Rich Schroder plays the same style of singer-songwriter rock that can be heard in many a coffee shop on any day of the week. There is more than a fair share of white boy soul, in the same style of a Mellencamp or a Billy Joel. However, this style is updated by the inclusion of styles common to artists like John Maher, so a wider swath of listeners can find something that they like on “Your Kind Words”. “Never Happen Again” has more of the same style, even if the vocals move beyond being key and seem to waiver in a very human way. This allows listeners to realize that Schroder is not merely being groomed to be the next big thing, but is rather attempting to wow individuals on the basis of eir own skills.
The one thing that individuals will be able to realize is that Schroder has a very narrow focus with the tracks on “Your Kind Words”. By the time that “In Spite of Me” ends, one begins to wonder if Schroder will be able to add different styles into the mix to keep the energy going, or if this will be another album that falls into a rut. The most interesting thing about Schroder is that I presumed that ey was actually Rick Springfield (“Jessie’s Girl”) when I first picked up the CD, which colored my perceptions of the artist until I realized my mistake. Schroder is thus able to create eir own sound during every track of “Your Kind Words”, allowing individuals to piece together the entire person from each of the album’s 12 cuts.
There might not be hit after hit on this album, but the solid style of Schroder is enough to keep listening throughout the entirety of this album. While there are passing hints to artists like Maher during this album, what ultimately results from “Your Kind Words” is something that has little in the way of ties to anything that has been previously release. Schroder will be around the music industry for quite a few more years, and it would not be too terribly surprising to see eir star rise with subsequent albums. Give the album a go if one likes emotional acoustic-led rock that has more than a twinge of pop and sixties style interspersed among the different cuts of the album. There should be something for everyone here.
Top Tracks: Never Happen Again, Your Kind Words
Rich Schroder – Your Kind Words / 2006 Anova / 12 Tracks / http://www.richschroder.com / Reviewed 14 February 2007