In the last five years JR Richards has gotten married, lost a close friend to cancer, produced several other artists, written songs for TV shows, started a music and film production company with his wife Min Reid-Richards and fell in love with Scotland.
No wonder Richards hasn’t had time to release a follow up to his first solo record (2009) titled A Beautiful End.
The former front man for Dishwalla set out on his own after the band disbanded in 2008. A Beautiful End produced some of Richards’ best works. In addition to the title track, songs like “Far end of the Black” and “Never Forgotten,” showcased his skills as a vocalist and songwriter.
But Richards now feels like the time is right to put out a new record, which he plans on finishing by the end of the year.
“I’ve been writing and recording and my plan is to put out a full length record. I’d say I have about half of the songs written,” Richards said. “I’ll spend the summer finishing that. Most of the songs I’ve been writing are love songs and that’s something I haven’t really done before.”
The source of his love songs has come from his recent marriage to Min on Feb. 26, 2013. The couple got married at the Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland, a perfect backdrop since Min’s grandparents are from Scotland and Richards can be traced to Scottish royalty. He is the 23rd direct descendant of Robert the Bruce, who was one of the most famous warriors of his generation, eventually leading Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence against England and is remembered in Scotland as a national hero.
So it seemed only fitting that his most recent release is a cover song titled, “Flower of Scotland,” featuring Spud the Piper and Allie Nixon that was originally recorded by the Corries and has become somewhat of a national anthem.
Richards has also been active in recording new music for the small screen. He released a song titled, “White Light" for the TV series SAF3 that began airing in September 2013. He also co-wrote “Precious Stone” with Jason Koiter for the TV show Criminal Minds in December 2013.
When he hasn’t been writing songs for television shows he’s been lending his influence to other artists. He produced a song called “Silver Girl” from Vanaka’s record titled “Gratitude.”
The song was written by Vanaka’s Stacey Ferguson and was inspired by her close friend Hollye Jacobs, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39.
Min directed the video and created a stunningly visual video that should be worthy of a Grammy nomination (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItsU88ssKTs…
The topic of cancer struck close to home for Richards, who stepped away from recording after Ryan Rossi died from Hodgkin’s disease.
Rossi toured with Richards to support A Beautiful End. They collaborated on different projects and became musically inseparable.
“Ryan was only 26 years old when he passed away. I started reevaluating what’s important in life and realized that it was important to be happy in the moment,” Richards said. “I took a break and decided to help out other artists record as a producer.”
As Richards reevaluated what to do next, he felt inspiration strike in the form of a new record.
“I’m thinking about doing a pledge campaign and getting fans involved,” he said “I’ve never really considered doing that but if the Beach Boys are doing it, I figured I might as well.”
While Richards has been doing his own thing, Dishwalla began touring again and reformed with Justin Fox as its front man.
Dishwalla is best known for the 1996 hit, “Counting Blue Cars.” The song was named “Best Rock Song of the Year” by Billboard Magazine and put the band on the musical map but going back doesn’t interest Richards.
“Nothing inside me wants to go play. I’m almost 50, I just don’t want to do that anymore,” he said. “I have four kids and an amazing wife. My priority is not trying to write a hit single and tour.”
With so many other options, Richards will continue to break new ground on both sides of the glass.