Richard Tyler Epperson – Another Day – EP Review
“This EP is me trying to find a small light in a dark place to keep me fighting and to have hope that maybe, just maybe my dream doesn’t have to be just a dream…”
There are so many things I loved in reading about the story of Richard Tyler Epperson. To sum up a bit of what I know – he’s just about to put his third record out, right around the corner on October 12th this year when the Another Day EP arrives…and this is a pretty pivotal moment in this guy’s future & career. Reading the tale about this guy building himself a space to record away from the busy hustle & bustle of family life goin’ on around him all the time as a proud father to his son & husband to his wife…like…the whole story brought a smile to my face long before I pushed play. Reminded me very much of my earliest days in music myself, where I just came home one day to find my roommate had moved out of the master bedroom, and in the place where his bed once was, there was a huge box instead now. All built impressively overnight while I was working a graveyard shift – I came home that morning to a utopia built to house creativity, desire, hope, and possibility; it was honestly one of the best moments of my entire life if I’m being truthful, and a gift that continued to keep on giving as I took my first steps into the music realm and started recording for the first time. And heck – if I sounded half as good as Richard Tyler Epperson does, I’m sure I’d have been encouraged to keep all that going…but I’m comfortable with my role now – I get it. There’s a difference between an artist like Epperson that has the genuine magic it takes to go with his skills & ambitions and a regular shmoe like myself that dabbled in music for a couple years – there’s not a thing about the Another Day EP that doesn’t reveal another reason for this guy to continue keep on doin’ what he loves. Richard’s got a real gift for songwriting, a remarkable grip on how to execute, and genuinely original ideas that as moving as they are entertaining. All I’m saying is that YES he’s getting older – sure – we all are – but there’s never a valid reason to give up on a dream, no matter what that dream may be or how far away it may seem sometimes; and besides that, I’ve seen the pictures…Richard’s got plenty of time left to go…if he’s old, then I’m 100% about to crumble to dust.
“When I Build My World” instantly puts you at ease; not only for the peaceful & serene demeanor of the song itself, but for the quality you hear in what Richard creates…this is music with a whole lotta heart in it, and that’s radiantly apparent right from the very first moments. He’s got a beautifully sweet song here, and one that reveals a ton about what you’ll hear thematically run throughout this whole record – this is Richard, right here & now, fully present. A stunning reflection upon what’s important to him – I almost don’t even know what to say other than this is a complete master-class on how to rock a love song RIGHT. Everything you’ll hear is so natural, endearing, sincere, and heartfelt…you can’t help but fall in love with a song built on as much integrity, honesty, and sweetness as you’ll find in “When I Build My World.” Clearly about his wife in many ways & certainly at the center of it all – she’s Richard’s entire universe, and that’s radiantly apparent through his loving lyricism, especially echoed through the heart of the chorus when he sings “when I build my world, it starts with you” – c’mon y’all, that’s gorgeous. There is so much of Epperson’s music & perspective that’s remarkably down to earth, and even amidst the dreamy vibes he’s put into “When I Build My World,” his grounded wisdom anchors this whole song in a beautiful reality…knowing that whatever ups & downs may come their way, love still conquers all.
In knowing just a tiny fraction of Richard’s life story behind the scenes, I can fully assure you that “The Song Inside Your Soul (Don’t Let Me Go)” is one of the most heartbreaking songs I’ve had the privilege of hearing this year. I’m not going to get too far into specifics as it’s not really my story to tell – but what I can tell ya for sure, is that “The Song Inside Your Soul (Don’t Let Me Go)” is completely based on real-life experience, the hardships of relationships, the struggle to maintain the love we share with others – and perhaps most accurately, the desire to keep it. Almost needless to say, the vibe of Richard’s record instantly starts to shift…sure, the guy makes music with an inherent catchiness to it in just about any form you’ll find it made in – but there’s no doubt that listeners will feel the weight of emotions hit this EP real heavy on “The Song Inside Your Soul (Don’t Let Me Go).” He’s almost like a melancholy Sting at points in this tune…Epperson’s definitely down here, but through the resilience you hear in the power of the melody, the conviction in his performance, and the uplifting hope found in the breakdown – you know he’s not outta the fight or his battle for love by any means. Let’s be real here though – no matter how amazing it is, love is just about the hardest thing to hold onto, preserve, and protect in this world, and if anything, this past couple years has only made that exponentially harder on just about everyone – but when you’ve got that true partner you know you could never replace, it’s worth going to hell & back. “The Song Inside Your Soul (Don’t Let Me Go)” introduces a much more weighted set of emotions, thoughts, and feelings on display than we experience in the opening tune, but still a whole lot of sound that’s as entertaining as it is compelling…you feel moments in time like this. Credit where credit is due, sensory sound is never any small accomplishment…even though it’s a much more sad journey into much of the imagery, mood, and details of this song, Richard takes us right along with him, and lets us in on his most unfiltered, honest, and raw feelings in a courageously vulnerable way that makes it very real for us.
