at www.RARWRITER.com      

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Volume 1-2019




What happened to the list?

As the CCJ transitions to a model better geared to leverage social networks, we are moving away from our past use of email notification services. If you would like to be added to our internal email distribution, please send your request to Rick@RARWRITER.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, which we will use to keep you notified of new features and news articles.


ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.



Use the RARADIO link to go to our radio page, where you will hear songs you are not likely to hear elsewhere.



"Music Hot Spots"




























Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page


CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively called ATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance is the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel











I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.



If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves at NOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.






This is the landing page and a starting place to browse through  RAR tunes. Biographical information is provided on this page, as are links to additional pages where you will find original compositions, mostly recorded in my PC-based home studio on Cakewalk's Sonar Producer software. In addition to RAR originals, you will find information on special projects, such as the CD presented below, as well as biographical information.



RAR Background 


Like many people my age, I started playing music in 1964 - about a week after first seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.

I was eleven years old. My dad rented an electric guitar from a downtown Denver music store as part of a package deal that included lessons. So, I spent one summer in a little practice room with a couple amplifiers and a country western lounge lizard learning the basics of pick and strum, before trading in the rental (and the lessons) for a guitar of my own. (For the record, the guitar my dad bought for me was a Les Paul Junior, 1959-60 vintage, the finest playing guitar I have ever been stupid enough to eventually part with.) 

I started playing around the neighborhood with similarly inspired guys, a practice that would continue through high school and college and on into my adult life, and I started writing songs.

My parents were in their early 20s when I was born and the radio was on a lot in our house as I was growing up. I recall hearing Jimmy Rogers, The Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Roger Miller and Skeeter Davis. There was a sparse but eclectic collection of LPs around the house, ranging from Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and The Platters to Marty Robbins and Burl Ives. The first LP I ever owned was "Meet the Beatles," the stateside analog to their "With the Beatles" U.K. debut album. (My grandparents gifted me with a 45 RPM of Jim Reeves' 1958 recording of "Billy Billy Bayou," which was probably my first adult record.) Denver radio went through the folk era playing The Kingston Trio, then Leslie Gore, Gene Pitney, Roy Orbison, and The Beach Boys crowded them out and The Beatles made them disappear altogether.

My backdoor neighbor Mike Miller started playing the drums around the time I started on the guitar and we very quickly established ourselves as "rock'n roll stars" in the neighborhood. The two of us would do shows in his back yard, and most especially in the back yard of a neighborhood girl named Jeannie Gregg. Her family happened to have a back yard that had the shape of a natural outdoor theatre, with seating on the grass hillside overlooking the stage area below. We would charge neighborhood kids a quarter, dime, nickel -- anything they had. And we would play Beatles songs or any simple thing we could manage. Then we would sign autographs. We were in the sixth grade at the time, still able to make believe and sweep our younger neighbors right along with us in our fantasy stardom.

My musical aspirations took a hit when my parents moved our family away from Denver and to a small Kansas farming community. I did my best to export it as best I could, though I hadn't exactly moved into a hot bed of rock culture. I did find some guys with guitars and drums, most notably my high school classmate David Domsch. We would get together on weekends, usually at his house, and practice. I remember playing Gloria by Van Morrison's band Them, and The Animals' version of House of the Rising Sun, Paint It Black by the Stones, You Really Got Me by the Kinks, and I'm a Man by The Yardbirds. Sometimes somebody's parents would be out of town overnight and we would play at their spur of the moment house parties, sometimes with an older guy named Skip McCain who played the drums. We weren't magic. In fact, a common rejoinder from my local detractors, when I would opine on which popular bands were good and which weren't. was -- "Well they're better than the Rice-Domsch band!" You can imagine our prospects.

The first rock concert I ever attended was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, at the coliseum in Denver in 1970. They were awful, but they had an effect on me. During my college years I was overtaken by an unfortunate fixation with acoustic folk-rock. I had been quite a Dylan and Simon & Garfunkle fan already -- in fact had lived in that Bookends album after being parted from my first crush, the burgeoning artist Elizabeth Kay (at left, see the links page.).

By the time I went off to college in the fall of 1970, The Beatles had broken up, Hendrix and Joplin died in September and October of that year, and Jim Morrison was within months of joining them and The Doors had waned anyway. As far as I was concerned rock music was dead. I was no fan of Led Zeppelin and the heavy metal that was starting to surface, and wasn't even aware of the avant garde Velvet Underground and other such acts on the east coast (who might have saved me). I had drifted into a neo-hippie bliss, which was easy because Lawrence, Kansas in the early 1970s was a very hippie-trippie place, even if the last vestiges of the "movement" were a little suffused with wistfulness. There was still a lot of "love" and "brotherhood" in the air. I fell in with a large group of hippie musicians, and we would get high, listen to Joni Mitchell's Blue album and think in sweetly poetic ways. Those were wonderful days. Cat Stevens became a personal favorite, as did James Taylor. I was drifting dangerously close to the mellow shoals. I was also drifting dangerously close to people who had more talent than I did. There was one guy, in particular, who had mastered a note-by-note cover of Jimi Hendrix' classic Star Spangled Banner solo, complete with descending bombs and explosions, and he had this big Marshall amp, which I wasn't likely to get, and I got scared and went acoustic.

