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Rich Krueger | Nowthen

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Rock: Americana Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Solo Male Artist
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by Rich Krueger

How many albums do you know that feature Gary Lucas (Cap’n Beefheart), Robbie Fulks, Peter Stampfel, John Fulbright, Sarangi, Celtic and Mexican harps, tuba, theremin, dogs, horns, Mariachis, AND great songs? One. Rich Krueger's NOWThen.
Genre: Rock: Americana
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Kenny's (It's Always Christmas in This Bar)
3:34 $0.99
2. Girls Go for Arse'oles
4:32 $0.99
3. Waltz (Terpsichore)
6:12 $0.99
4. Don
6:03 $0.99
5. In Regard of Flight
5:15 $0.99
6. Elizabeth
4:31 $0.99
7. In Between Kingfish
5:06 $0.99
8. The Great War
4:19 $0.99
9. Por Que No Me Amas (Love Me)
4:48 $0.99
10. Yesterday's Wrong (Green)
6:21 $0.99
11. Me & Mr. Johnson
3:47 $0.99
12. O What a Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful Day
3:52 $0.99
13. À Tout Jamais (Pour Eva)
8:37 $0.99
14. Elizabeth (Replease)
2:28 $0.99
15. Think What You Will
4:26 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

#14 on Robert Christgau's 2019 Dean's List

The Never Ordinary Folk Rocker Continues On The Path of “True Deep American Strangeness” (Peter Stampfel, The Holy Modal Rounders)

“Krueger’s is the kind of miracle that keeps me checking out thousands of albums a year so I can grade a couple hundred for posterity..” - Robert Christgau, The Dean of American Rock Critics, Village Voice

“I can’t remember the last time I said yes to a song out loud in its first three seconds. You believe [Krueger] you want to be there. He sounds like he’s been all around the world without ever leaving home. ”- Greil Marcus. Rolling Stone

“[There’s no template for a Krueger song and the album weaves like a drunken sailor with bar room wisdom, tin pan alley pop, country and old fashioned R’n’B all stumbling into view. Sure enough there are shades of Springsteen, Newman, Bukowski and Van Morrison here and there but it’s all filtered through Krueger’s sardonic prism.”
- Paul Kerr, Blabber n’ Smoke (Glasgow)

Chicago, IL August 15th, 2018— What album do you know that features Gary Lucas (Cap’n Beefheart), Robbie Fulks, Peter Stampfel, John Fulbright, Sarangi, Celtic and Mexican harps, tuba, theramin, dogs, horns, Mariachis, AND great songs? And what do the themes of love, Wittgenstein, Cook County jail and trapeze artistry have in common? The answer to both questions is Rich Krueger’s newest release, NOWThen.

Rich Krueger jumped into the spotlight in 2017, after releasing his first album, Life Ain’t
That Long to worldwide critical acclaim, and non-commercial Triple A radio play around the world. Since then he has done numerous interviews in the US and UK and was a finalist in the Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Competition in 2017 and 2018, which he went on to win in 2018.

The 15-song, NOWThen is self-produced and self-released. Krueger’s brother provides the artwork. The title means a couple of things as Krueger explains, “My body of songs are coming from two different periods in my life. The first, (Then) is from 1985-1998 when I was in medical school /graduate school/residency/neuroscience post-doc. After almost a 20-year gap, I started writing and performing again in 2007 (NOW). The other meaning is that I have changed, my life has changed, and the world has changed. I found it interesting that some songs that were written previously seem to have anticipated to some degree, major issues happening today.”

Most of the players from Krueger’s first record also play on NOWThen, but there are many others new to this project (see separate player sheet). Along with those mentioned above, there are appearances from friends, Erik Frandsen (The Colbert Report), Casey McDonogh (NRBQ), Jay Ansill (acclaimed Celtic performer/composer), and Jim Becker (Iron & Wine). Some of the arrangements are far simpler than LATL, but a couple are much more elaborate. “Yesterday’s Wrong (Green) has an Indian music feel, with Indian instrumentation, “O What A Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful Day” is Cajun-based, and “Por Que No Me Amas (Love Me)” features a Mariachi band.

Two of the songs on the album, “Kenny’s (It’s Always Christmas In This Bar)” and “Don” are the songs that made Krueger a 2018 Kerrville New Folk Winner. The aforementioned, “Por Que No Me Amas (Love Me)” also has strong Chicago ties. It was written for a play in Chicago in the 90’s called, “Love Me” (whose performers/writers would eventually compose “Urinetown The Musical” and win 3 Tony Awards). It was also the first song of Krueger’s that got Robbie Fulk’s attention and began their musical fanship. He duets with Krueger on this song.

“In Regard of Flight” soars (pun intended) as it features the Skinny William horns and gospel singers. It’s a song that Krueger considers, “One of my best.” “In Between Kingfish” features the acclaimed singer-songwriter, John Fulbright on accordion and renowned composer and folk musician, Jay Ansill on Celtic harp and violin. “Jay is my old high-school friend,” adds Krueger. “Everyone playing on this record is a longtime good friend, or is a friend I made during the last record, or is a longtime good friend of a good friend, or became a friend while making this album. Without those connections it wouldn’t be worth doing at all.”

