One-time rocker Richard Schroder looks to Nashville for inspiration and comes up with Drive, a new record that straddles country pop and rock somewhere between Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks and Keith Urban.
Like the best country music, Schroder’s work is impeccably constructed and beautifully realized. “Drivin’,” the first single, brings it with a sweet hook and big singalong chorus. "Pray for You" is an acoustic tune that blossoms like a flower in the sun. “Wildest Dreams” is tight and rockin' with a soaring melody and great guitar solo. ”Backseat Love” is a sly dose of sexy nostalgia.
For Schroder, whose hard work and perseverance have him poised for success, the only thing that matters is having great songs. And he has just that—eleven of them—on Drive.
Someone pretty smart once pointed out, “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” No one knows that to be truer than Richard Schroder.
As a musician, Schroder demands a lot of himself. In fact, he’d rather do things the hard way if that means it’s the right way. One of his colleagues, songwriting coach Steve Seskin, a hit songwriter who’s written for many of Nashville’s biggest names, describes him as the real deal. “His willingness to rewrite till it’s right sets him apart from many other singer/songwriters who settle for good rather than going for greatness.”
One thing’s for sure, Schroder never settles. His aptly titled new album, Drive, two years in the making, has been written and rewritten more than a Hollywood script, with the sort of fanatical dedication only a diehard songwriter like Schroder can muster.
“Rich is an excellent writer and singer,” says his producer Brian Charles, who worked on the album at his own red-hot Zippah Recording Studios in Boston. “But it’s his ‘don’t quit till it’s as good as it can be’ attitude that really shines through the whole project.”
Schroder has always had the tools. He’s written, rehearsed, toured and played plenty, with a stockpile of legit songs and a great band to play them with. Then… he started having second thoughts.
After stepping back and taking an honest look at where he was going, he realized he’d become a rock and roll stereotype: “Earnest, hardworking musician has a blast, spins his wheels.” Despite giving a persistent effort, his career never got the traction he sought. “Nothing was happening,” he recalls. “When I realized that, I stopped having fun.” Schroder packed up his guitar and walked away.
In retrospect, he has a pretty good idea what happened. “I was just too young,” he says. “Early on, I didn’t know what I was talking about. I didn’t have much insight. I believe I had the right idea, but I wasn’t writing good lyrics and my approach to songwriting was all wrong.”
He took some time to absorb the change. A growing family, a rewarding business and a book publishing deal led him down a very different, rewarding path. But even then, the flame of making it in music never died. “That goal never faded,” he says. “I knew I wasn’t done.”
Energized by hope and driven by his dream, Schroder rededicated himself to improving his skills and reinvigorating his repertoire. To help him achieve that, he turned to where else? the epi-center of song, Nashville, Tennessee.
With a bunch of demos and a renewed focus, Schroder joined the Nashville Songwriter’s Association and enlisted expert tutelage from some of Music City’s best tradesmen. They coached him, tweaked his songs and set him on the path to making great music. Schroder’s songs benefited enormously from the expertise and enhanced his grasp on songwriting.
Following the old adage, “nothing worth doing is ever easy,” Schroder rewrote and revised, edited and revised, rerecorded and revised. Producer Brian Charles notes, “Making great records requires hard work, and Rich is one of the most committed and inspired people I've ever worked with. His enthusiasm and his quest to make great music is infectious.”
What started out as rough tracks began morphing into gems, with bristling verses, spot on bridges and gleaming choruses. Schroder’s new MO became about putting the time in, doing the work, attending to details, crafting his songs into miniature masterpieces. Each of his eleven tracks became a workshop, where themes, lyrics, hooks and melodies were altered and refined. “I went to school,” says Schroder, about his time in a Nashville state of mind. “I learned something new every time they opened their mouths. With songwriters like that, it’s not about ego. It’s about how you take a song and make it the very best it can be.”
Drive, with its many meanings and connotations, is the result.
A cross between country pop and rock, Drive straddles genres. Nods go to Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley as well as current country stars like Blake Shelton and Keith Urban. The record’s single, “Drivin’,” kicks off with a sweet hook and singalong chorus. "Pray for You" starts out a pretty acoustic tune then opens up like a flower in the summer sun, with simmering organ, gospel singing and sassy horns. “Wildest Dreams” is a tight rocker with a soaring melody and a great guitar solo. “Backseat Love” is a sexy dose of nostalgia.