At Richard's Music, in Lawrence, I traded a 1959 or 1960 Gibson Les Paul Junior, plus cash, for a 1969 Martin D12-20, to the gentleman pictured on the right -- Richard Petrovits, known primarily as  "The Stomper." "Stomp," as we called him for short, owned this local guitar shop where all the local players would get equipment. He was a teddy bear of a guy who lavished attention on me whenever I would go in there, usually with my girlfriend at the time, Valerie Hale (pictured on the left), who was a knockout along the lines of Tuesday Weld. Oh did Stomp love to see me.

 Anyway, we "partnered" on what  was surely one of the most short-sighted (on my part) transactions ever known to man. You cannot now get even a hammered 1959 or 1960 Gibson Les Paul Junior for less than $3,700, but you can get a stinking D12-20 for...oh never mind. Let me just say that I didn't even get the girl.

I didn't have a guitar other than that stupid 12-string for the remainder of the 1970s, which seriously hampered my development as a guitarist. It was rekindled in the 1980s when I purchased a Gibson ES-335, with a neck that recalled (but was not as good as) that of my beloved LP Junior. During the 1970s I played in public rarely and almost always as a solo or in acoustic duos. Music, like everything else about the '70s, was holding little appeal for me. I was veering more toward being a writer and was working on publications anyway. I recognized that there was a crossover between my musical and literary ambitions -- I had always been more of a songwriter than a musician -- but the life style of a solitary writer suited my introverted nature more than being a musician. Musicians are often extroverted, and I tended to go unnoticed in that company. While there is a part of me who enjoys showing off in front of people, I am not a natural performer. I'm not even a big fan of live music, more of a "record man."

Being a record man has kept me a part of the music community, and my enthusiasm for songwriting and for playing instruments, especially the guitar, have kept me in to music. It is a huge part of my life. Some guys fish, some golf, some garden, and I write and record music. I am, by temperament, a producer.

* * * * *

In my music I strive to build songs around melody, though some of my most effective are "dumber" than that. I strive to avoid cliché musically and lyrically, even knowing that cliché is really at the heart of making things "radio friendly."  I endeavor to paint a sonic landscape, to the extent that my technical skills allow. I attempt to create a mood, to tell a story, usually with humor, and I can't help but be ironic.


To me The Beatles remain in a class of their own. Everything about them was just cool, from their wide musical range to the graphic design of their logo to their dark early look.

They seemed so comfortable within themselves that it elevated their music. Critically, I believe they have suffered a bit with the Fred Astaire syndrome, which is to say that they made it look too easy. By the time we in the states saw them they had been playing together professionally for years, and doing it in hard places. I always thought it ironic that between The Beatles, who sort of played the clean cut rockers, and the Rolling Stones, who portrayed the bad boy image, it was The Beatles who were the true working class heroes. (I don't think, for instance, that either Mick Jagger or Keith Richards would have fared well in a street fight with John Lennon.)

For those who doubted the individual Beatles' musical virtuosity, Paul McCartney probably didn't do the band any favors by mounting the Let It Be movie, which has scenes of them struggling through the process of birthing new material. As a musician, I found it inspirational, but detractors could get stuck on the parts where they struggle. It is in McCartney's amazing hubris to expose the innards of his music machine. 

As songwriters, I think both Lennon and McCartney paid tribute to legacy and tradition, which I think was key to their charm. Lennon was musically responsive to R&B and rock'n roll, but equally powerful were his connections to Lewis Carroll and Salvadore Dali. So, you got songs like Lucy In the Sky, To the Benefit of Mr. Kite and I Am the Walrus along with Revolution and Happiness Is A Warm Gun. McCartney always seemed in homage to musical theatre and to the tradition of the variety show. So, you got songs like Good Day Sunshine and When I'm Sixty-Four along with I'm Down and Oh Darling. George Harrison, on the other hand, wrote like a guitar student, driven by romantic progressions and, in every song, some signature voicing of a principle chord. Pick any Harrison song. The resulting Beatles' songbook is so rich it is staggering. There are other great oeuvres, but to me none match The Beatles' in range and general likeability.





The RAR Music pages are divided over several sections:

Music by RAR Originals

Music by RAR Favorites

Music by RAR Covers

Equipment used in these recordings:

Gibson ES-335

1967 Fender Deluxe Reverb Amplifier

Fender "Jeff Beck" Stratocaster

Cakewalk - Sonar Producer Digital Recording Software and Plug-Ins

Rickenbacker 330-12

Yamaha MG16/6FX Mixer

Gibson J-150 Jumbo

Digitech RP200 Effects

Martin D12-20

TubePac Pre-Amp/ Compressor

Epiphone Broadway

Tascam US-122 Interface

Epiphone Viola Bass

Behringer B-1 Condenser Mic

Nylon String Guitar








Copyright © September, 2019 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)