In 2006 Ward Richmond gave up touring and entered the world of business and E-commerce. Success followed, ensuring he was busy with financial and real estate projects around the world. Still making time for music, he also managed occasional releases with bands such as The Warden and Party Police. Now a father who's developed a passion for yoga and self-help, he's back in his musical groove with 'Highly Meditated'.
If there’s one thing that’s clear from the very first listen, it’s Richmond’s exciting ability to blend musical genres right across the album. The distorted guitars of ‘Birds, Trees, Etc.’ and ‘Smile’ evoke the sound of and style of indie rock bands Weezer and Cake. Whereas, the melodic roots-based sound of ‘Hey Levi’, ‘Live Oak’, and ‘Tina Louise’ hark back to the era of The Band and The Allman Brothers Band, showing that despite his love of indie rock, he’s also at ease within the Americana genre.
On one of the early highlights, ‘Everything’, Richmond quickly sets the tone of the album as one that takes a self-deprecating look at his own life. In this case, clearly bored with the rock’n’roll lifestyle, he’s cleaned up his life and doesn’t care what others think. And, he’s not afraid to drop the occasional F-bomb to make his point.
Similarly, ‘High Road’ continues his journey to sobriety but acknowledges the hardship behind the choice while ‘In Europe’ is a very tongue in cheek flashback to Richmond’s touring days with bands Slick 57 and Boys Named Sue, and their resulting escapades on the road.
‘Highly Meditated’ is a vibrant record that takes an irreverent look at life through droll lyrics and great guitar-based music. It’s not unfair to say that while 2020 finds Richmond in a reflective mood, sober, and on the other side of forty, he’s not wallowing in self-pity. He’s making some of the best music of his career.