You’ve heard of the Queen of Soul and the King of Pop. Now meet the Administrative Assistant of Rockacana.
Richie Valentine’s new CD “Why so Serious?” embodies his usual funky. bluesy, folky fusion – but now with 87 percent more quirkiness. Imagine, if you can, that Neil Young and Joan Baez had a love child, and the baby was then fed to a Frank Zappa zombie. The performing songwriter from Marion, NC has also been compared to such icons as the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens and the food staple known as a soggy loaf of white bread.
“Why so Serious?” includes elements lacking in original music today –tuba playing, barbershop quarteting and dog howling. Yes, all that and much less.
An award-winning journalist whose thousands of articles have been printed in publications ranging from newspapers and magazines to The Indie Bible, Valentine abandoned the print-media profession in 2005 for a less stressful pursuit – teaching convicts in a maximum-security prison. The change also offered time to unleash his skewed musical vision on an unsuspecting public.
“Why so Serious” is composed of 11 original songs that the world doesn’t need, or particularly want, plus a traditional folk tune. But if something on the CD draws a smile, or even a smirk, its purpose will have been fulfilled.
Valentine opened for Nashville hit songwriter Jon Ims (She’s in Love With the Boy) at the Down Home in Johnson City, Tenn. In addition to regular appearances at area cafes and coffee houses, he has performed on a variety of stages in Nashville – including the famous Bluebird Café -- and numerous times at the Bristol, Tenn. and Rhythm and Roots Reunion as part of the Boone Chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).