Funk soul brother's hard yards pay off
RICHIE Williams has a knack for writing songs that get under your skin.
His tales of Aussie battlers, triumphs and tribulations, love lost and found, hit you square in the heart while his melodies stay in your mind, long after the songs have ended.
Like his influences, Jamiroquai and Steeley Dan, Richie's music has a definite funk flavour, but there is a strong soul element as well, in both the stories he writes and in the catch of his voice.
Richie Williams is a self-confessed battler.
His story is one of struggle, grit and perseverance.
In an era of instant success through all manner of karaoke TV shows, Richie's career has been steadily built the hard-fought way, gig by gig.
He began learning guitar at five; was busking at Sydney Town Hall by 10; and playing gigs at local pubs before he was even legal.
By the time he'd finished high school, Richie's band had clocked up dozens of performances in and around Sydney.
Richie's next band with Rai Thistlewaite (Thirsty Merc) went on to perform alongside Gangajang, Skunkhour and D.I.G. and many others.
In 2002, Richie won the role of a young Billy Thorpe in the Australian feature film The night we called it a day, starring Dennis Hopper, Melanie Griffiths and Joel Edgerton.
Playing one of his rock idols reignited the passion for performing in Richie.
Inspired to put in the hard yards and get back out on the road, he loaded his guitars into his ute and took off west for Tamworth.
During his time inland, Richie spent thousands of hours at the wheel, trawling the live venues of inland Australia, playing every pub, tavern, front room, back room, pokies room and drinking hole in the region.
In three years he had clocked up more than 550 gigs, includ- ing support shows with The Black Sorrows, Christine Anu and Darryl Braithwaite.
Eventually, the pull of the coast became too strong. Richie packed up his ute again and headed to Northern New South Wales, where he is based today.
Far from taking it easy on the beach, Richie is as keen as ever to endure as an Australian singer/songwriter.
A chance meeting with Murray Burns from legendary 80s bands Mi-sex and the Party Boys found a mutual appreciation of 60s and 70s funk/soul bands and the two began writing and collaborating on a new album.
A strong friendship formed and they are currently recording Richie's latest album at Studio 301 in Byron Bay.
Showcasing their signature funk grooves, the album is a compelling journey of love lost, found and living in a small town.
Richie and his band, featuring Thierry Fossemalle (The Whitlams) on bass and Roger Falcon on drums, will be taking the album on the road to Yamba this weekend.
In the meantime, grab a sample taste with their latest single Tell Me Why which appears on The Rails 2012 Compilation CD and can also be downloaded at http://www.richiewilliams.com.au