Elsewhere, “Nashville Girl,” is endearing and sweet, and highlights Schroder's sublime lyrical simplicity: ”One song and I was hooked/She sang as pretty as she looked.” “Someone Else” features a poignant lyric about a lost love, adorned by a melancholy cello. Each of Drive’s songs is worth talking about. It’s an expertly crafted, accessible work that is immediate even as it reveals enchanting layers with repeated listens.
It also helps that the record stars the best musicians Schroder could get his hands on, including guitarist Duke Levine (Peter Wolf, Aimee Mann, Roseanne Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter), keyboard player Jamie Edwards (Sara Bareilles, Michael Bublé, Lori McKenna), bassist Annie Hoffman (the Field Effect) and drummer Steve Chaggaris (Amy Fairchild, Ken Clark Organ Trio). There were also a number of additional musicians and back-up singers to round out the recording. “Everybody on this album is a better musician than me,” Schroder laughs. “I had to work way harder than everybody I was with. They have natural talent and they still work their asses off.”
The finished tracks traveled to Portland, Maine, where Bob Ludwig put on the finishing touches. If anyone knows how to derive top quality sound from a recording, it’s the Grammy-laden sound engineer, who has worked with Springsteen, McCartney, Hendrix and Zeppelin, along with names of a younger generation: Beyonce, Beck and Carrie Underwood.
“The reward has been in the journey,” Schroder says, finally content to take a step back and appreciate this accomplishment after an incredible period of reconstruction and rebirth. Schroder wanted to write great songs and he now hopes that these new creations will simply take on a life of their own, not to mention get to work on a follow-up. “If you don’t have great songs in this business,” he says, “Nothing else matters.”
November 4th, 1:00, Food Truck Festival, Cranford, NJ (opening for alden Street)
October 29th, 1:00, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ (opening for alden Street)
October 28th, 7:00, Crossroads, Garwood, NJ (opening for alden Street)
September 25th, 8:00, Loretta's last call, Boston, MA
September 19th, 9:00, Main Street Cafe, Concord, MA
August 7th, 7:30, Loretta's last call, Boston, MA
July 21st, 6:00, The Country, Nashville, TN
July 20th, 10:30, The Commodore Lounge, Nashville, TN
July 9th, 8:15, The Madbatter, Cape May, Nj
Find radio stations near you playing "Drivin'"
Click the map points for radio station links to request "Drivin'" on Facebook and Twitter!
The following Country Radio Stations are playing the single Drivin'!
|KINO||KINO Radio 1230||Winslow||Arizona|
|KDOL||The Wolf Radio 105.5||Livingston||Texas|
|KAGH||Crossett Radio 104.9||Crossett||Arkansas|
|WBCU-FM||WBCU 103.5||Union||South Carolina|
|WBCU-AM||WBCU 1460||Union||South Carolina|
|WKSK||The Farm 93.5||West Jefferson||North Carolina|
|KLMI||The Cat 100.9||Hampton||Iowa|
|WTYS||Real Country 1340||Marianna||Florida|
|KQKX||106 Kix Country||Norfolk||Nebraska|
|WEAG-FM||Eagle Country! 106.3||Starke||Florida|
|WEAG-AM||Eagle Country! 1490||Starke||Florida|
|WPPL||Mountain Country 103.9||Blueridge||Georgia|
|Renegade Radio||RRN Internet Radio||Berry Hill||Tennessee|
|WACB||WACB 860||Taylorsville||North Carolina|
|WRCO||WRCO 107.7||Richland Center||Wisconsin|
|CHAW||Great Lakes Country 103||Little Current||Ontario|
|KWHW-FM||Real Country 93.5||Altus||Oklahoma|
|KWHW-AM||Real Country 1450||Altus||Oklahoma|
|KYYZ||Dakota Country 96.1||Williston||North Dakota|
|KEYZ||KEYZ Radio 660||Williston||North Dakota|
|WGGC||Goober 95.1||Bowling Green||Kentucky|
|WORM||101 The Worm||Savannah||Georgia|
The following College Radio Stations are playing the Drive Album!
