar. However, there are no weak songs on here.

it’s so important that even the strongest, most appealing singer, which Rich certainly is, has an equally talented band and great production and sound quality. It’s All Nothing has everything needed to make a thoroughly enjoyable album. If you are not familiar with Wendy Rich. now is the time to get acquainted.

MakingAScene.org

Suncoast Blues Society -Twelve Bar Rag - Volume 19/Number 3

Wendy Rich

It’s All Nothing

www.wendyrichmusic.com

In a day-and-age when pop music is dominated by whiney little girls, Wendy Rich is a breath of fresh air!

She has a woman’s voice with the full complement of abilities. She has a broad range; she can sing with

a soulful growl or a country-flavored, tear-in-her-voice twang. She can do an unaffected alto, ala Irma Thomas..or she can lay on the melisma, or the vibrato, or both!

Woman can sing!

The record was made in Houston, and Nashville with one track done by George Harris in Largo. Harris also masterfully mastered the disc.  Mark Andes’ thundering bass grabs you by the ears and drags you into “Back To Zero”,.It’s All Nothing’s first track. Then Kenny Cordray’s guitar hints at where the vocal is going to go. “You’re a little paranoid, an’ out of control”..

Yeah, time to reset “back to zero”.

“Love and Happiness” (and “Losin’ You” from the Nashville session, too) lives out on that edge where Blues meets Country. Kevin McKendree puts down some “Floyd Cramer-Meets-Ray-Charles” keyboard fills, and Cordray lays down some seriously Blue guitar…and Wendy’s vocal is from that place where only Delbert and E.G. Kight usually venture. Sweet!

“Song About Nothing” is an up-tempo, humorous song…about breaking up. The instrumental side is by lead by some tasty slide guitar, and the vocal has a lot of words in a small space, and despite the subject brings a smile to my face.

As much as I love Wendy’s voice, the first thing that really caught my attention with this record was the

outstanding dynamic range and recording quality. Some folks would have you believe that something recorded in the back bedroom on their laptop sounds the same, but it ain’t so! Listen to this one – LOUD - on a good system,    and it will rattle your bones!

-George Willett

Suncoast Blues Society- Twelve Bar Rag Volume 18/number 5

It seems like Wendy Rich has been a mainstay on the Tampa Bay music scene forever, and you probably think you know what to expect when you listen to one of her recordings. I thought that myself, and I was wrong! Produced by Kevin McKendree (Keyboard man for both Delbert McClinton and Lee Roy Parnell over the years) he and Ms. Rich have pulled together a diverse group of tune that showcase “The Many Faces Of Wendy Rich”.

The session starts off rockin’ with “Always A Woman”, a little parable about where the power really lies. It features a rock-steady groove and a hot guitar break by producer McKendree. On the other hand, “Brand New Addiction” demonstrates Ms. Rich’s tear-in-the-voice country chops. Driver was recorded in the Nashville area and this tune feels right at home in that setting.

McKendree puts on his “Willie Mitchell hat” for several numbers mid-session, starting with “Want Me”. He contributes a hot little electric piano solo on this one…and B-3 to boot! “Repossession” is from this school too, with Quentin Ware and Dennis Taylor channeling the Memphis Horns. “Drivin’ Rain” is another goodie in this genre’…Hot Damn, this is good stuff!

“Reason To Try” has an intro reminiscent of Freddie King’s “Same Old Blues” which is like ice-cream to me. This one gives Wendy room to flex her considerable vocal muscle on a slow Blues number, and from whisper to shout she nails it!

“Tides Of Change” has a great “Mid-South Soul” arrangement, and an Irma Thomas style, smooth alto delivery. No melisma or vocal tricks, just the straight stuff. Tasty! “Leavin’ Tullahoma” feels like “Subterranean Homesick Blues”…if Janis Joplin wrote it! Cool, clever lyrics in bite-size phrases…Fun!

I’d like to apologize to Wendy because we didn’t review her record sooner due to a mix-up. I’m very glad I had the chance to review it though. I’ve seen Ms. Rich live countless times but I had no idea how versatile she was, nor the range of her vocal styles. I highly recommend Driver…and I think that the Memphis Soul-styled tunes will knock yer socks off!

Red Hot and Blues - muzique.com

Where have I been? How did I miss Wendy Rich? With a voice that shines somewhere in between Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt, Wendy can belt out the blues in superb style. If you like raw sensual vocals straight from the gut, turn an ear to this lady!

IUMA

IUMA: Wendy Rich

 

Topics Wendy Rich



Native Texan singer/songwriter Wendy Rich transplanted to Florida in 1990 where she fronts Blues Rock group Wendy & the Soulshakers. Wendy has also fronted Janis' original band Big Brother & the Holding Co.(BBHC) Real Music, Real Soul! A voice of power, a voice with emotion, a voice with soul. The voice of Wendy Rich. She has the range, depth and clarity as well as the growl and pure emotion to make people stop and pay attention! Hearing Wendy sing has even brought comparisons to legendary singers of our times such as Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin! Onstage Wendy shines. Her live performances demonstrate the exuberance of a child at play, fleeing from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other effortlessly. A free spirit in action! Singing onstage gives me the sense of true freedom Wendy states, .it's what truly moves me!. Straight out of Houston,Texas, but currently residing in Florida, Wendy is turning heads across the country with her soulful music, a potent mix of rock, blues and funky old soul. Not only recognized for her dynamic vocal and stage presence, Wendy's songwriting has been raising eyebrows as well. Since the age of 14, Wendy's focus has indeed been on her music. She has written hundreds of songs and performed all over the Eastern United States and some parts of Europe with her group Wendy & the Soulshakers. She wrote and produced an eleven song CD called Feels Like I'm Drowning. Recently, Wendy has been touring with Big Brother & the Holding Company (Janis Joplin's original band). She co-wrote several songs with BBHC guitarist Sam Andrew, who said, I've listened back to a lot of things I've written over the last ten years. What Wendy and I did really stands out. Her voice is so good, and all of her ideas so fluid. Wendy plans to do more writing and some recording with Sam later this year. Most currently, Wendy's focus is on creating a strong internet presence and getting back to a grass-roots approach to touring in the United States and Europe to bring her music and talent to the masses! With the release of a new LIVE CD -Wendy & the Soulshakers- Live At The Ringside - Wendy is running strong! What more can a girl ask for? she blurts out with a laugh , Music is my life and I love every aspect of it! Creating it, performing it, and getting to travel around the world and meet cool people!! I can't wait to get back out on the road!

Blues Hall Of Fame.com