Right off the drop, “Tonight (Wicked Lies)” starts to beam out single-worthy vibes while adding in the supreme weight of emotionally-embattled lyrics that have Richard sounding close to the end of his rope. You get a bit more of an aggressive edge to his Indie/Pop charm here…and you get moments like you’ll hear around the 1:45/3:15 marks that should essentially leave you speechless – like, I got shivers down my spine the first time I listened to this cut, and that is a feeling that has never let me down y’all – that’s how I’m wired…that’s my own DNA telling me I’m listening to something truly special. He’s like…part Owl City…part MyKey…with the emotional insight & depth of a songwriter like Pete Yorn…that’s not just great company to be keeping, these are all artists with legitimate lifelong careers that they’re all still enjoying to this very day at different levels & have been for years – Richard Tyler’s got that same level of potential without question. Shout-outs to producer Patrick Wörner as well – he’s got songs like “Tonight (Wicked Lies)” sounding right on-point, getting the most out of the dynamics within the melody, sound, and structure. While it’s probably fair to say it’s not gonna be the happiest song you’re gonna hear this year – I can’t imagine there’s anything whatsoever that would stop this cut from making an impact on listeners one way or another – and likely both. Love the jazzy keys, love the slight reggae-edge in the mix – and I swear, he’s got one of the most enchanting and dazzling moments I’ve heard in any song to be found as he twists his melody at those highlight spots I’ve pointed out. Would I want more of those, or perhaps have that moment expand even more than it does? Perhaps – but that’s about the most you’ll find you could potentially cite to complain about, which is easily solved by another spin through it instead. I’m truly greedy when it comes to melody like this…I could eat the moody musical magic that Richard Tyler creates on this song by the freakin’ bowlful with a VERY large spoon & still want seconds.
“Another Day” is genuinely remarkable, straight-up, full-stop. It is RARE to hear an artist with the real insight it takes to capture their thoughts, feelings, and emotions as accurately as Richard is capable of doing…I’ll go into this more in a minute or so, but he’s gotta understand – what he’s creating is undeniably special, that’s the facts. When you hear him cruise on into the chorus of “Another Day,” if you were somehow doubting what I’ve been tellin’ ya to this point, that should be the moment of universal silence where jaws drop open and you realize just how right I’ve been in my assessment all along. Epperson has that X-factor you wanna find in Indie/Pop but so rarely do – and in the sincerity you’ll find on “Another Day,” you’ll hear a lot of the reason as to why that is…it’s him. Like I’ve advised so many of you out there along the way throughout my writing here, the more YOU there is in the music that YOU make, the stronger the connection becomes to us as listeners – “Another Day” is full proof of that being the gospel truth when it comes to great songwriting. Examining the push/pull of time and life and how elastic it can be, going from feeling like we’re stuck in the same place to moving at warp speed – Richard’s struggling hard throughout the lyricism of “Another Day” and just trying to make it through the day he’s in, let alone another one to follow. Nailing the chorus with the strength it truly needed to make the emotion hit home, he’s created a song with gripping sensory vibes that come through both the music and vocals, and certainly within the imagery of his lyricism as well. The guy writes a fantastic song and there’s no other conclusion that could be drawn to – *spoiler alert, if you haven’t caught on by now, you’ll learn soon enough that there’s not a bad song or dull spot on this entire record. “Another Day” might move at a slower pace, but it’s a spellbinding & mesmerizing one…and when you factor in the sheer melodic strengths that the chorus comes with & Richard’s vocal highlights at that moment – it’s really not too much of a stretch at all to imagine that a song like this could still go on to be a single too. Kind of like a combo of Dave Matthews, Edwin McCain, and Sting once again…there’s such impressive depth in the whole mix from the performance to the production, writing to the execution – you’ll hear nothing but well-crafted songwriting and professionalism in the music of Richard Tyler Epperson, 100%.
