It's impossible to fathom that his debut for upstart ALTCO Recordings, Anywhere But Home, is the first time he's walked up to the plate. There's certainly some major league level musicians backing him - including players who have served stints with Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, and X - but Richards' performances are what drive the record.     Read full review

Wild American Radio  Graffiti on the Soul:

 Kern RichardsAnywhere But Home

Raised in a household where story songs - by the likes of the Clancy Brothers, Johnny Cash and Cal Smith - were the order of the day, Richards found himself being pulled toward music that said something - and picking up a pen to write his own songs. As for his picking style, well...      Read full review

Kern Richards finds his way in a country-influenced style

Feature article, Long Beach Press-Telegram


Article, Long Beach Press-Telegram:

Ryan Ritchie, Special to the Long Beach Press-Telegram

Kern Richards plays Long Beach so often it would be easy to think he lives here. That's fine by him. "I used to live in downtown Long Beach, and I intentionally play there a lot," says Richards, who plays the Pike Restaurant & Bar Saturday. "I prefer Long Beach over any other area in Southern California. That's where the most musical stuff is going on. Supposedly everyone wants to play out in Hollywood and L.A., but as far as Hollywood goes, I could never stand the place."

The guitarist/songwriter first showed an interest with the six-string instrument at the age of 3 and later joined an Orange County punk band named Pig Children during his formative years. But it wasn't until Richards discovered folk icon Ramblin' Jack Elliott that he put all his efforts into a solo career. After leaving Pig Children, Richards spent some time away from the stage constructing material and says watching Elliott did more than simply inspire him. "I spent a long time during that period when I was thinking and writing following him (Elliott) around," Richards says. "One time I followed him up to this folk festival - he didn't know me, I just went - and watching him was how I figured out how to finger pick."

Richards rotates between playing solo and with a backing band and says his show Saturday at the Pike will feature bassist Mike Heinle. The singer/songwriter is currently at work on his third full-length disc, but says this weekend's show won't feature any new material. Although the singer is influenced by topical songs by the likes of folk hero Woody Guthrie, Richards applies a different lyrical technique that he describes as "based on loneliness."

Much of his lyrical content deals with accounts of life's hardships, but Richards is quick to point out that not every word that comes out of his Tom Waits-esque voice is a first-person recollection. "I'm not really writing about myself," Richards says. "It's more feeling oriented. It's stuff that could possibly happen to anybody. People take it literally and miss the whole point...I guess it's normal for people to relate everything you say in a song to themselves."

Richards' apprenticeship with Elliott came full circle when the pair ran into each other before one of Elliott's shows in Covina in 2005. Richards showed up to the gig three hours early and ran into Elliott, which turned into the duo sharing dinner and, later that evening, the stage. Richards, who at the time kept his gear in his car because he was playing so often, was prepared when Elliott invited him to perform an impromptu show and says since then the pair has formed a friendly bond. "While we were eating," Richards says, "he asked me if I wanted to open the show for him. It was pretty surreal eating dinner with him at a Mexican restaurant. It sort of happened in slow motion. I started playing with him occasionally after that, and at one of our shows, he heckled me."

"Kern Richards sings about the important things in life... Richards is a storyteller." My all-time 
favorite old-school tattoo features a Betty Boop-looking babe perched atop a martini glass underlined by the phrase "Man's Ruin." I have no idea if singer-songwriter Kern Richards has such a tattoo, but after listening to his eponymous debut EP, I have no doubt he'd agree with the sentiment. If lyrical content is any sort of gauge, Richards, former rythym guitarist for the obscure and now defunct Orange County punk band Pig Children, has obviously spent way too much time hanging out in bars thinking about women.

"At 100 pounds, man she could sink a tanker / She ain't heavy, she's an anchor," he sings in a husky baritone on the humorously titled "She Ain't Heavy." In later verses, he rhymes anchor with "spank her," "rancor" and "chancre," providing valuable clues to said woman's pedigree.

Richards is a storyteller, and the four songs on the EP all concern loneliness, boozing or female trouble—sometimes all three at once. But it's not as depressing as it appears: Richards' acoustic guitar picking is chirpy and pleasant, and while the words are bleak, they're often delivered with tongue firmly in cheek. Once the man comes to town, he stays.

— R.V. Scheide,
North Bay Bohemian



Anywhere But Home  -  Album Review  - by Jason Mater Robinson

"Where Tom Waits' drawl and Leonard Cohen's lullaby echoes overlap... Thank God for folks

  like Kern Richards who tell it like it is... heartfelt, under-belly Americana."     Read full review



 Terrell's Tune-Up  - Album review, Santa Fe New Mexican

  Anywhere But Home by Kern Richards

  "This is a collection of tough-minded roots-rock tunes by a singer-songwriter

    from Southern California with a deep, ragged, world-weary voice who sings

    from the gut and writes from dark regions of his soul..."       Read full review ____________________________________________________________



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