How To Order A Copy Of “The Magic Line” On CD

Everyone knows The Magic Line can be purchased digitally on all major platforms like iTunes and Amazon MP3 — as well as be streamed on services such as Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music. But Where can I find a good old-fashioned CD? you might ask. Well, copies can be ordered from Amazon.com, but I predict higher prices and low supplies there. Your best bet is ordering a CD directly from me via the safe and reputable PayPal payment service. (I’ll even sign it if you specify that!) Details are below. **Please pay close attention to the location in the description so you choose the link that applies to your location.** Shipping and tax are included in the price you see. 

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1 Copy Of The Magic Line CD ~ U.S. Shipping  ($13)

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=LZ79YVN6KVD74

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2 Copies Of The Magic Line CD ~ U.S. Shipping  ($20)

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=UBWDXZ8J8NYE2

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1 Copy Of The Magic Line CD ~ Outside U.S. Shipping  ($17)

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=2L8HTHZUCSKD4

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2 Copies Of The Magic Line CD ~ Outside U.S. Shipping  ($26)

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=8SUWBX9NCZEFA

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When you receive your copy, don’t forget to visit the album’s companion website www.FindTheMagicLine.com for loads of additional info, photos, video and art.

Thanks so much for your support, everyone! CR

10 Years Of “Tumblers & Grit”

10 years ago this month, my second album, Tumblers & Grit, was released. It was a major milestone for me. I’d relocated to Nashville a couple years before, and this was my first record-making experience in Music City. I’d fallen in with a talented, electric group of music-makers, and I’d quickly soaked up an awful lot of the Country music soul that flows there along the Cumberland. 

R.S. Field, a terrific producer who’d worked with many of my favorite artists, kindly agreed to oversee the recordings, and he and I enlisted a small group of our favorite players in town. The cherry on top was securing pedal steel legend Lloyd Green, who’d just begun doing sessions again after a decades-long retirement. Everything kinda fell right into place.

Recording went quickly. The 6-piece core band knocked out basic tracks for 13 songs in two days, live to 2” tape through House of David’s wonderful API console. We decamped for the Hum Depot for vocals, percussion, fiddle by this month’s Rolling Stone subject Ketch Secor, and assorted other overdubs (including the crickets you hear at the album’s end), and then headed back to HOD for three days of mixing. 

The album needed a title, and I found it in a notebook from a road trip I’d taken through Arizona years before. A sign for a rock and gem stand along the interstate was advertising materials used for polishing rocks — the rock tumblers, as well as the grit you put inside of them. It was a metaphor I thought fit with many of the characters that lived in the album’s songs.

Jim Herrington, a favorite photographer who’d moved to Wisconsin since shooting my first album’s photos, met me on Milwaukee’s north side to grab some photos at Jake’s Delicatessen and Gil’s Cafe. Then I handed it all off to an artist I’d wanted to work with for ages — the great Mark Dancey  — for his amazing illustration and design touches that adorn the DigiPak.

As release day approached, I pulled together a fine band of Californians, and we piled in a white Ford Econoline van and spent most of July and August playing venues all over the U.S. Really positive reviews began flowing in by the time we reached Wisconsin for the official album-release party, and that continued for several gratifying months. Festivals, civic pride days, Country radio stations, small-market TV, radio & print interviews… I did it all. The tour was both really fun and really uncomfortable, and the experience helped me realize that touring on that scale was not for me.

Tumblers & Grit was the result of a lot of people’s talent and hard work, but I want to make special mention of Bob Van Akkeren, whose belief in the songs was second to none. There simply would not be a Tumblers & Grit without him. 

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(clockwise from top-left): Lloyd Green, Kenny Vaughan, Steve Conn, Jared Reynolds, Shaun McWilliams, Chris Carmichael.

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Overdubs with R.S. Field and Rusty McFarland at Hum Depot.

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House of David.

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Friends & Family.

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Master tapes (hey, look… an unreleased song…).

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Kind folks saying nice things.

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The T&G U.S. Tour.