|WERU||Acadia Community Radio||East Orland||Maine|
|KRZA||Alamosa Community Radio||Alamosa||Colorado|
|KBSU||Boise State Public Radio||Boise||Idaho|
|WBNY||Buffalo State College||Buffalo||New York|
|WDWN||Cayuga Community College||Auburn||New York|
|WSBF||Clemson University||Clemson||South Carolina|
|KCSU||Colorado State University||Fort Collins||Colorado|
|WSIA||CUNY Staten Island||Staten Island||New York|
|KEOL||Eastern Oregon University||La Grande||Oregon|
|WSOE||Elon College||Elon College||North Carolina|
|KAOS||Evergreen State College||Olympia||Washington|
|KDHX||Folk School||St. Louis||Missouri|
|WGMU||George Mason University||Fairfax||Virginia|
|KEUL||Glacier City Radio||Girdwood||Arkansas|
|KAFM||Grand Valley Community Radio||Grand Junction||Colorado|
|WHCL||Hamilton College||Clinton||New York|
|WHFR||Henry Ford Community College||Dearborn||Michigan|
|WRHU||Hofstra University||Hemstead||New York|
|WCHC||Holy Cross College||Worcester||Massachusetts|
|KBBI||Homer Community Radio||Homer||Alaska|
|WHWS||Hubart/William Smith College||Geneva||New York|
|KKCR||Kauai Community Radio||Hanalei||Hawaii|
|KTCV||Kennewick High School||Kennewick||Washington|
|WMXM||Lake Forest College||Lake Forest||Illinois|
|KLCZ||Lewis-Clark State College||Lewiston||Idaho|
|WMUL||Marshall University||Huntington||West Virginia|
|CHMR||Memorial University of Newfoundland||St. Johns||Newfoundland|
|MET||Met. State University of Denver||Denver||Colorado|
|KZMU||Moab Community Radio||Moab||Utah|
|KGLT||Montana State University||Bozeman||Montana|
|KMSC||Moorhead State University||Moorhead||Minnesota|
|WMCO||Muskingum University||New Concord||Ohio|
|WNIA||Nash Community College||Rocky Mount||North Carolina|
|KNSU||Nicholls State University||Thibodaux||Louisiana|
|KNDS||North Dakota State University||Fargo||North Dakota|
|WNSU||Nova Southeastern University||Fort Lauderdale||Florida|
|WPUR||Pacific University||Forest Grove||Oregon|
|KKSM||Palomar College||San Marcos||California|
|Radio Phoenix||Phoenix Center for the Arts||Phoenix||Arizona|
|WVIA||Pittston Public Radio||Pittston||Pennsylvania|
|KRFP||Radio Free Moscow||Moscow||Idaho|
|KMUD||Redway Community Radio||Redway||California|
|WXIN||Rhode Island College||Providence||Rhode Island|
|WLFR||Richard Stockton College of NJ||Galloway||New Jersey|
|WRRC||Rider University||Lawrenceville||New Jersey|
|WGLS||Rowan University||Glassboro||New Jersey|
|WXAV||Saint Xavier College||Chicago||Illinois|
|KSYM||San Antonio College td>||San Antonio||Texas|
|KSJS||San Jose State University||San Jose||California|
|SCAD||Savannah College of Art & Design||Atlanta||Georgia|
|KSLU||SE Louisiana University||Hammond||Louisiana|
|WSIN||Southern CT State||New Haven||Connecticut|
|WTCC||Springfield Technical Community College||Springfield||Massachusetts|
|WCVF||SUNY Fredonia||Fredonia||New York|
|WNYO||SUNY Oswego||Oswego||New York|
|KCR||University of California San Diego||San Diego||California|
|UMSL||University of Missouri||St. Louis||Missouri|
|WIPZ||University of Wisconsin - Parkside||Kenosha||Wisconsin|
|WSUP||University of Wisconsin - Platteville||Platteville||Wisconsin|
|KUWS||University of Wisconsin - Superior||Superior||Wisconsin|
|BearCast Radio||University of Cincinnati||Cincinnati||Ohio|
|xWUDR||University of Dayton||Dayton||Ohio|
|KWUH||University of Hartford||West Hartford||Connecticut|
|KTUH||University of Hawaii||Honolulu||Hawaii|
|KUOI||University of Idaho||Moscow||Idaho|
|KXUL||University of Louisiana at Monroe||Monroe||xLouisiana|
|WMUC||University of Maryland||College Park||Maryland|
|AM1700||University of Michigan||Ypsilanti||Michigan|
|KMNR||University of Missouri||Rolla||Missouri|
|KUNV||University of Nevada||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|WPTS||University of Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||Pennsylvania|
