Tompkins Square is proud to release two solo acoustic guitar albums by Rick Deitrick, out August 25th. Gentle Wilderness was released as a private press LP in 1978. River Sun River Moon consists of previously unreleased recordings from the same time period. Deitrick came to our attention via Brooks Rice and Michael Klausman, who compiled Imaginational Anthem Vol 8 : The Private Press, which features Rick’s “Missy Christa” from Gentle Wilderness.
Ohio-born Rick Deitrick took up the guitar at 16 and decided to approach his playing as if he was the only guy on an island and the instrument had just washed ashore one day. According to Rick, “I completely divorced my playing from any formal music knowledge, but it was very important to me to use original tuning. During those years, the sixties/seventies, there was a lot of acoustic guitar playing, often using open tuning as a base. I wanted to create whole tones without de-tuning and keep access to the complex sounds stock tuning provided.”
Rick pressed 500 copies of his tranquil solo guitar record, Gentle Wilderness, in 1978 on Niodrara Records, and sold many at performances and directly to music shops who would pay for them. He gave copies to various libraries and left a few albums in the middle of the wilderness, next to trails, “so people would find them.” Rick sought inspiration in nature and in particular the various rivers scattered around the Western United States, often composing songs seated beside them - and even occasionally perched on boulders in them. He never played the songs the same way twice and did two passes on each composition in studio. Rick would sometimes literally come straight out of the mountains and rush to the studio to record the ideas he’d gathered. “Missy Christa” was recorded at Mount Olympus studio in Hollywood and was named after Rick’s daughter; it was originally composed right next to the Big Sur River where he had been camping.
Rick currently resides in Los Angeles, “still strumming, waiting for the other shoe to drop.”