"I'm blown away by his songwriting and performing."
Eddie Van Halen, Los Angeles, California
"The most incredible piano playing I've ever seen. He plays with everything from his head to his toes."
KCLR FM Radio, Ireland
"A voice like a hurricane, John Hiatt after a shot of anabolic steroids."
Oor Magazine, Holland
"Rich Wyman is one of the most respected musicians on the local scene."
The Salt Lake Tribune
"One of Utah's hottest artists."
Fox 13 News Utah
"Wyman got it right—this album is “good company” to get your day started right."
SLUG Magazine, Salt Lake City
Video shoot blossomed at the No Name Saloon
Scott Iwasaki, The Park Record,
December 22, 2017
A new kind of crowd threw a party the Tuesday after Thanksgiving at the No Name Saloon. Instead of the rowdy whiskey shooting, beer swigging types, this group came in with film cameras, sound equipment, a full band and a lot of attitude. The ringleaders were husband and wife team Rich Wyman and Lisa Needham, who took over the bar to film their new video "Soul Like a Flower," one of the singles from their new album "The Fearlessness."
Wyman — a winner of the ASCAP Award, a music-publishing accolade — dreamed of shooting "Soul Like a Flower" at the No Name because of the venue's festive aura. As Lady Luck would have it, No Name's principal owner Jesse Shetler, greenlit the shoot. "Jesse and his staff were awesome," Wyman said. "I want to thank them so much." It also helped that Wyman and Needham shot the video with cinematographer and producer Erik Hutchins during the bar's downtime, around 3 p.m.
Hutchins, who is the producer of UTopia, a local TV series that focuses on environmental issues in Utah, has shot other videos for Wyman, and has also worked with Steven Spielberg and jean-Michel Cousteau. "Erik is a dear friend of ours, and when we played him our new album, he jumped on 'Soul Like a Flower,'" Wyman said. Although Needham has appeared in a couple of her husband past videos, "Soul Like a Flower" is the first one that focuses on her. "It was great," Needham said. "I really enjoyed the acting part of it." "Lisa worked hard to make sure she knew where she was going to be and what she was going to do," Wyman said. "She blew everyone away."
The "Soul Like a Flower" video starts with Wyman and Needham kissing goodbye and then switches its focus on Needham. "Erik shot Lisa singing the whole first verse in one fluid shot," Wyman said. "And he did the same thing with the second verse." The video included nearly 40 local extras."We tried to get a colorful crowd for the video to work," Wyman said. "Everyone dressed in more muted colors at the beginning of the song, and then after a saxophone solo, we go back to the crowd who is following Lisa and everyone is dressed in brighter colors."
Wyman and Needham recruited Katrina Kmak for the sax solo segment. Kmak, who not only sings with the Park City Treble Makers, but also performs with the Park City Follies and is the youth and Spanish services librarian at the Park City Library, was the perfect saxophonist, Needham said. "We talk about lip syncing, well, she sax synced, and nailed every note," Needham said. "She had played the sax for two years in seventh and eighth grade, so she was familiar with the instrument." The Utah Conservatory provided the saxophone, Wyman said. "Katrina took it home for a couple of days and listened to the song over and over again," he said. "When she came back for the video shoot, she was ready and nailed it."
The whole shoot took about an hour, Wyman said. "It was funny because Erik did a few takes and then it was all over," he said. The video will premiere in early January, and it will serve as one of the primers for the album's release. "We want to release four or five singles with a video every few weeks," Needham said. "After the fifth or sixth song, we'll release the album."
"The Fearlessness" will be released as an MP3, a CD and on vinyl, Wyman said. "We recorded the album in New York last January," he said. "We recorded 12 and put 11 on the CD. But when it came to making a vinyl album, we had to cut one more song, which was sad and hard because we liked the songs." The duo is already thinking of the next video. "We are starting to reach out to people to help," Needham said.
For information about Rich Wyman and Lisa Needham's duo Rich and Lisa, visit http://www.richandlisa.com.
RICH WYMAN Ready to Sing from the Rooftops!
Scott Iwasaki, The Park Record
Rich Wyman gets into a song during a live recording session of his new album "Live from the Heart 2." (Joseph Voncken)
Back in 2002, pianist, singer and songwriter Rich Wyman released a live album called "Live from the Heart." The album was recorded in Holland and his fans loved it, especially his Dutch fans.
"I have a lot of fans there from when I signed to a record company back in the late 1990s and early 2000s because of the work I did with Van Halen," Wyman said during a Park Record interview. "In 2010 and 2011, all the fans who loved that album, asked if I was ever going to make another 'Live from the Heart' album. They were emphatic, so I knew I had to do another one."