|WDCE||University of Richmond||Richmond||Virginia|
|WMPG||University of Southern Maine||Portland||Maine|
|WUTK||University of Tennessee||Knoxville||Tennessee|
|CJAM||University of Windsor||Grosse Pointe||Michigan|
|WRST||University of Wisconsin||Oshkosh||Wisconsin|
|WVCW||Viginia Commonwealth University||Richmond||Virginia|
|WAYN||Wayne State University||Detroit||Michigan|
|WARY||Westchester Community College||Valhalla||New York|
|WIDR||Western Michigan University||Kalamazoo||Michigan|
|KWCW||Whitman College||Walla Walla||Washington|
|KQAL||Winona State University||Winona||Minnesota|
|KOJB||Wisconsin Public Broadcasting||Hayward||Wisconsin|
|WWSU||Wright State University||Dayton||Ohio|
magazine Interviews / other
Vents Magazine - Read Full Review
FULL ALBUM REVIEWS
"Drive is a masterpiece!"
Warlock Asylum - Read Full Review
"A meticulously crafted set of songs that have quintessential country elements with Schroder’s own unique spin on them."
"Richard Schroder is a country music storm cloud ready to break!"
TunedLoud - Read Full Review
"There are moments of songwriting virtuosity which, without a doubt, will help to boost this album to its rightful heights."
Buden Bay - Read Full Review
“Richard is a perfectionist country singer, which comes through strongly in each of his pieces. His great lyrics and sound urges us to continue listening and won’t let us stop.”
Music Industry News Network - Read Full Review
“On “Drive” Richard Schroder touches upon the true spirit of rock and roll with a great glorious rush of energy..”
Beach Sloth - Read Full Review
“This is a slice of country-pop in all the best traditions of modern radio-friendly tunes.”
(Ireland) Lonesome Highway - Read Full Review
“Drive features a collection of exciting songs with a timeless feel and unique take on genres as diverse as rock, country, and pop.”
The Band Camp Diaries - Read Full Review
“A mainstream pop rocker, that still has some country music built into it. It's energetic and catchy!”
Music Street Journal - Read Full Review
“A supremely polished country pop crossover album that bears repeated listening.”
"Drivin'" SINGLE REVIEWS
“An embracive track, that captures the mind, heart, and soul.”
Nataliez World - Read Full Review
“The lyrics of this country music by Richard Schroder are second to none.”
Skope Magazine - Read Full Review
“Schroder is a talented musician with a passion for great melodies and vibrant arrangements.”
The Bandcamp Diaries - Read Full Review
“Richard Schroder balances tenderness and determination on the fantastic “Drivin'”, a song that lingers in the mind with perfectly catchy infectious hooks.”
Beach Sloth - Read Full Review
“The country music world’s diamond in the rough."
Warlock Asylum - Read Full Review
“Great country sound, with a fullness that doesn’t skip a beat.”
Music Industry News Network - Read Full Review
“A contagious, memorable hook carries itself over a delicious sound bed of awesome guitar tones and radio-ready pop appeal.”
Middle Tennessee Music - Read Full Review
“Richard Schroder’s voice has a genuine, heartfelt tone – it’s an accessible sound, not claiming to be on some other plain to the listener, but rather, expressing as if this is precisely the kind of person they can relate to.”
Stereo Stickman - Read Full Review
“It feels like a classic right from the first play through its simple but effective hooks, addictive chorus, clean but impressive guitar lines, rock driven urgency and groove some country vibe.”
Dancing About Architecture - Read Full Review
“As a listener, you can’t help but feel the authenticity in Richard’s words.”
Ratings Game Music - Read Full Review
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