Most songs were written before the recording began, but 4 songs were written during the recording process: “Kenny’s”, “Don”, “Me and Mr. Johnson”, and “O What a Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful Day.” This song features Peter Stampfel on fiddle and Jim Backer on mandolin. “One late night just after I began writing songs, I met Tom Waits on an El (elevated train) in Chicago,” Krueger explains. “He somehow was willing to talk to me and he said many wise things. One was that one should write about what you know. This is my first attempt at writing about what I do for a living, being around births.”

Professionally, Krueger is a clinical neonatologist at the University of Chicago. “I work 80-100 hours a week as a doctor,” he points out. “Making music somehow happens on that background. Musical ideas come quickly when I mess around with the piano, guitar or banjo. Keeping my eyes open helps, and writing down ideas as quickly as they come is necessary.”

Krueger, who cites Jacques Brel as his strongest influence, also enjoys hitting up open mic nights at local bars. “I can’t get enough of them,” he exudes. “I love theatre, I love great comedy, and I love reading about history. I also like bars a whole lot. I probably spend more time in them than I should, but not nearly as much time as I’d like too.” The song, “Kenny’s” is ode to the owner of Krueger’s favorite bar, The Gallery Cabaret…a place where everybody knows his name.

NOWThen is a work of love and of hope, hard work and joy and about having open eyes. “It reflects my life and my friends,” the artist discloses. “It reflects my basic philosophy about life which I can sum up this way: There are 2 points here. First, there is one fact that has always been true, and always will be true about human beings. And that is that some of what any person knows to be absolutely true, is actually not true. The sad corollary of this fact is that most of man’s inhumanity to his fellow men, and most of the evil men do in this world, are a direct result of a difference of opinion with me about my first point.” He adds, “I’m a friendly and open smart and funny guy with a mouth and willingness to use it. I’m pretty much an iconoclast. You can’t spend any significant amount of time at a place like The University of Chicago and not be an iconoclast.”

Rich Krueger’s songs are songs that could only be made by an outsider, and observer. They might make you think, they might make you laugh, and they might even trouble you, but NOWThen is full of real songs that are never ordinary.

“Here be a literary songwriter of the first rank. A major songwriter. Thanks for making music that still makes reviewing albums worth it.”

- Robert Christgau, THE Dean of American Rock Critics Expert Witness Noisey (VICE) & a personal phone call from Mr. CHristgau WOW.

“A highly developed songwriter… advanced, experienced storytelling of vivid, ribald life experience/ viewpoint.”

- Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover

“Staggering yet often surreal stories...articulate lyrics coupled to heavyweight tunes make this a joy. The new Randy Newman?

- Tony Ives, AmericanaMusicShow.com

“Razor sharp observation...his words spill out - almost a screenplay in miniature...an incredibly talented maverick”

- Paul Kerr, Blabber ‘n’ Smoke (Glasgow)

"A major songwriter, complete with wavery high baritone that hurts so much it'll make ordinary mortals wince."

- Robert Christgau, THE dean of American Rock Critics, Expert Witness Noisey (VICE)

"I'm loving Rich Krueger's new CD, NowThen. He is so deserving of all the success he has been receiving! Way forward Rich!"

- Melanie (Safka), singer-songwriter and legend


- Mary Gauthier, singer-songwriter

"Krueger reaches way down and creates his own musical paths, song after song. Paths which suck you into an altered universe in which you get lost in other peoples problems and successes for a change. So damn good. ...maybe perfect music for the moment. Rich Krueger, where have you been hiding?"

- Frank Gutch, No Depression The Journal of Roots Music

"Talented...highly distinctive songwriter...cerebral, ironic....Richard Thompsonesque."

- Michael Parrish, Dirty Linen

"As a lifelong fan of True Deep American Strangeness, I came to a realization after leaving Milwaukee for the last time in 1959, that the Truest, Deepest American Strangeness is to be found in the Heartland, the Great Midwest. As a perfect example, take a song--any song--of Rich Krueger, and you will see exactly what I mean. Rich is an American Stranger, if I ever did see one."

-Peter Stampfel, The Holy Modal Rounders, The Fugs, & The Bottlecaps

"Krueger`s melodies, phrasing, and carefully-crafted lyrics call to mind the very best singer-songwriters…Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen. But his vision is very much his own."

- Jennifer Zogott, Folk Roots Magazine (Britain)

"Richard Krueger is taking his folky guitar explorations and voice into places hitherto unvisited except by real seekers after the musical grail—sensitive and beautiful, shine on Rich!"

- Gary Lucas, God and Monsters & Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band

"Rich Krueger`s songs come from the less traveled roads of the heart. I look forward to going there with him."

- Ezra Idlet, Trout Fishing in America

"The high point of my trip to Kerrville in 1996...Quirky, unique, original...A breath of fresh air amid the quagmire of mediocre self-produced CDs."

- Jack Hardy, Fast Folk

"Krueger`s got stories to tell, moods to paint...his passion and irreverence invite comparisons to Loudon Wainwright III, Randy Newman, and the Sex Pistols. Lyrically artful and musically diverse, Krueger`s soulful voice carries us over his debris-strewn chaotic emotional landscape to a place of catharsis and - dare we say it - peace."

- Emily Kaitz, singer-songwriter



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