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Buy Tumblers & Grit on iTunes

Buy a CD copy of Tumblers & Grit at Amazon

"The Magic Line" Gets A Rave In The August Issue Of MOJO

I was pretty excited to learn last week that The Magic Line was given a 4-star rating in a review in next month’s MOJO Magazine.

If you’re a savvy music person, you probably know MOJO (a UK publication) as the world’s best music magazine. And if you do read MOJO, you know that Sylvie Simmons is one of the very best writers walking the planet. So I’m doubly thankful they took the time to give TML some love.

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"Flowers Of The Sea"

I’ve had several people ask me about the song on The Magic Line called “Flowers Of The Sea.” While I’m reluctant to talk particulars about story songs — I think it often cheats the listener’s imagination out of getting to do its job — there are a few things I feel OK to share about it. 

The idea for “Flowers” arrived not long after I moved to my little spot on the sand in Huntington Beach, California. I knew (and still know) very little about surfing — but it was right there in front of me, but I started paying closer attention to what was going on out there.

Most modern surfers ride short boards, zippy 5/6-foot boards that are great for doing flashy tricks in small-to-medium surf. That’s fun to do and it’s fun to watch. But I became intrigued by a much smaller surfing subset — big wave surfers, who ride longer, heavier “big wave guns” into the mouths of huge, deadly waves. I spent several months learning about these people who travel the world in search of giant mountains of water to ride.

This took me (mentally, at least) to places with ominous-sounding names like “Dungeons,” “Jaws,” “Cyclops,” “Cortes Bank,” and “Mavericks” — often remote places that offer huge, fast, crushing waves. But that’s not the half of it. The conditions that make the wave what it is are often killers, too. Many occur in icy waters full of sharks, and break into “boneyards” full of jagged rocks.

My favorite of these is a spot just up the California coast on the Monterey Peninsula, arrived at via scenic 17-Mile Drive. Sitting placidly there just below renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links lies a surf break called “Ghost Tree,” named after the bleached-white Cypress tree that overlooks it. This became the setting for “Flowers Of The Sea.”

imagePescadero Point’s Ghost Tree Overlooking A Calm Pacific

Ghost Tree sits dormant most of the year, but comes alive under very specific Pacific storm conditions, generating thundering waves exceeding 70 feet tall. On the right day, Ghost Tree can be a killer, as it was in 2007 when it drove veteran big wave surfer Peter Davi into its Boneyard.

imageGhost Tree Going Off

The people who ride these waves spend their days monitoring water temperatures and tracking storm paths, then jumping on international flights with a bag and a board. They’re thrill-seekers and they’re gamblers. And sometimes they don’t come back to shore.

imageLava “Pohaku” stones in memory of fallen big wave surfers Mark Foo, Peter Davi and Jay Moriarity: “Blessed Are The Flowers Of The Sea”

That’s me playing guitar and beating the drum on the recording. Big thanks to Ben Peeler for supplying the perfect guitar atmospherics, to Dawn McCoy for singing the beautiful female part, and to Louie Stephens for all his help getting the sonic setting just right. I hope you like it.

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"Flowers Of The Sea" on SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/crfromwi/flowers-of-the-sea

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Lyrics to “Flowers Of The Sea”:

http://www.findthemagicline.com/lyrics-notes/flowers-of-the-sea.php

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Buy The Magic Line on iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-magic-line/id814500512

Buy The Magic Line on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Magic-Line-Chris-Richards/dp/B00IDKHMLY#

Middle Tennesseans: I’ll be playing a brief set at my Nashville album release party this Saturday. Come bend an arm with us at Music Row institution Bobby’s Idle Hour at 7 PM.

Middle Tennesseans: I’ll be playing a brief set at my Nashville album release party this Saturday. Come bend an arm with us at Music Row institution Bobby’s Idle Hour at 7 PM.

The Story Behind “The Rolling Hills Of Trempealeau”

As a young listener, I always wanted to find out just what was behind the songs I loved. Now that I’m on the other side of the fence, I’m less interested in offering those details up. But there is one song on The Magic Line I think might be enhanced by a bit of backstory.

