Finger Style Guitar
Richard Wiegel has been in the forefront of the music scene in Madison, Wisconsin for more than 50 years. His guitar work stirs up excitement in the music of his current group, The Midwesterners, just as it has in popular groups from the past: Johnny and the Hawaiians, Out of the West, The Swing Crew, Clicker and The Bowery Boys.
In addition Richard has been expanding his acoustic guitar repertoire over the past decade. He performs regularly as a soloist, offering up popular standards from classic American musical styles of rock to ragtime, blues to jug band music, jazz to rockabilly. Richard performs these songs on many different instruments, from his 1953 Gibson J-45 to a collection of National resonator guitars.
Richard has just released his third solo CD, "Magic Wind." The songs themselves are a departure from the roots rock of The Midwesterners, leaning more on country blues and the Piedmont style of fingerpicking more closely associated with Ry Cooder, Chris Smither, and Jorma Kaukonen. The album coalesced when I wrote She Liked The Wind, about a relationship that ended. ThatÃ¢??s when I realized I had four other songs that referenced wind in one way or another, and other songs that had been influenced or inspired by her. They make up the center and focus of this album.
Richard's recording project coincided with the creation of Williamson Magnetic Recording Company (Willy Mag), an all analog recording studio located on the east side of Madison created by Mark Haines, who coincidentally performs on drums with Richard in The Midwesterners, and his business partner Tessa Reina de Echeverria.
Richard says "I started out with the intention of creating an all-original solo album, but it took some detours along the way. We werenÃ¢??t sure if that was the treatment these songs required, so we demoed them with guitar, bass and drums first. Mark was also experimenting and trying to find the sweet spots for recording in his new studio. But the songs were very personal and we kept coming back to solo guitar versions. We refined that approach even more after experimenting with different mics and placement, and ended up recording live into one mic. We were able to record all but one track this way. I wanted to elevate the sound of the guitar the way Georgia O'Keffe would magnify the view of a flower. I thought the arrangements were complete in themselves and and each specific guitar (I used four on this CD) enhanced the performance and the song. Willy Mag is uniquely set up to capture a performance, using analog recording machines and reel to reel tape, a lost art in the digital age."
Of Richard's previous solo album Wiegel Room (a collection of original acoustic instrumentals), Kevin Lynch of No Depression said; "Wit, Wisdom and Evocation Emanate from Richard Wiegel's Ã¢??Wiegel Room'".
Local Sounds Magazine said "Extraordinarily pleasant acoustic guitar instrumentals, and a supremely rewarding listening experience. He is truly a gentleman and a towering figure in Madison music folklore."
And country music historian Bill C. Malone calls Richard the "Grand old man of Madison music".
Of Richard's first solo album "Out Of The Blue" The Wisconsinite says, "Wiegel's warm, mellow vocals fit the smooth fingerpicking guitar accompaniment very well. If you're a fan of melodic guitar playing, you'll enjoy the album very much."
Rick's Cafe says "Wiegel possesses a smooth, rich voice that is well suited for this type of material."
The Isthmus says, "A nicely realized solo CD that features his finger-style guitar."