On Saturday, Aug. 8, Wyman will play a CD release party for "Live from the Heart 2" on the roof of the Boneyard, 1251 Kearns Blvd. The concert is free and open to ages 21 and older.
Rich Wyman shows his appreciation to a sold-out audience who attended one of two recording sessions for his "Live from the Heart 2" album. (Joseph Voncken)
Wyman will be joined by his wife Lisa Needham for the performance.
"The Boneyard is a great place and the idea of playing on the roof seemed like fun and more of a party, rather than playing in a dark venue," Wyman said. "I think this will be more fun and festive."
The are many differences between "Live from the Heart" and "Live from the Heart 2," according to Wyman.
"The main one is that 'Live from the Heart 2' was actually recorded in a real recording studio," he said. "I hooked up with a recording studio called Soundvision Studios in Arnhem in the Netherlands that was close to the German border in 2011. I got to know the owner, George Konings and he was interested in doing this and we recorded the songs during two shows, one in the morning and one in the evening.
"'Live from the Heart 1,' on the other hand, was recorded in three performances over three nights in a makeshift studio," Wyman explained. "The record company turned a big room into a studio, added a piano and hooked up microphones and ran wires down to the other end of the building where the actual studio was."
Also, the audience who attended the sessions for the first album stood around the piano, while the audience for 'Live from the Heart 2' sat in chairs, like a regular concert.
The "Live from the Heart 2" CD was recorded in a studio in Amsterdam last year. (Album cover photo by Marcel Kolenbrander)
"It was a beautiful set up with lights and wonderful microphones," Wyman said. "The one I sang into cost a $20,000 microphone and the ones they used to record the piano were all pre-World War II RCA mikes."
In addition, Wyman financed "Live from the Hear 2" on his own.
"Once George and I agreed on a price on how much it would cost to record, I asked my webmaster how I could promote this thing and sell tickets to the show through my website," he said. "My webmaster referred me to Eventbright.com and I created two web pages, one for the morning show and one for the afternoon show.
"One of the things I didn't know was the a lot of people in Holland didn't use Visa or MasterCard," Wyman said.
Rich Wyman and his wife Lisa Needham will play a CD-release concert on the roof of the Boneyard on Saturday. (Courtesy of Rich Wyman)
"There is a Dutch equivalent called Ideal, so, I had to set up four more web pages so they could use that. But it all worked out and I raised enough money to cover all the costs, including manufacturing the CDs."
"Live from the Heart 2" was originally going to contain only 10 songs.
"However, I talked to a couple of people in the music business in Holland and they said, 'just fill up the CD,'" Wyman said. "So I did. There is 79 minutes of music, including a little story called 'Ship Story,' on the album."
When selecting which songs to record, Wyman knew he wanted to keep away from those that are on the first album.
The only pieces that are on both albums are "So What!" and "Not for the Money."
"'So What' was a Top 40 hit in Holland, so it had to be on there, and this is a better version of 'Not for the Money,'" Wyman said. "I feel like my piano chops are better on this recording and my voice is a little more raspy than the last one."
The pianist wanted to throw in a couple of songs that haven't been recorded before, so "Who U Are" and "Chivas on Ice" made their recording debuts.
"'Who U Are' is a new song that hasn't been on any albums and 'Chivas on Ice,' while it's been a live standard of mine, hasn't been on any album either," Wyman said.
In addition, Wyman added a couple of covers.
"On the first 'Live from the Heart' I recorded 'Romeo & Juliet,' by Dire Straits, which is one of my live standards and I wanted to do more," he said. "Last year, I started playing Bruno Mars' 'When I Was Your Man' and Christine Aguilera's "Say Something.' So, I chose these two for 'Live from the Heart 2' because they seemed to fit within the album.
Those songs were culled from two, 24-song performances.
"The next day, Sunday, we went back into the studio and listened to all 48 songs with the engineer," Wyman said. "We found the ones that were fine the way they were and the ones that needed a little fixing and the ones that just wouldn't work."
Wyman tweaked the songs that needed to be fixed and the engineer mixed them.
"It's not flawless, but I like to say, 'When I make an album, I do the best I can with the resources I have to work with,'" Wyman said. "I put the budget, the people, the songs and the location together and do the best I can."
For the past few months, Park City resident Rich Wyman, an award-winning singer, songwriter and performer, has played public and private shows in Nashville, Austin, Chicago, Denver, New Mexico, Salt Lake City and Billings, Mont.