The “Trempealeau” in “The Rolling Hills of Trempealeau” is a real place, a county on the western side of my homestate of Wisconsin, along the Mississippi River. Its population is small, but its Native American and early-U.S. history is of great importance to the region. I did a year of college nearby, and know well the beauty of the area, which is dotted with great, regal sandstone bluffs travelers have used as guiding points for centuries.

During the writing of The Magic Line, I read about a type of mining that’s been very quickly and very quietly proliferating all along the western side of the state. The heart of this boom has been Trempealeau County.

You’ve heard of “fracking,” right? Oil and natural gas companies hydraulically blasting fluid down into the ground to extract the valuable contents trapped inside? Well, it turns out that the best thing you can add to that fluid for optimal results is a hard, round type of sand called silica sand. It’s the Rolls-Royce of fracking sand, and there’s loads of it in the beautiful hills and bluffs of western Wisconsin.

When those oil/gas/mining/real estate companies figured all this out a few years back, they began showing up in rural towns like the ones in Trempealeau County. That area exists mostly on agriculture (farming) and tourism – bicycling and motorcycling the Great River Road area are big ones. People come from all over to ride and hike the gentle, rolling green hills that run along the Mississippi. Other than that, though, there’s not a lot of industry. And because there hasn’t traditionally been a lot of industry interested in western Wisconsin, there haven’t been a lot of laws set up to protect the people and the land. Mostly just handshakes between farmers, and fences between neighbors. You could say it was a place ripe for big oil and mining companies to swoop in flashing promises of jobs and wads of cash in exchange for land. Anyone with a heart can understand the allure and temptation these residents have been presented with.

What’s wrong with sand mining? Well, some folks say a lot of things. First off, crystalline silica sand is a registered human carcinogen. It becomes airborne when mined, and when it blows off sand piles and the trucks that move it, it finds its way into people’s lungs. This has been shown to cause silicosis, asthma, COPD, lung cancer and other not-fun ailments.

Then there’s the traffic. Many of these towns are hundreds or at most a couple thousand residents living a slow, quiet rural life. With the sand mines, hundreds of big loader-type trucks now crisscross the narrow county roads every day, carrying the sand to processing plants and rail spurs. Many operations run around the clock, so the sound and light of digging, processing and transporting literally never stops.

Of course there’s the environmental damage to the land you’d expect with open-pit mining. Groundwater contamination. Soil decimation. Ugly pits in what were once verdant mounds and bluffs. The mining companies say the land will eventually be farmable again, but some experts on the subject say that’s untrue.

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Why would people stand for this? This all sounds like a terrible idea, you say? Well, here’s the thing. These mining people are smart. They come offering jobs to an area where jobs don’t usually come knocking. It might only be 15 or 20, and they may only be trucking jobs, but for these areas – that’s more jobs than are created in a decade or two. Jobs like that in places like Trempealeau County are godsends.

The Sand Men come with certified checks made out for triple, quadruple… many -uples more than what a family’s land is worth. It’s Lotto time for these families. Non-disclosure/gag orders are commonly attached to the transactions, so nobody else in the area will know that perhaps their own property may now have a giant sand mine/industrial site as a next-door neighbor. This has led to severe divisions in these formerly tight-knit communities, as you can imagine. There have also been accusations of these companies employing members of local government, so what little regulation exists might be less likely to be enforced. It’s really messy stuff with few winners, and it’s all very sad. 

One bit of good news: Since I wrote “The Rolling Hills Of Trempealeau,” there has been a one-year moratorium placed on sand mining in Trempealeau County. (Update: The moratorium was not renewed and ended Sept. 1.) The practice is still growing at a worrisome rate up and down the state, and the Sand Men are getting creative at using things like annexation to get around the few regulations that have been installed – but people in general seem to be getting wiser to what all this means to this beautiful land they and their descendants have been living on for generations.

