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Music Review: Richard X Heyman – Tiers/And Other Stories

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Richard X Heyman is one of the unsung and under-appreciated heroes of power pop in the United States. During the past 23 years he has released seven solo albums and two EP’s of some of the finest power-pop music you will find on the market today. He is an ultimate studio warrior as he plays almost all the instruments himself plus writes his own material.

Heyman began his career as the drummer for the New Jersey based Doughboys. They were a garage/punk band who was popular in the Mid-Atlantic States, 1966-1968. They took their name from the World War I uniforms they wore while performing on stage. They reformed in the year 2000 and continue to perform down to the present day, having also released two albums of new material.

After the demise of The Doughboys in 1968, Heyman found himself an in-demand drummer. He backed a number of major artists down through the years, including Brian Wilson, Link Wray, and Jonathan Richman among others.

He is now about to release the most ambitious album of his career or, to be more correct, two albums. He found himself with enough material for two distinct works. Instead of releasing them one after the other, he decided to release both together as a double album. Tiers/And Other Stories are two very different releases even though they inhabit the same package.

Tiers is a concept album that tells the story of his early relationship with Nancy Leigh, who ultimately became his wife of 23 years and counting. The lyrics and stories build upon one another as they coalesce in an autobiographical tale of the trials, tribulations and, ultimately, the triumphs of courtship.

And Other Stories picks up their story 23 years later. Nancy is now his wife, sometime bassist, and recording partner. The tracks are more individualistic as they look at mortality, love, loss, and other topics that are a part of his life at the present time.

His musical style has evolved a bit. The jangly guitars are still there, but there are more electronics present, plus some country, rhythm and blues, and even some symphonic textures make an appearance.

Richard X Heyman’s new album includes a total of 30 songs, clocking in at about 130 minutes. They are personal songs from his life’s journey, which have his usual hooks, melodies, and sophisticated lyrics. Hopefully more people will share his latest journey.

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