Songwriter takes big step with release of debut EP


By GUY D’ASTOLFO

dastolfo@vindy.com

For Ralph Rich, inspiration often comes on the ride home.

“Several of my songs have come on long, night drives home, maybe after leaving a gig, bar or wherever,” said Rich. “It’s tough to retain that spark of musical inspiration, so when I get home, I immediately pick up my acoustic guitar and recite the words or hum the tune over chords that I’ve been messing around with.”

The Youngstown rocker — he’s a member of alt-rock-reggae band Super Cheef — steps comfortably into his singer-songwriter shoes on his solo debut. The self-titled disc, released this month, deals mainly with relationships and life situations.

“A lot of my material comes from past relationships,” he said. “Sometimes I don’t even want to write about that kind of stuff, but it just comes out. I can’t fight it; it just comes naturally. Most relationships ended not so well, but they left me with good material.”

Rich views the release as “a monumental step” for his music career. “It finally puts Ralph Rich on the music map,” he said.

The six-song collection was recorded in January and February at Don’t Touch That Studio, which is owned by Youngstown-based progressive-rock band Asleep. It was engineered by former Asleep member Larry Serb.

Rich will have a CD release party Friday at the Lemon Grove. Also on the bill are Todd Kaden of Asleep, John Pappas of the Royal Remedy and Demos Papadimas.

Though life and love shape his lyrics, Rich takes his musical inspiration from the Beatles. His appreciation of the Fab Four began as a tot who enjoyed his family’s record collection. “I’ve known [The Beatles] since I was in diapers,” he said jokingly.

“Like many other artists out there, I’ve always turned to The Beatles and the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney as a model for writing songs. You can definitely hear their influence in my songs, especially ‘For You.’”

Rich, a Hubbard resident and a 2006 Ursuline High grad, is working toward an English literature degree at Youngstown State University.

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