Richard Summerbell | Light Carries On

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Rock: Modern Rock Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock Moods: Out-and-Proud
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Light Carries On

by Richard Summerbell

Articulate acoustic/electric guitar rock in the mode of later Leonard Cohen, REM ? but much farther out, with motifs out of punk, hiphop, floyd, mongolian music, and so on. Unexpected stories, lyrics to remember. Music and adventure.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Make the Connection
5:11 album only
2. 28th Floor Apartment
5:14 album only
3. Up on the Shore
3:28 album only
4. Easy
4:00 album only
5. I Can't Get Over Losing You
5:30 album only
6. Falling through Love
4:02 album only
7. Complicated
5:47 album only
8. Dancing Away the Days
5:40 album only
9. Albania
6:55 album only
10. Spirit of the Earth is Rain
3:29 album only
11. Civilian Romance
4:24 album only
12. Horses
4:15 album only
13. Breathing In
8:08 album only
14. Ren Sqeqxe
1:30 album only
15. (I just want to thank you for being my) Dog
4:11 album only


Album Notes
Update. Song enters songwriting Hall of Fame!

(I Just Want to Thank You for Being My) Dog, track 15 of this CD, was awarded First Place and an Outstanding Accomplishment in Songwriting award by the Great American Song Contest in the Special Music category! It has now been posted to the Hall of Fame (

Track 2, 28th Floor Apartment, has been included in the G-CD compilation of GLBT artists put out by Woobie Bear Music (, which works closely with the great online station Bear Radio (

A new song not on this CD, Get it Right Away, just won an honorable mention in the upbeat pop category of the Unisong Contest. Will make that one available through cdbaby a.s.a.p.


My friend Julia, who'd never been to one of my shows, heard the first few tracks on this CD and she couldn't sit still. "Fusion!" she said, jumping out of her chair. "There's all kinds of interesting things in here. But really," she said, swirling around and squaring off in front of me, "you're one of those 'bard' people, aren't you, like Leonard Cohen or Neil Young, all kinds of lyrical things happening...?"

That's probably a better description of this music than you'll get from me. Except that the important thing she didn't mention is that besides featuring my music, this CD also features a lot of multi-layered, fluid electric guitar work, courtesy of Europe's #1 "tapping" guitarist, Carlos Vamos ( in his first-ever collaboration with a singer/songwriter. And his first-ever collaboration with a North American, too, come to think of it, though he's worked with people who are well known elsewhere, such as The Netherlands' Herman van Veen and South Africa's Karin Hougaard.

What else has gone into this music? It has a major influence from a genre of once mostly Canadian and New England-based music that started out as folk (Simon and Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega) and then changed to rock circa 1975 (Neil Young/Crazy Horse, Ian Thomas, the prog-rock incarnation of Rush, plus the singular British exponent of the genre, Kate Bush), reinventing itself through the intervening decades as acts like the Crash Test Dummies, the electric incarnation of Bruce Cockburn, the Tragically Hip, Sarah McLachlan, and Alanis Morrisette.

Other than that, there are as many influences integrated in here as you or I can imagine, different ones for different songs -- the great LA/Seoul Korean hiphop band Drunken Tiger inspired one song, though the traces of their influence may not be obvious; another song features four kinds of Mongolian-style harmonic overtone singing (what singer wouldn't want to learn to sing two vocal parts at one go? -- it's like magic). There's a nod towards riff-rock and post-punk, some radio pop, some torch-song blues, some space-rock, some cajun, some 6/4 native rhythm. Here and there, there's what as far as I know (but surely I'm wrong?) is a new idea in rock music composition, melody with lyrics extending out of verses and choruses and into fluid form, as if the sung part of the music were an instrumental solo. All in all, then, this may be music for people who have one thing in common with me: musical tastes that are broad-ranging enough to make some of their friends a little nervous. Having said all that, I need to add that this CD is basically rock music; it's just very xenophilic about it.

I've been, by the way, an openly gay performer since the beginning -- this used to be very daring, but these days it seems just to be one of the many interesting phases of the human condition. In these songs there are various characters, some gay, some heterosexual, women and men, young and old. There's a certain amount of me in these songs but you might just find that you're in there too. This is an album for a big world, not for a small world.

As for me, I have played music in the singer/songwriter scenes of both Vancouver (where I regularly appeared live on CFRO-FM radio) and Toronto, Canada, but now live and record in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Canadian reaction:

I liked your album from the get-go and really enjoy the fun you have in varying your voice in many of your songs. Especially true on the track, Breathing In!! You really have created a home for your vocal playfulness in your music and it's a joy to experience as a listener.
Some of my favorite tracks are Dancing Away the Days, Spirit of The Earth Is Rain, Horses, 28th Floor Apartment and of course, I Just Want To Thank You For Being My Dog!!!

You dare to share so very personally and yet creatively so with wonderfully written lyrics. Often very poetic!

Your voice is refreshingly original and your musicianship is seemingly effortless. All who accompany you on the album are tremendously talented and have helped make this CD a very, very solid debut.

Skyy Powers, host, Fruit Salad program,CFRO-FM, Vancouver

USA reaction:

Comment from Berkeley, California's LUVeR Internet Radio ...

We love your cd! We have played the whole thing on And it is now in luver's you are often on luver!

Frank Moore, LUVeR, Love Underground Visionary Revolution

Netherlands reaction / Nederlandse reactie:

Hi Richard,

I have listened to your music and I have to say that I really like your cd!
The numbers are real nice and I will put several of them into my server pc for the music player for Radio G-FM. If you agree I will put them in my playlist.

Ok thanks again for the cd I really like it.

Bye bye,

Radio G-FM

He, Nico, hartelijke bedankt! -- Richard

Australian reaction


Very pleasant sounding...Richard has a voice more akin to Neil Young's than any other I've heard, and each successive listening session brings surprising affinity for his style.

This comparison surprised me...what do you think?

Short but sweet reaction from BEAR RADIO, where Civilian Romance was played in heavy rotation through November 2005.

The CD sounds GREAT!!!!!

Greg Hudson

Have a little fun and check out the whole song (or another song, Make the Connection) by selecting it on the online request list. See



to write a review

carlos vamos

A very nice musical adventure

Bob M.

Good songs. Sort of Nelly Furtato meets Buck 69 on another world
Very cool lyrics. Broak range of musical styles -- hard to place really. Best tracks are 'Dancin Away the Days' and 'Complicated'


Beautiful poetry and stories set to music
Amazingly rich lyrics. Some of the tracks are like short stories set to music.


my life in weird californian surf rock
I LOVED this CD. It bears repeated listening ... for the lyrics, but also for genuine aural pleasure. This CD covers all my favourite genres, with a new and twisted take, recounting the tale of my life had I taken the road less travelled. And had the road less travelled reverberated along a Californian surf beach.