He also just returned from a summer-long stint as the lead pianist in a show at the Venetian in Las Vegas. So he's looking forward to doing a couple of concerts in his home town over the next two holidays when he performs on Christmas and New Year's Eve at Canyons' Hyatt Escala bar and restaurant. The pianist is scheduled to perform on Christmas from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and on New Year's Eve from 6:30 p.m. until 12:30 p.m. Wyman's wife, singer Lisa Needham, will perform with him on New Year's Eve.
"I love playing in that place no matter what the audience situation is," Wyman said during an interview with The Park Record. "It's in the bar and restaurant and has great acoustics. The walls are made out of cork or something and it really soaks up the sound. And I just zone out. "There are certain rooms where I play and think to myself that I would love to set up a bunch of microphones and record," he said. "This is one of those rooms."
Wyman has performed at the Hyatt Escala many times in the past few years thanks to his relationship with general manager Claudia Wattenberg. "I met her at a party a couple of years ago right when she had taken the job at the Hyatt," Wyman said. "And since then, I've been playing there a lot.He started the winter of 2011 and then played more shows the following summer." They reached out to me, depending on their situation, and asked if I can play some dates," Wyman said. "They called me earlier this year about New Year's Eve."
Although Wyman had received offers to play on the road that time, he really wanted to stay in town for the holidays. "So I said, 'Yeah. Let's do something,' and we made a deal," Wyman explained. "After we got the New Year's Eve show set, they asked if I would like to play Christmas Day. Since I'm Jewish, playing on Christmas wasn't a big deal to me," he said. "So I said, 'Sure.'"
These two performances marks the first time Wyman will play at the Hyatt Escala since 2012. "It's been a year and a half," he said. "And I'm glad to be back for Christmas and New Year's week to play in a room that I like to play. Hopefully the locals that have been missing me will come up."
One of the reasons Wyman has not been able to perform locally was the Venetian show in Las Vegas he did this past summer. "It was like I was born to be there," he said. "It was all entertainment all the time and I'm an entertainer." Wyman was the lead pianist out of three who performed Thursdays through Sundays. "I switched off with another pianist, who worked Monday through Thursday," Wyman said. "We also had a violinist come on and musical-theater singer." The concerts took place in an atrium."It was the most beautiful stage I've ever played on," Wyman said. "The stage was built at the foot of the waterfall in an atrium and they had scaffolding covered with ivy, fruit and grapes." Above the musicians was a chandelier that was suspended from a 70-foot-high ceiling. The ceiling was about 70 feet high. "We played between 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. in half-hour intervals," Wyman said. "We finished early enough that I was able to go see show shows, check out some bands and restaurants. "So I got to get to know the local musician scene so well," he said. "It was like a working vacation."
The only drawback was the summer heat. "The average temperature was 110 degrees," he said. "My condo was just a few blocks away, but I found myself driving to the venue because it was so hot. But I would love to play Las Vegas again." In the meantime, Wyman is happy he will play a few shows locally. "It's nice to be close to home for these shows," he said.
REVIEW - GOOD COMPANY
Rich Wyman’s album, Good Company, is a delicious slice of piano-ballad pie. I know it’s cliché, but I can’t help but think of Elton John ’s work when I listen to these tracks—they have that same bounce and those wide-open choruses. The production on the album is truly excellent, with each instrument doing its part to support Wyman’s fantastic piano and vocals. It certainly helps that he worked with some of Utah’s finest musical talents, including drummer Van Christensen and guitarist Terence Hansen , to complete each composition. Wyman got it right—this album is “good company” to get your day started right, in the car or on your back porch with a beer. I definitely recommend it! – Ischa B.
Piano man Rich Wyman heading to Las Vegas
The 10-time ASCAP Award winner, music producer and film composer will be the focus of a three-piano variety show that will run at the Venetian starting on Monday, May 27, and running through Sunday, Sept. 8, as part of the hotel's 115 days of Carnevale.
Wyman will lead two other pianists — Van Walraven and Bonnie Mizell — in performances that will run Thursday through Sunday, he told The Park Record. "We're the A-Team," Wyman said. "The B-Team (Frank Salerno, Cristina Walraven and Conrad Hawthorne) will be the musicians who will perform Mondays through Wednesdays." The show will also feature Steph Carse, an opera singer from Canada, and Las Vegas-based violinist Thien-nga Palmer. "During the show, we will play our set, which is the heart-and-soul of the show, and then we'll take a break and an opera singer and violinist will come out to perform," Wyman said. "After they're done, we'll come back out, and it will go back and forth like that every 30 minutes." The night will start with a classical set featuring works by Richard Strauss and Mozart, before slipping into an original Wyman's piece called "Weird Man's March." "From there it taps into a contemporary vein and then we'll finish with a big medley of rock songs," Wyman said. "I'm looking forward to it."
