Contact: Rick Lang
Publicity: Shari Lacy, GoodStuff PR
Rick Lang Biography
A native of New Hampshire, award-winning songwriter Rick Lang has become well known in the Bluegrass community and beyond. His songs have been covered by some of the most renowned artists in Bluegrass
music, Southern Gospel and even the Jazz world. Over 70 song cuts to his credit, the number keeps growing each year. Although most of his songs are self-composed, Rick has collaborated with several other notable writers in the Bluegrass and Gospel music
field in recent years leading to additional album cuts, some featured on his newest recorded works.
Rick has released six studio albums of his own to date. Each have featured all original Rick Lang compositions.
Rick's first Christmas release "The Season Of My Heart" (2003), was voted one of the top twenty five albums of the year by the National Folk
"Look To The Light", an all Gospel CD released in 2010 on Rural Rhythm Christian (RRC) was nominated for a GMA (Gospel Music Association) Dove Award as well as an IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Gospel Recorded Event Of The Year.
In 2012 Rick recorded and released the Christmas single "Little Did They Know" on the Rural Rhythm Records Label....featuring Jana
Mougin on vocals.
Rick's 2nd Christmas/Seasonal album, "That's What I Love About Christmas" was released on Oct 7, 2014 on his RLM Music label. Unlike his previous Holiday recording, this one has a heavy jazz influence, some of the songs having the feel of some of the classic
Christmas songs of the '30s and '40s. The title cut, written by Rick and Stephen Mougin, was awarded 2015 Holiday Song Of The Year by the IMEA (International Music & Entertainment Association)at their annual awards show at the Marietta Performing Arts Center,
Marietta GA Saturday Oct 24, 2015.
In March 2018, Rick’s new concept album “The Undertow” was launched. Living near the NH
coastline all his life, it is not surprising that several of Rick's original songs have ocean themes & settings. He picked a dozen of them to record
on this most unique concept album. The story lines in the songs are all based on, or inspired by, real life stories, personal experiences, and places Rick has frequented since childhood. The fabric of the ocean interweaves seamlessly throughout the verses and choruses from beginning to end. Performing with
Rick on "The Undertow" are several of the area musicians he has performed with, recorded with, and written with over the course of the last thirty years. The music on these tracks is essentially acoustic with elements Bluegrass, Folk, Roots and
Americana. Rick offers "There was no consideration to a specific genre. We just attempted to create an appropriate musical setting for each song....based on the story line...shooting for an overall "ocean feel". The end result is a masterfully produced,
heart- warming one-of-a-kind music release guaranteed to captivate the listener.
In addition to a busy songwriting schedule, Rick does some freelance writing for Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine, conducts songwriting workshops in the New England area, and still actively performs on occasion. Rick is an alumni of the IBMA Leadership Bluegrass program (class of 2012), currently chairs the IBMA Songwriter committee and is a mentor in the IBMA Songwriter Mentor Program.
Rick and his wife Wendy have two daughters, three granddaughters, and
currently reside in Kingston New Hampshire
The Undertow Liner Notes
Songwriting has been one of my life's greatest passions over the course of the last thirty years. I tend to write about what I know and am familiar with. It's not surprising that several of my songs have something to do with the sea.
I grew up in Exeter NH, just twenty miles or so from the ocean. As children, my sister, brothers and I spent many a summer day on the Hampton and Rye Beaches swimming, building sand castles, flying kites, looking for seashells and starfish.
My ancestry can be traced back to Christopher Cristian Lang born in 1548, Dunfermline,Fife, Scotland. His son Robert sailed to America, landing at the Isles Of Shoals where he lived before he settled at Sagamore Creek on the NH coast. Dad was a Navy man and spent long periods of time at sea, as did my younger brother George. Our mom, especially in her later years, frequented the ocean as a place of solace and refuge. After she passed away, mom's ashes were spread at sea per request.
Several years ago I came to the realization that my song catalog contained several tunes where the settings and story lines had some connection to the ocean. All were based on, or inspired by, real life stories, personal experiences, and places I frequented since my childhood. I thought they could make for a very interesting concept album, so in 2011 started to make plans to record a dozen of them.
I turned to my longtime friend Bob Dick to produce the recording, which features many of the area musicians I have performed, recorded and written with over time.
I sincerely hope you enjoy listening to this new recorded work, and if you’re ever in the area feel free to stop to visit some of the places mentioned in these songs. The destination will be worth the journey.
The Undertow Sound-bites
CD Cover Image
The amazing CD cover image for The Undertow recording was taken by photographer Andy Cook, Rocky Mountain Reflections Colorado Springs CO. Andy travels all over the country, capturing some of our lands breathtaking natural beauty. This image is of The Nubble Lighthouse in York Maine, taken at sunrise. Ironically this is a scene mentioned in one of my songs on the album.
Album Planning and The Recording Process
The Undertow producer and engineer Bob Dick and I started planning to record this collection of songs back in 2011. All of the tracking was done at Bob's Appleland Studio in Northbridge MA. That's where Bob produced my first Christmas release "The Season Of My Heart"
It's taken six years in all from start to finish to complete The Undertow album. The reasons for that are many, including the fact that we all have day jobs, Bob had other recording projects in the works that needed to be completed, and also was in the process of updating the recording equipment in his studio. There are actually 18 of us performing on The Undertow, and as we all live in different parts of New England, it took time to get everyone's tracks recorded based on logistics and the performers schedules.
