Richy Rhyne was tuning a piano when he had an epiphany about his original songs. “I realized that no one else is gonna sing ‘em, so I might as well go out and do it myself.” The Kansas transplant has done just that, with the December release of his CD of 12 original songs titled On My Own. That title describes right where he is at in his music career, after a twisting journey that brought him to the Hill Country. Rhyne grew up in Eldorado, Kansas - not exactly a hotbed of music. But his mother played piano, and his father and brother played guitar. “I didn’t play anything, but I wrote a lot of poetry,” he recalled. He would hand off his poems to a guitar playing friend, who started putting them to music. “I thought, man, I can do that, so I started doing music.” He learned piano and guitar - on his own. Music took him on a stint to San Francisco, where his band played the club scene for two years. He played three to four nights a week, and tuned pianos during the day. That, he soon realized, was not a sustainable lifestyle. “With cymbals crashing in my ears at night, then tuning a piano the next morning, it was impossible,” he said. Never into the bar scene anyway, it was about that time that Rhyne realized he enjoyed writing most of all. It’s an appreciation he shares with residents of the Hill Country. “This is just a great environment for music,” he said, “sitting out under a tree, or at a restaurant listening to different kinds of performers with their own different twist on life. It is life stories, all natural, and it all comes from the person singing it for the most part.” More and more that person performing is Richy Rhyne. His poetry background drives his songwriting, which he tosses into the “Americana” category. He considers it “introspective, hopefully thoughtful, writing.” “Usually I have an idea for a song, a topic that comes first,” he explained. “The music always is done pretty quickly. But the words take longer.” When he gets stuck, Rhyne likes to go for a brisk walk. Alone. “I breathe the fresh air, get away from the sounds of the house, and start hearing and singing melodies to myself.” Rhyne’s solo approach is reflected on his CD. It is just him, his guitar, and his voice, recorded live in one take in a studio. “I wanted a good, clean recording to give to people and say, this is what I sound like.” Rhyne has been told that his rich voice is his strongest asset, but it is the writing that comes most naturally and drives his musical passion. While he enjoys performing at Luckenbach and local clubs, would be content with sitting on his own and writing. “I could write every day,” he noted. “If I stayed local and my songs took on a life of their own, I’d be thrilled. I could stay here and just continue doing what I do.” What exactly do you do? He laughed. “A lot of people ask me that. I don’t know, but I sure am busy as heck.” And always on his own. - By Phil Houseal
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