I’m not anywhere near being an expert, nor I’m I particularly good at distilling such a complex situation into essay form. That’s why I became a songwriter: I’m lazy. I was surprised how few people knew about the issues involved in mining silica sand. I guess it’s not sexy enough a subject for the media. Good thing there’s no such thing as a subject too ugly for folk music. 

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You can read a much better overview than mine of silica sand mining in Wisconsin and Minnesota here:

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175544/

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Minnesotan director Jim Tittle made this really good documentary about the subject last year:

http://thepriceofsand.com

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And here’s a clip from that doc that gives a little glimpse into what it’s like when a sand mine moves in next door:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0diYBorP2lU

The Magic Line Is Here!
My new album arrived February 25th. It’s now available at all the most popular digital music shops like the iTunes Store and Amazon MP3, plus most places you stream music like Spotify, Pandora and Beats Music.
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The CD version can be ordered from Amazon.com, but I predict higher prices and low supplies there. Your best bet is ordering a CD directly from me via the safe and reputable PayPal. Details are below — please pay close attention to the location in the description so you choose the link that applies to your location. Shipping and tax are included in the price you see. 
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1 Copy Of The Magic Line CD ~ U.S. Shipping  ($13)

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=LZ79YVN6KVD74

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2 Copies Of The Magic Line CD ~ U.S. Shipping  ($20)

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=UBWDXZ8J8NYE2

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1 Copy Of The Magic Line CD ~ Outside U.S. Shipping  ($16)

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=2L8HTHZUCSKD4

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2 Copies Of The Magic Line CD ~ Outside U.S. Shipping  ($26)

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=8SUWBX9NCZEFA

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Thank you for your support, everyone! CR

The Magic Line Is Here!

My new album arrived February 25th. It’s now available at all the most popular digital music shops like the iTunes Store and Amazon MP3, plus most places you stream music like Spotify, Pandora and Beats Music.

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The CD version can be ordered from Amazon.com, but I predict higher prices and low supplies there. Your best bet is ordering a CD directly from me via the safe and reputable PayPal. Details are below — please pay close attention to the location in the description so you choose the link that applies to your location. Shipping and tax are included in the price you see. 

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1 Copy Of The Magic Line CD ~ U.S. Shipping  ($13)
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2 Copies Of The Magic Line CD ~ U.S. Shipping  ($20)
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1 Copy Of The Magic Line CD ~ Outside U.S. Shipping  ($16)
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2 Copies Of The Magic Line CD ~ Outside U.S. Shipping  ($26)
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Thank you for your support, everyone! CR

Album #4 recording got underway last weekend in Nashville. Got to spend a couple days at gorgeous Ocean Way Studio A with some of my favorite musicians and human beings in the world. With a little luck, there’ll be a new record out this spring.

Buy Some Rare Collectibles, Help Me Make Album #4

This week, I booked some dates in a Nashville studio for January. That’s always good news. But along with that comes a big responsibility in the independent music-making world — and that’s paying the bills that need to be paid to get it made. Lots of things have gotten cheaper in the universe of music, but not so much on the creation side.

Most of you have heard about sites like Kickstarter and PledgeMusic and the like. Those can be wonderful pathways to generate funding, but they’re just not for me. I am a poor multitasker, and coordinating something like that is beyond my abilities.

So, instead, I spent an afternoon deep in the vault while I was in Wisconsin for Thanksgiving, and I came away with a trove of rare items that haven’t seen the light of day in nearly a decade. I thought you might like to own one or a few of these special pieces, and at the same time, help me fill the coffers enough to make a great-sounding album. Here’s what I found:

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The Chris Richards T-shirt (Crewneck, V-neck and Pigment-dyed)

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These beautifully screened high-quality shirts were only available during my U.S. Tumblers & Grit Tour in the summer of 2004. When we unloaded the van at tour’s end, they went straight to storage. I’ve given out a few to musicians (Lloyd Green’s got one!) and special supporters (Mom’s got one!) over the years — but I’ve never made them available till now. The white T’s are mostly Fruit of The Loom 50/50, in standard sizes. There are sharp women’s V-necks as well. The colored shirts are pigment-dyed, premium Gildan Ultra Cotton, and maybe run a hair bigger. The colors are Red, Blue and Charcoal. They feature the Mark Dancey-designed CR logo (more about Mark later).

