Rick Nease has crafted a thoroughly professional, emotionally satisfying set of six pop songs that sounds better than just about anything being played in Toledo on the radio right now.
But that doesn't mean a regional artist whose music mines the complex terrain of grown-up relationships pines for mainstream play on the heavily formatted radio stations that rule the airwaves.
"It's more of an artistic expression and creative venue for me as opposed to 'OK, here's my product. How am I going to shop it?'●" he said. "No one's going to sign it, there are a lot prettier people out there than me. I just make music from my heart and I love it."
Nease's disc, "Love + Consequence," is an old-fashioned EP, a reminder of a time when artists put out albums that only had half the material of a full-length "long player."
"I could offer the music at a little bit less money and get it into more hands and to more people," he said, explaining the release's brevity. "A lot of people just pick out a few songs anyway for downloading."
He'll unveil the songs, and plenty more, tomorrow night for a CD release party at Club Bijou.
The tunes cover a gamut of styles ranging from classic Beatles songcraft to power pop to sophisticated arrangements that pack catchy hooks into their melodies.
A veteran of Toledo's music scene for a number of years, the 50-year-old Nease was most recently in BadMonkey. The group received a fair amount of attention regionally and recorded one disc, but never took off, breaking up a few years ago.
Nease, who is art director for the Detroit Free Press, was at a loss for what to do, but he joined Toledoan E.J. Wells' band and played rhythm guitar for awhile, enjoying his time playing someone else's songs.
Then he hooked up with Jason Kuehn, who produced BadMonkey's disc and started recording a few demos that eventually flowered into full-blown tunes. Wells helped him out with backup vocals, bass, and guitar work on the disc.
It took about a year to record as Nease worked around his job, serious eye problems (he has retinitis pigmentosa), and finding studio time. Now that he has "Love + Consequence" finished, he's eager to move on to new songs with the Rick Nease Band, which he wants to complete over the next six months.
Tomorrow he plans to play old BadMonkey tunes, tracks from the new disc, and some of the newer unrecorded material.
He said he's not concerned about scoring a recording contract or a "deal" that would provide greater distribution for his work.
"If you don't do it for the music and you don't do it for the love," Nease said, "then you shouldn't do it."
To hear a couple of Nease's songs, go to www.toledoblade. com.
The Rick Nease Band performs during a CD release party tomorrow night in Club Bijou, 209 North Superior St. Doors open at 8, and the show starts at 9:30. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. Nease will sell copies of his disc for $5 at the show and they will be available there before becoming available for $5.99 at local CD stores, online at www.ricknease.com, or on iTunes. Information: www.ricknease.com.
Contact Rod Lockwood at: firstname.lastname@example.org