Says Richards,"When I play CoffeeHouses, or venues such as a listening room I do a mix of originals (a variety of humorous, folk, and uplifting songs) and covers such as Mr. Jones from the Counting Crows, artists such as Tom Petty, and Jimmy Buffet, John Prine, and lesser known covers and songs that I've picked up over the years from my travels from Newfoundland to Washington State. I do about 70% guitar, 30% Piano, vocals, instrumentals, and play the Native American flute as well as, the zampona accompanied by piano or guitar. I like to have a percussionist with whom I can improvise, and I enjoy collaborating in the world music genre." He adds, "People seem to enjoy my vocals these days. I've had some training and voice coaching." His Native American Flute music is relaxing and calming, and he loves improvising with drummers.
Richards has played professionally throughout the Western US, Northern New England and the Europe. He is the founder of the Leavenworth Community Coffeehouse in Washington State, which he launched in 1994, and is still attracting audiences and performers from throughout the Pacific Northwest and the U.S.
In 2004 he started the Sunapee Community Coffeehouse which continues to gain popularity with musicians and audiences alike and provides a listening room venue for amateurs and professionals in central New Hampshire. The Sunapee Coffeehouse is the winner of the New Hampshire Magazine's Best of 2005 Open Mics.
He writes music on the piano, guitar and Native American flute and Zampona as well as synthesizer. While he has laid down a number of tracks both instrumentals and folk, he's not done a recording quite yet. His piano style has been compared to that of George Winston. He'll often makes up melodies while in the middle of a performance.
In 1984, when Randall was performing at Paradise Inn at Mt. Rainier, someone from the the audience told him he sounded like Mr. Winston. Randy, having not heard of him, replied, "Who's that?"
Percussion is the driving force, with his other instruments following, to create a sense of presence and energy for the audience.
Mandala was formed to this end, and although the members have changed, the concept continues. Various drummers and musicians and vocalists accompany Randy at CoffeeHouses and concerts, see below.
Using a portable synth and two sets of headphones, he plays sounds, tones, familiar and original songs for his "private audience" of one. This "closed loop" between Randy and the listener creates a bond of non-verbal communication in which the patient appears more at peace, appreciative and uplifted. He has had consistently positive reviews because of these results from recreation directors. He has also been trained as a Hospice volunteer and has played at a number of bedsides for those passing on. Randy still practices these techinques at the V.A. Home in Tilton New Hampshire on a monthly basis, and is available by appointment.
Sample List of Songs
After the Kiss
All the World
Be Hear Now
Broke in Brittany
Circle of Life
Comes Down to Love
Friends all Along
It’s All Right
Love’s a Circle
Many a Highway
Mile after Mile
Time & Again
All in a Circle - Kathy Lowe
And Wonder - Emile Clothier
Closer to your Heart - Ciarán Brennan
Come from the Heart - Kathy Mattea
Fields of Gold - Sting
Give Yourself to Love - Kate Wolfe
Higher Place - Tom Petty
It’s All Right - Traveling Wilburys
In a Town This Size - John Printe
Let The Mystery Be - Iris Dement
Life Imitates Art - Three Track Mind
Make Your Own Music - Ray Chesna
Mr Jones- Counting Crows
Oh Marie - Click Horning
One Monkey - Gillian Welch
Running Down A Dream - Tom Petty
Salt Water Joys - Wayne Chaulk
Spanish Pipedream - John Prine
Turn of the Wrench - Dana Lyons
Volcano - Jimmy Buffet
Wildflowers - Tom Petty
Won’t Back Down - Tom Petty
Wasted Along the Way - CSN, Graham Nash