For Wyman the gig couldn't have come at a better time in his career. "At the end of last year, I was standing on one of those career plateaus where I was wondering what I was going to do next," Wyman confessed. "I have been dueling pianos on Keys on Main and at the Tavernacle in Salt Lake for the past four years, and I was thinking about how those things could go on forever and I would wake up when I'm 70 and go, 'Oh, wow.'"
So, the musician made a conscious decision to focus on performing around the United States. "I've been going back and forth to Europe for the past 15 years and that's been great, but I have fans all over the country who have seen me play and they always ask when I'm going to play for them," Wyman said. "I decided to shut everything down and focus on the U.S., including Chicago and the Pacific Northwest."
Then Wyman decided to roll the dice and call an agency in Las Vegas. "I have been talking to agents in Vegas for the last 20 years and have always gotten that 'no vacancy' sign," he said. "They tell me they have more musicians than they know what to do with, which is a typical agent's reply."
But this time things changed. "At the beginning of January, I called up this agency in Las Vegas, and I was referred to someone who referred me to someone else, who worked at the No. 1 booking agency in Las Vegas," Wyman said. "Talk about making the right call at the right time on the right day, but I was told that one of their people had canceled and they needed someone to fill in for a weekend. " It was a dueling pianos show, something Wyman was very familiar with. "I drove down and played, and a representative from the agency saw me and liked what he saw," Wyman said. "That started up a relationship with the agency, which books all the dueling-piano shows in that town."
Since that night, Wyman has been driving to Las Vegas once a month to play a show. "I played at New York-New York and the Monte Carlo and Harrah's in February," he said. During the February run, the booking agency's representatives told Wyman about a show they were pitching to the Venetian. "They said it would feature three white grand pianos set up face to face to face like a clover leaf on the Venetian stage by the waterfall and that I'd be perfect for it," Wyman said. "The Venetian is massive. A friend of mine described it as being 'bombastic plus one.' It's all marble with pillars and gondolas, and I giggled so hard when I saw where we would play because it was absolutely gorgeous."
Following protocol, Wyman auditioned for the show last month in front of the Venetian's talent scouts. "I had sent in (a digital recording) of one of my compositions called 'Weird Man's March' and they thought it would be perfect in the show," he said. "I also pitched them a medley I sing that features Peter Gabriel's 'Solsbury Hill' running into Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' and they flipped. "They told me that the show requires a pianist that plays everything from rock to classical, everything," Wyman said.
After the audition, the Venetian scouts asked Wyman to open his day planner and tell them what days he wanted to do the show. "I told them I preferred four nights a week, Thursday through Sunday," he said. The show will run from 6 p.m. until around 9 p.m. The agency will book Wyman throughout Las Vegas for late-night shows. "There are three white grand pianos, and I just got fitted for my white tuxedo tails and white, high-top Converse sneakers," he said. Wyman is the only pianist in the show who doesn't have a permanent residence in Las Vegas, but that wasn't an issue. "I have a place to live down there this summer," he said. "Since the show for me runs for four days, I will be able to come back to Park City and my family can come visit me, so we'll get some quality face time."
Pianist To Release Good Company
Every morning,wakes up and soaks up the latest updates from his favorite news source, Democracy Now!. At about 9 a.m., Wyman settles in at his piano and begins by tickling out musical scales, followed by 15 minutes of finger exercises. Then, he moves on to play classical songs composed by the masters, like Bach or Mozart.
Cover to cover, Rich Wyman records a CD of favorites
Scott Iwasaki, The Park Record
Every musician has a bundle of influences that includes compositions, lyrics or musicians that inspired them.
Rich Wyman's list includes everyone from the Beatles, Peter Gabriel, David and Bob Dylan to John Hiatt, James Taylor and Joan Armatrading.
In honor of his musical mentors, Wyman recorded "Songs I Wish I Wrote," that was released in Europe over the summer, to critical acclaim.
The CD, Wyman's eighth, but first of covers, also features songs by Mark Knopfler, Elton John and Eric Clapton, will have its official Park City release party at Molly Blooms Nov. 25 and 26.
"Whenever I play a cover during one of my shows, I always say, 'This is a song I wish I wrote,'" Wyman told The Park Record. "It became an easy title for a CD, and told the story because the songs I chose for the CD have been in my repertoire for years."
The disc kicks off with Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" and ends with Dylan's "Hurricane."
"I've been doing 'Solsbury Hill' for ages and I've always been a fan of Peter Gabriel," Wyman said. "I chose 'Hurricane' to close the album because it's such an epic tune."
In between, listeners hear the likes of the Beatles' "Come Together," Bowie's "Life on Mars" and Armatrading's "The Weakness in Me," among the tracklist.
"The other songs are timely for me because for the last two years I've been playing at Keys on Main in Salt Lake City, so 'Come Together' is a song I play there a lot," he said.
"It's got a great chorus and I just let the audience belt it out."
"Life on Mars" is more personal for Wyman.
"I had two older brothers, so when I was six and seven, I was listening to David Bowie and the Rolling Stones while my friends were still listening to the Top 40," he said. "My brother Jay was a huge Bowie fan. I heard that music constantly in my house while growing up and 'Life on Mars' is a compositionally amazing song.
"When I finished my recording of it, I sent an MP3 to my brother, because if he didn't give his thumbs up, I wasn't going to include it on the CD," Wyman said. "He emailed me back the most flattering email, which is unusual for him. He was over the top and said I did it justice."
Armatrading's "The Weakness in Me" has another personal connection.
"Not a lot of guys cover Joan Armatrading, but that song means a lot to me and I'll never forget where I was the first time I heard it," Wyman said.
When he lived in New York 30 years ago, he and a group of friends were in a car in the Bronx.
"I was in the back seat and all of us were making a lot of noise and that song came on the radio," he said. "I heard it and basically told everyone to shut up.
"In my mind, I was thinking to myself, 'What is this song? It's gorgeous,'" Wyman said. "It took my breath away."
The song stuck with Wyman all these years, but he didn't start playing it a lot until the late 1990s.
"Every time I'd play it, I'd get more requests to play it, because people wanted to know what it was," he said. "It's not a song that people hear a lot, but when they do, they love it.
"I think they love it because it's such a brutally honest song," he said. "Joan isn't afraid to take off the Band-Aid and take a hard look at the scars and write about them."
Wyman chose other songs such as James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" due to the large amount of requests he receives during his weekly gig at Keys on Main in Salt Lake City.
"I never played 'You're So Vain' until I started working there, and it's the same with 'Fire and Rain,'" he said. "These songs have resonated with me and I put my own little twist on them."
"Songs I Wish I Wrote" was recorded in the showroom of Baldassin Pianos across the street from the Rio Grande train station in Downtown Salt Lake City.
"They are the Western United States' largest dealer of Fazioli pianos," Wyman said. "I drop in the store from time to time and play this particular model, called an F308. It's one of the most amazing pianos that I have every played, and I even rented it a couple of times for shows."
Wyman approached the store's owner Rick Baldassin about recording a CD in the showroom and Baldassin agreed.
"I called my friend Derek Keith who is an engineer and we went into the store and set up this dream piano and recorded for six hours," Wyman said. "We set up a bunch if microphones and he set up his computer and ran a bunch of wires back there."
Wyman and Keith recorded 19 songs.
"I threw eight of them out, due to slight imperfections and mistakes," Wyman said. "Of the remaining tracks, I threw a few more out because they didn't fit with the genre I was going for."
The vocals were recorded separately at Keith's DK Studios in Ogden and the recordings were mixed at George Kelly Studios, in Salt Lake.
"He's got a nice little mixing and mastering room to put them all together and he didn't have to do too much to them because the piano sounded great and the vocals were good, but we ran into a problem," Wyman said. "Because the piano was so huge, we're talking an 11-foot grand piano, it was a chore trying to match its sound with the voice."
When Kelly brought up the voice to match the piano, Wyman would cringe.
"I have a gravelly voice and it didn't sound good in the mix," he said. "So we had to, sadly, pull down the piano so it was on an even keel with the voice. It took us four or five mixes to get it right.
"It was difficult because the recordings were so naked just piano and vocals and you can't hide mistakes because everything is exposed," Wyman said.
Apparently, the mix was done right because when "Songs I Wish I Wrote" was released in Europe over the summer, it became the CD of the week on National Radio in the Netherlands and DJs and music critics gave it five stars, Wyman said.
"People liked it, which meant to much to me," he said.
Now, that' he's home, Wyman wants to give the disc a proper Park City release.