We wisely decided not to rush, but rather wait until everything was in place. The extra time came in handy as it allowed us the luxury of coming up with fresh arrangement ideas, re-defining the instrumentation and vocal parts. I also took advantage of the opportunity to re-work and fine tune some of the songs. In one case "The Rising Tide", the version we recorded was a total re-write, bearing no semblance to the original version. This one is much better!
The Undertow - A Concept Album
I know I'm surely not the first New England Songwriter to record a concept album. Actually the thought never crossed my mind. That being said I unknowingly started building this collection of ocean theme songs nearly 25 years ago. It started by writing the song "The Undertow" which I had planned to pitch, hoping to get recorded someday. Next came "Massachusetts Turnpike", written about the son of a fisherman, the setting taking place in the historic fishing village of Gloucester MA. After that I would just add one here and there over a period of time. I drew ideas for the songs from all the places I frequented in my years along the Maine, NH, and Mass coastline. Also drew from life's experience: either my own, family, friends, or others. Then one day, looking over my fast growing song catalog, I realized I had created an interesting collection of tunes that had some connection to the sea. That was back in 2006. It became clear to me that I needed to do something with them, so started planning record a dozen or so of these songs as a concept album. My hope was that the story lines would resonate with others as well as myself, especially folks who were familiar with the New England seacoast.
Places In The Songs
The Nubble Lighthouse is located on the York, Maine coast. It has become a popular tourist attraction over time, as the setting and surroundings are breathtaking. The lighthouse was actually built in 1879. It was called Nubble because it was built in a tiny nub of land surrounded by water. The keepers house is two stories, and there is a covered walkway connecting the keepers house to the tower. In its early years the lighthouse once had a fog bell housed in the bell tower.
I included this particular lighthouse in one of the songs as Nubble was one of the most prominent lighthouses in our area. For well over a century it's light would guide ships at sea safely to port, through storms at sea, fog, and the dark of night.
Just had to include this song on the album. Located in Ogunquit Maine, the Marginal Way is a footpath beginning in a corner of Oarweed Cove meandering along the coastline for about a mile to Perkins Cove.
The land the path is on was donated to the town in 1925 by Josiah Chase. For nearly a century people would come from all over New England, and beyond, to take in the panoramic views of the ocean along the steep rock cliffs, stopping along the way to rest and relax in one of the many benches along the route. My wife and I have a long standing tradition of waking the Marginal Way every year around the time of our anniversary.
I have been visiting this beautiful part of the NH coastline since childhood. Though not very big in size, Rye Harbour captures the essence of that classic New England ocean setting so very pleasing to the eye. The Harbour sweeps in from the sea, winding its way almost to the coastal roadway. At high tide the Harbour is filled with boats of all shapes and sizes, ready to set sail. There is a jetty adjacent to the Harbour that extends almost three hundred feet out into the ocean. When you make your way out there on the large boulders, you feel the wind in your hair, hear the waves crashing on the Rocky shore, and can smell the cool salty air. There is nothing like it!
Isles Of Shoals
The Isles Of Shoals consist of nine tiny Islands about six miles off the Maine & NH Coastline, Star Island bring the largest. On a clear day you can see several of them from the mainland. Early explorers noted that it's natural harbor and the deep waters that surround it made the Isles an ideal location for fishing. The Isles Of Shoals were permanently colonized in the early 1600s, primarily by fishermen.
Over time, the demise of the fishing industry came, followed by the advent of tourism in the region. Businessman Thomas B Leighton acquires several of the Islands, and built a tourist hotel on Star Island he called Appledore House. The Isles Of Shoals became a favorite summer resort for many of the most revered authors, artists, and musicians of the time.
I've visited the Isles on occasion during the summer months since I was in my 20s. It's very peaceful and relaxing out there, an ideal place to do some creative writing.
With the exception of The Undertow CD cover image, my daughter Heather took all the ocean photos. We set up two photo shoots in the fall of 2017, attempting to capture several of the scenes and images that weave in and out of the songs on The Undertow album. A few were used on the CD jacket behind the text, and several in the photo collage that appears under the CD Disc.
There you will see images of :
The Nubble Lighthouse
Ship painting that belonged to my grandparents George and Mary Lang
A book "Gifts From The Sea" that my mom handed down to me
Marginal Way sign where the footpath starts
Waves crashing on the Rocky NH coastline
Photo of "Keep The Light Burning Abbie".....the children's book Ted DeMille and I based our song on for the album.
Partial lyrics to the song "Keep The Light Burning Abby.
Rye Harbour sign at the entrance to the Seaside State Park
Boats anchored in Rye Harbour at high tide
Photo of a fisherman that appeared on placemats at Hudons Restaraunt at Hampton Beach NH (owned and operated by our Aunt Girtrude and Uncle Paul Hudon)
Isles Of Shoals Information Sign.
A photo of our footprints in the sand.
The Undertow Performers
The cast of performers in The Undertow includes 17 area musicians and vocalists that I have performed with, recorded with, or written with over the course of the last 30 years. It was important to me personally to record at least one project with all my long time area music buddies. All are from the New England region and have a familiarity with the ocean. That was essential, as everyone had a good understanding of where we wanted to take the songs. The album needed to have an overall ocean feel and sound authentic. Here is a little background info on each: