Christopher Michael Richard, known as Crash on stage, has been a singer and percussionist with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros since the beginning of the band in 2009, following a four year career with the Deadly Syndrome. He has embarked on his own solo project and played his second set of his first tour last weekend in Telluride.
His album, Hardly Criminal composed of eleven songs, was was released in May. But, he has only played on stage a handful of times as his solo act. His set at Fly Me To The Moon Saloon in Telluride, part of the Ride festival, was the first time most fans learned about the big-name band member's one-man project.
"It's a chance for me to do something on my own, to put together the songs that I personally identify with," Richard (pronounced Ree-shard) says, explaining that his roots growing up in New Orleans influence his sound naturally. This sound shows up in his songs, which reflect a blues, roots and jazz sound.
"I was exposed to certain types of music, so when I play those sounds and those genres, they are are on "Hardly Criminal" by default. The soul song, Motion Animal, was just a natural idea and groove for me."
"Motion Animal" is Crash's first single. The video is set in a roaring Southern speakeasy.
Derrick Webb, owner of Fly Me To The Moon, Tellurides oldest venue, described Crash's performance as having an energized, established stage presence. With about 200 people at the show, he said only a handful of people knew to catch the Edward Sharpe solo act, and the rest were pleasantly surprised.
"I personality thought it was an amazing show," Webb said. "Similar to Edward Sharpe [and the Magnetic Zeros], but has more of a New Orleans feel, more rootsy. He has great songwriting skills and stories to tell." He sings with a guitarist, keyboardist, trumpet and drummer behind him.
Richard has a strong fan pull for his new project from his past bands. He says he has a core group of fans that have followed him through his different band changes, and are excited to hear what he comes out with next.
Although he says it's a balancing act, members of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are very supportive for personal projects. "It is so involved, everyone is influencing one another and we're working with each other on multiple projects, its a good atmosphere."
His stage name, Crash came about as a nickname, created from his young days, in which he explained he "crashed" into work daily. "A woman I used to work with came up with it, and it just stuck," he said. Most of his friends call him the nickname, so it was a natural transition to his solo music project.
Crash is on tour for the rest of the summer. Many of its shows are paired with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, which you can see at the Chive Festival in Denver on August 16th.
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