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The Chris Richards Pigment-dyed Polo Shirt

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These are not your average band-table shirts. These are pigment-dyed knit polos from White Mountain Traders. They are a bit oversized, in Barn Red, Marine Blue and Charcoal Black. Featuring the Mark Dancey-designed CR logo.

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Jam The Breeze Digipak CD (Out Of Print)

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This is a sealed Digipak copy of my 2001 debut album, long out of print. 70 copies were recently found in storage in Colorado. There will never be more produced. It features songs like “Why Arizona,” “Tijuana Lullaby” and “Someone Else’s Blues.”

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Tumblers & Grit Digipak CD (Limited Quantities)

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My 2nd album, which received 4 stars in the U.K.’s Maverick magazine, 3 1/2 stars out of 4 in the L.A. Daily News and Philadelphia Enquirer. Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper named it one of its Best Off-Music Row Albums of 2004. Inside the Digipak lies custom artwork by Mark Dancey, photography by Jim Herrington, as well as hand-written lyrics by me. These copies are the last of the first edition run.

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Brilliantine Limited Edition CD Single (Out Of Print)

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I released this as a standalone single a year before Goldenwest. These copies are what remain of a small run that will never be re-ordered.

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Here’s THE DEAL:

For a $40 (postage paid, U.S. only) contribution to the ALBUM #4 RECORDING FUND, you’ll receive:

    ~ 1 shirt of your choice — Crewneck T-shirt, Women’s V-neck or Polo

    ~ 1 out-of-print Digipak CD copy of Jam The Breeze 

    ~ 1 final-run Digipak CD copy of Tumblers & Grit

~ 1 out-of-print “Brilliantine” CD single

    ~ As a special bonus, I will also include a sealed CD copy of Goldenwest,

            * All CDs will come signed if you wish

            * Please specify shirt type & size at checkout

            * Some shirt sizes/colors may be limited, and it’s first-come, first-served

            * Packages will be mailed out around December 21/22


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Follow this link to PayPal to purchase this great collection of items:

==»  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=NE76GPG6WSS42

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** Additionally (and separately), I’ll be offering this very rare item **:

The Chris Richards @ King King Poster, Hollywood, CA, by Artist Mark Dancey

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Mark Dancey is one of the finest illustrators and poster artists of the last two decades. He’s based out of Detroit, and you’ve probably seen his work for groups like Soundgarden before. One of the highlights of my career so far has been having Mark work on many of my projects. Back in summer of 2003, he created a 100-poster run for me for a special show at The King King in August of 2003, just before I headed back to Nashville to make Tumblers & Grit. Only a handful of these individually hand-screened posters exist, and none are alike. I’m selling these for $30, (postage paid, U.S. only). I’ll happily sign yours if you’d like.

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Follow this link to PayPal for this item only:

==»   https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=6UNBYVBNWWYFY

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** Interested International parties, please email us at Mailbox@ChrisRichards.com for pricing outside the United States. **

Any other questions can be emailed to Mailbox@ChrisRichards.com and we’ll get you squared away, OK?

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Thank you!

Goldenwest CDs are in! 
U.S. fans, get yours direct from me with free shipping via PayPal, or from Amazon. All other international buyers, here’s your PayPal link to order.

Goldenwest CDs are in!

U.S. fans, get yours direct from me with free shipping via PayPal, or from Amazon. All other international buyers, here’s your PayPal link to order.

Goldenwest Album Release Party, The Basement, Nashville, TN, March 22, 2012. Photos by Kim Jameson.

Chris Richards ~ “Rubblefields” ~ Live At The Basement, Nashville, TN

Records @ iTunes

  • Goldenwest
  • Tumblers & Grit
  • Landlocked! (single)
  • The Magic Line

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