Hourglass by Richard Tyler Epperson
Release Date: April 8th
By Kevin Tshiamala
After his staggering successful debut, Falling Between the Stars, Richard Tyler Epperson, RTE as we’ll refer to him, has put in the hours and is set to release his new album Hourglass on April 8th. With About 8 seconds in the industry he’s already quickly been praised and compared to the likes of Jason Mraz, Kurt Vile, and John Mayer – not the John Mayer Trio John, but the playing the bro card, sappy love songs, “Your Body is a Wonderland” John. RTE’s new album explores the concept of time in relation to life. As he states, “I started to realize a lot of them [songs] had lines or hidden messages about how fast time goes by and about trying to find happiness in the short time we have. Those thoughts inspired the song Hourglass and the name seemed to be fitting for me at this point in my life.” It is a message that has been revisited over and over, but one that is ever so popular in his and my Generation Y.
Hourglass begins with “I Know,” a dreamy track in which RTE’s musicianship and praise prove to be true rather than the suspected overhype. His voice is deep, powerful but carries with a consistent tone. “Like Always,” the lead single, starts off with a few measures of a cello melody accompanied by an acoustic rhythm. The song is then infused with electronic sounds, a piano, good vocals and introspective lyrics as he cries, “Like a man ridden with his shame/I feel I will never ever be the same/ Like always, I’ll always be insane.” Throughout the album he tends to mix his acoustic melodies with electronic accompaniments. His efforts to have the electronic elements aid, support and better his songs, but at times makes them worse by repressing and over shadowing the melody or harmonies.
When listening to songs like “The Life (Fall on Me),” which carries a similar theme to the infamous “Lean on Me.” You wish he’d stuck more with this simplistic approach throughout giving a nod to his predecessors like Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz. But where the progressive attempts of acoustic electronic fusion shine bright is evidenced throughout the song “Rain.” Where it fails miserably is in the song “Lights.” Nonetheless a tip of the hat for his instrumentation and magnificent musicianship – if you didn’t know, he played the acoustic guitar, bass, piano, keyboard, strings, and electric guitar on every song getting aid for the drums from Phil Robertson. Even if you are not entertained, you should be honestly impressed.
Hourglass continues in same fashion as Room for Squares or Heavier Things. If you are nostalgic and craving the sounds of sensitive male pop artists with an acoustic guitar and Californian rough look, then RTE is your guy. About ten years ago, “You
had Mayer, with his first two albums. You had Jason Mraz, with his hilariously titled debut, Waiting For My Rocket To Come. You You had Jack Johnson, still slinging the same kind of surfer folk pop that he is now. You had the guys shooting to fill the boy band void, like Ryan Cabrera and Teddy Geiger. Epperson is some sort of mix of all of the above, a fact that might have given him reasonable mainstream potential a decade ago, but which drops him thoroughly in the underground scene today” (AbsolutePunk.net). Although RTE stands to fight an uphill battle, he may just have the bit of luck necessary to breakthrough into the spotlight. Regardless his album is a solid piece of work, maybe not cohesively, but almost every song is able to stand out on its own.
Richard Tyler Epperson’s Hourglass is set to release April 8th.
For more information please visit RTE’s official website: www.RichardTylerEpperson.com
For social media please visit: www.facebook.com/RTEmusic