Todd Rittman of U.S. Maple & Singer Forms D. Rider

Todd Albert Rittmann- for the Grateful Web

D. Rider is a new rock band founded and fronted by guitarist/singer Todd Albert Rittmann.  Founding member of U.S. Maple, Singer (both Drag City), and Robert Johnson and the Browns, T. Rittmann is also an occasional member of Cheer-Accident and has played with many other avant-music notables including cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and Rhys Chatham.  In March of 2008 Todd recruited a 5-piece band to perform some songs he was working on.  The lineup included keyboardist/cornet player Andrea Faught, who also works with Cheer-Accident, and saxophonist/singer Noah Tabakin, who is a member of punk marching band, Mucca Pazza.  This early show the group performed was enough to convince Rittmann, Faught and Tabakin that they should continue to make music together and collaborate on some recorded material. These songs have become the album Mother of Curses, which will be released on February 17th on Tizona Records.

The album's narrative begins with a mash of rhythmic sound.  Stick clicks, tambourine, bass drum, and the sound of magic marker writing on cardboard all congeal into a coherent boogie only to be suddenly eclipsed by the driving stomp of "Arranged Marriage To No Toms".  The title is an allusion to the minimal drum set-up used throughout the album. Kick, snare, hi-hat, and crash cymbal were the foundation of every song on the record, and every song began with an improvisation on this stripped-down trap set.

The approach to the drums is reflected by the method in the studio.   All the songs were deliberately recorded using 16 tracks or less, making on-the-spot judgment an integral part of the composition process.  This strategy doesn't rule out excess, instead it forces a commitment to a sound or gesture before the end result is completely understood. Imperfection becomes advantage, and the writing of a song becomes an evolution where the last step is a direct result of the journey.

In contrast to the constraints maintained in writing and recording, the kitchen sink approach was used in every other aspect of generating and manipulating the sounds.   While modern technology is employed to a degree in the capturing of the music, much more primitive means were used in the processing.  Much of the equipment used on Mother Of Curses is at least 20 year-old technology. Cassette tape, cell phone, reel to reel, and stockpile of obsolete outboard gear were employed to capture and mutilate a variety of instrumentation from harmonica to spray paint.  But don't be mislead, this is not experimental art noise. This is rock music.

D. Rider plans to play some shows in and around their native Chicago before the release of Mother of Curses, and embark on a North American tour in the early months of 2009.  Although T. Rittmann plays drums on the album, D. Rider has enlisted the help of Theo Katsounis (A Tundra, Locks) to drum for their upcoming shows.

One Way Rider (May 2003)

- for the Grateful Web

One Way Rider is a family band that performs a unique combination of Traditional Bluegrass, Newgrass, Country, Gospel, Acappella & Progressive appalachian. Consisting of mother Valerie Fay, father David Lee, & their children Amanda Lynn, Chittlin', & Bass Boy. Together they create an enchanting spectrum of sound, that sends the listener on a mystical journey through time. With an entertaining and comedic stage show that the entire family is sure to enjoy. "You cant help but feel good listening to One Way Rider! Their musicality draws you in, from their intricate and fast-paced instrumentals, to their smooth vocal harmonies, the talent of this family bluegrass band literally bursts from the stage.

Seeing One Way Rider live is an uplifting and unforgettable musical experience." ~ Catherine Cala, WYSU FM "One Way Rider has taken Nashville by storm! It was an honor to have them perform on the Interstate Radio Network a network of over twenty stations that broadcast from Music City and airs nationwide and in Canada. Locally in Nashville, the IRN broadcast on WSM 650 AM, the home of the Grand Ole Opry. The response was great! We cant wait to have them come back on the air and play for us again. It was so good to be with folks that live and love the bluegrass way, truly a blessed family. David and Valerie are a great example of what a family can accomplish together." ~Marcia Campbell, Interstate Radio Network WSM Nashville, TN "One Way Rider are a throwback to a more simple and wholesome time in American music in which traditional family values and musicianship were more important than image and electronics. One Way Riders music can best be described as Bluegrass, although there is a healthy dose of Country and Appalachian music on their latest disk Guesses River, as well as an amazingly effective "Newgrass" cover of Tom Pettys' "Won't Back Down" which translates wonderfully to the genre. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this disk are the abilities of the two youngest Mayfields, Bass Boy (age 18) and Jessica (age 11). Jessica, nicknamed Chitllin'' by her family (who seem to have a fondness for such things), has a vocal presence that far exceeds her years. She is definitely worth watching over the next decade. Bass Boy is, in so many words, amazing. This 18 year old is a multi-instrumentalist, being equally comfortable on bass, guitar, and mandolin. He also served as this disks producer. This disk is a must have item for anyone with an interest in truly American music -Jon Epstein, Rocklists