Rich Atkinson And The New Billionaires

Debut Double Single Release

Rich Atkinson grew up playing music in Salisbury originally, before attending the prestigious Hollywood’s Guitar Institute Of Technology; which gave him a love of harmony and a wider understanding of Jazz. This was followed up with a Degree in Commercial Music and a Masters in Songwriting, both of which were achieved from Bath Spa University. Rich is a fan of great songs and great narrative writers, with his influences coming from such artists as Tom Waits, Randy Newman, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

Rich has put together a band featuring hand-picked musicians for a new project known as Rich Atkinson & the New Billionaires. The band comprises of Georgie Rodriguez on Bass/Vocals (who has already been playing together with Rich for a couple of years); with Richard Quintin joining them on Tenor Sax and Andy East on Piano, who is the latest addition and joined them back in the spring of this year. The band is currently looking for a full-time drummer to complete this new line-up.

They have recently gone into the studio to start work on putting together their first couple of original creations. The two tracks that have come from these sessions are “A Postcard From The Ocean” and “Love is A Beautiful And Terrible Thing”; which are co-written with Matt Ingram who is an old friend of Rich’s, who is also originally from Salisbury where they have played previously in bands together. Matt engineered the session at his “Urchin Studios” in London. He has a fantastic musical pedigree, currently playing drums for singer/songwriter Laura Marling. He has also played with notable stars including Tom Odell, Florence and The Machine and has produced one of Laura Marling’s albums. With the absence of a permanent drummer Matt also offered to plays drums on both of the tracks.

Rich Atkinson And The New Billionaires

The first tune “Love Is a Beautiful and Terrible Thing” came from an internet story Rich read about a guy who had been dumped by his girlfriend and had had to collect all his belongings in a box on the porch. His last comment on his heartbreak was “Love is A Beautiful and Terrible Thing.” The song was pretty much written in one night, which is a rare occurrence as Rich confesses he usually takes much longer. The song has real depth too, with the lyrics being taken off the page and transformed into a short story. Rich’s unmistakable vocal comes with a style not unlike Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and in some places it could be said it reminds me of some of The Pogues later material; particularly the “Peace & Love” era. This vocal is accompanied by a beautiful combination of piano, tenor sax and understated guitars with gentle but effective rhythms.

The next tune “A Postcard From The Ocean” came from an idea, which was based a little bit on Rich’s own story of escaping Salisbury for Hollywood and how a small-town mentality can lock you into going nowhere. Whilst it is essentially Rich’s story of the home town; “Valentine”, Cherry County, Nebraska is right in the centre of the US, which is about as far from the ocean as you can get – it has a population of around 2000 people. It’s a story of a guy who steps out and fulfils his dream of living by the ocean, whilst everybody back home is doing “the same old, same old”. The track is quite different from the first with it kicking off with a nautical Tenor Sax reminding me of “The Beautiful Briny”; the childhood classic “Bedknobs & Broomsticks”, another tune with an oceanic theme. Rich’s voice once again excels and drifts along telling the story with the dominating Sax, coupled with more light Jazz-infused infectious rhythms.

The two tracks seem to be the start of something special, with the collection of a quartet of talented musicians who will grow and create beautifully together. They I’m sure have a host of interesting narrative stories to tell and a full long playing record from where we can listen sometime in the not too distance future.

Band Members
Rich Atkinson – Guitar/Vocals
Georgie Rodriguez – Bass/Vocals
Richard Quinton – Tenor Sax
Andy East – Piano


Words by David Chinery (Chinners)

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