The latest album by Fredericton blues musician Richie Young pairs songs new and old with DIY sensibilities and admirable determination.
Fredericton blues musician Richie Young is a true original. On his latest album, No Peeping, Young combines foundational blues riffs and ideas – the kind of progressions and grooves that have appeared on blues albums for decades – with his own off-kilter approach to song structure, continuing his one of a kind trajectory as one of Fredericton’s most prolific musicians.
No Peeping takes a few songs to find its form. The album opens with a pair of contrasting rhythms that never really settle in together. The riff, reminiscent of George Thorogood’s One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer, is a classic. The kind of riff you hear and say to yourself, “Ah yes, the blues.” But as an opening track, Up and Down I Go suffers from the unfortunate pairing of an off-beat melody line and a down-beat rhythm and may have worked elsewhere in the album’s sequence. As an opener, it’s a challenge.
From there, things begin to move with more confidence. Young presents a lot of variety in tempo and delivery with standout songs like Sun-Dried and Barefoot, Ahroo Yeah, and Daytime Rambler being among the album’s strongest.
No Peeping was released through Bandcamp on Oct.13. The album includes 13 tracks that highlight Young’s strength as a writer and performer as well as the occasional challenges that many musicians face when recording and releasing music on their own. There are occasional sync issues between instruments which give the album an inconsistent, unsettled feel at times. No Peeping’s successes do however outweigh its shortcomings. Young’s love for classic guitar riffs and his superb skills as a harmonic player shine bright on this release.
I said it once and I’ll say it again – Young is one of Fredericton’s most prolific musicians. We are lucky to have him. Whether he is puttering in his home studio or tinkering with a new live set, his perceived need to create and perform have earned him a unique place within the city’s music scene. During the darkest days of Covid, Young stayed busy releasing a slew of singles and music videos. His playful, humorous use of green screen imaging helped lighten the load many of us were experiencing at the time. His videos were fun, clever, and the perfect highlight to his DIY music making. Young’s latest album keeps pace with his established routine of writing and releasing music at an astounding rate. That’s just what he does.
The biggest question which faces all of Young’s releases is, how long will this album be around? Young has released several albums and singles both under his own name as well as through his past projects East Coast Yetis and Crossroad Devils. But not everything he puts out into the world stays out in the world. Young’s releases have a tendency to be fleeting acts of engagement. His debut album Attack of the Blues along with the debut from Crossroad Devils (a band Young fronted that included members of Montgomery Street Band) have both disappeared from Bandcamp and other streaming services while his 2020 album Off The Floor appears to exist on both Spotify and Apple Music exclusively. So depending on where you go to stream music, you may have a very different interpretation of Young, his music, and just how productive he is. All this to say, give No Peeping a listen. It may not be around long. Better yet, purchase a copy as a thank you for all the DIY videos and related fun he shared with us when we needed them the most.
Richie Young = true original.