On the EP’s fifth song, Richard poses a personal question – “What Should I Do?” – and I’m here to answer that directly dear readers, dear friends, dear Mr. Tyler Epperson – you should dream, and dream BIG…that’s what you should do. You should keep the thought in the back of your mind that biology itself is trying to condemn you into thinking you’re somewhere past your prime, and you’re anything but my good friend. I’m hearing a bit of the middle-aged crisis that so many of us go through – and again, being what I guarantee is older than this guy is…I can confirm, it’s just a matter of not accepting that you’re anything less than as special as you truly are – yes, I’m speaking to you directly now Richard. Rebel against it all my friend – kick, scream, thump…write…CREATE…and be confident that you’ve got something to contribute that others can’t…because I’m tellin’ ya brother, that is ALL I can hear on this EP of yours. You’ve got something the rest don’t – and the more you believe it – REALLY believe it…I promise ya, the more doors will just start to open up in front of you to reveal you’re on the path you’ve always been meant to be on. Track after track, this guy has poured his heart & soul into the songs on this record, and there’s simply nothing less than stellar songwriting, music, and vocals to be found within every moment you’ll listen to on Another Day – that’s not an opinion Richard, that’s the facts. “What Should I Do?” he asks? Richard – THIS. Exactly THIS. What you’re doing right now, realizing your destiny, as a born artist & entertainer. There might have been prior records, and I am sure they were probably very good based on your natural talent – but there’s simply nothing about the Another Day EP that doesn’t sound like an absolute breakthrough. If you’re looking for confirmation my brother, you’ve got it from me – that’s what I’m saying – and I know I’m not gonna be alone in that assessment after people have a listen to this record. We’re talking about an EP that takes so much less than a single spin to have everyone on board – it might feel like you’re “doing this life wrong” Richard – but trust me my friend, when it comes to the art of making music, you’re doing absolutely everything right, and you’ve got every reason to believe in the future to follow with the incredible talent you’ve got. “What Should I Do?” he asks? Stop at nothing until you reach your dreams dude – that’s the only advice I could ever give ya. The music, ideas, material, and star of this show all check out and tick the right boxes – so if it’s work required behind the scenes, or stopping everyone in the street with your CD for sale, or some kind of viral video needed to get the word out there…all I’m saying is everything I hear is worth the effort, so no matter how much is necessary or extreme of a mountain it seems to be to climb, it’s worth it Richard.
Because I’ll tell ya this folks…you don’t get to the heart of the sweetness you’ll find in the sound & lyrics of “Beautiful Day” without having something naturally special that the rest out there just don’t have. Richard’s got the kind of authentic connection to melody no one could ever teach – and he’s audibly proven that with the straight-up fact that everything you’ll hear on this record shines like pure gold & gems. Time and again, he’s revealed the level of sincerity that makes a songwriter & artist stand out for all the right reasons, and “Beautiful Day” caps off this experience on an exquisitely uplifting & positive note. Consistently, he’s taken his material from great, to outright amazing – and you get that moment in “Beautiful Day” once again, right around the 2:25-ish mark…it’s just a subtle twist, a slight departure, a mere moment in time – but it seems to set off the chain of events that spark the highlights of the next chorus & run to the finale. Epperson’s got a fantastic organic tone to his voice and gift for expression in the way he sings…he makes moments in time like “Beautiful Day” every bit as endearing & sweet as you could want them to be; he’s inviting us all in to dream a lil’ with him in this song, and I absolutely love it. Somewhat like I felt about the flash of addictive melody in “Tonight (Wicked Lies)” earlier on with its spectacular highlights…I do think there’s room for Richard to still incorporate the most irresistible moments of his music more than he is without threatening the specialness we hear…but again, really folks – if that’s the most I’ve got to observe in the songs Epperson’s creating, he’s on real solid ground. “This life will show you that it’s good” – it’s such an innocent comment, so humble and sweet – and it’s pretty much the reminder that each and every one of us across the world really need to hear this year.
While I’d normally advise against a song appearing twice on a short record…or just about any record for that matter – it still follows the golden rule when it comes to the exceptions out there – a song has gotta be different enough to justify its secondary appearance – and it better be a really, really good tune in order to be able to withstand a double-dose ratio of us all hearing it 2:1, you feel me? I felt like that was the case with “When I Build My World” coming back acoustically at the end – there’s still enough of a difference between the original version and this one, and ultimately, it’s just an incredibly bulletproof song that’s got so much appeal that any set of ears would have no problem welcoming it back again for another round. If anything, I think you get to the inherent sweetness that this whole song is built on just that much more through the acoustic version…Richard’s got such a natural, grounded-yet-dreamy point of view & perspective to go with his mellow vibes, and it really complements the more delicate sound of a song like “When I Build My World” perhaps just a lil’ more, though I can’t imagine anyone out there complaining about this tune in either of its forms, or any of the songs on this EP for that matter. I think this guy’s an absolutely outstanding songwriter & artist through & through – and he knocked this whole EP outta the park when it comes to the immaculate detail, consistency, and heart he’s put into his songs.
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