When it comes to putting out a compilation of music, many of those compilations come to be as a way of keeping a band or musician relevant and in the eye of the music-buying public. But sometimes, the thought of putting together an album of previously-released material comes from just having a good idea. This is where singer-songwriter Ric Seaberg comes in.

 

Over the years, Portland, Oregon-based Ric Seaberg has written several albums of music. Within those albums, Seaberg has covered many topics, one of which happens to be cars. One song here, one there, the songs kept accumulating within the normal writing process until one day when Seaberg decided it would be a good idea to compile each of those car-themed songs onto one release with each track devoted to transportation. The resulting release is Ric Seaberg’s 2015 album entitled Vehicular Tuneage

 

The newest release from Ric Seaberg begins with his most notable track, “We Talk about Cars”. The track features a musical style that would go well with the car songs from the 1960s from the likes of The Beach Boys and/or Jan & Dean. The track contains a little humor in the lyrics as Seaberg compares men and women: When women get together, they talk about things like the kids, their jobs, fashion, and gossip. Men, on the other hand, get together and talk about…cars. Just one listen to the track will let you know why the track became Seaberg’s most played track after being played National Public Radio’s “Car Talk”. 

 

Tracks like “Little Volvo” and “In My Daddy’s Car” find Seaberg writing from personal experience. These and other tracks on the release find Seaberg bringing the human touch to the writing process of his songs. The aforementioned tracks bring the listener closer to Seaberg as you start to relate to what is being sung about in these songs. There is even a song about taking the dog for a ride in the car called “The Bichon Song”.

 

While most of the tracks on Vehicular Tuneage find Ric Seaberg in a humorous mood, the track “Jesus Didn’t Have a Car” is different as it finds Seaberg in a more reflective mood. Having probably based the track on the “WWJD (What Would Jesus Drive)” bumper stickers, “Jesus Didn’t Have a Car” examines how Jesus’ life would have been different IF he simply had a car. Seaberg handles the topic with a bit of humor so that the track does not end up being too serious.

Speaking of humor, with the track “That’s One Heck of an RV Park,” Seaberg seems to create a statement that is very reminiscent of a Jeff Foxworthy comedy routine. While the track is not all that funny, you can slightly hear Foxworthy’s humor in the track.


With the track “Didn’t Say ‘I Love You’ Right,” Ric Seaberg brings the humor back to the album in a big way. Based on a letter which was read over the NPR airwaves, “Didn’t Say ‘I Love You’ Right” examines the different ways men and women express their love towards each other…with some very humorous results.

 

Although most of the tracks on Vehicular Tuneage contain something to do with cars, Ric Seaberg has written songs around other forms of transportation, as well. Tracks like “I Don’t drive,” “Don’t Drive Your Car in the Bike Lane” and “I Need a Car” make sure those of us who live day-to-day without the use of a car don’t get left out when listening to the release. In fact, the tracks about bicycles and those who ride them are the reasons why the album is called Vehicular Tuneage

The new release from Ric Seaberg comes to a close with a very familiar tune. In 2015, Seaberg recorded a new, slightly updated version of “We Talk about Cars”. The newly-recorded version of the song helps to encapsulate the album nicely as it and the original version of the tune bookend the release.

 

When “travelling” through the songs that make up Vehicular Tuneage from Ric Seaberg, the listener is presented with a compilation album that feels as fun, varied and unique as anything put together by Barry “Dr. Demento” Hansen for Rhine Records. In fact, several of the tracks from the Vehicular Tuneage release could have easily appeared on The Dr. Demento Show because of the humor included in the tracks. From the NPR-inspired “Didn’t Say ‘I Love You’ Right” to the very suggestive track “Woodie,” and most notably “We Talk about Cars,” each of those tracks could easily fit on that program. The Vehicular Tuneage release from Ric Seaberg is a lot of fun for car enthusiasts, as well as those who like their music with just a bit of humor and light-heartedness to it.         

 

Artist: Ric Seaberg

Album: Vehicular Tuneage

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: ***** (five stars)

 

 

Artist:  Ric Seaberg

Album Title:  Consciousness

Reviewed by: Kelly O’Neil

Unlike Weird Al Yankovich who parodies existing songs, Ric Seaberg tackles life’s ironies with original bemusing ditties.  A rock veteran from the heyday of creative music composition, Seaberg’s songs are not only chock full of clever, real world lyrics but are extremely listener friendly.

Despite the warmth of the voice and instruments these two entities sound like they were recorded in different rooms.  The blend is good but there is a hint of separation where the two sound layered as opposed to intertwined.  Regardless, the musicianship on the entire album is tight with happy times rockabilly flavor.  Consciousness opens with a mellow blend of electric guitar and rock organ in “The Blessing and Curse of Consciousness”  setting the stage for a host of interesting and occasionally bizarre real world observations such as the simplistic thoughts of canines and penguins compared to the complex and worrisome frets of humans.

Seaberg takes a stab at humorously extoling the virtues of aging in “The Pee Bottle Song” including the joyous realities of incontinence, anti-inflammatory medication and support braces.  The guitar work in the extended coda keeps the mood light.  With the addition of vocal effects, “I Need Friends” comes off as a Tom Petty type number with its straight ahead beat about the materialistic influence of winning companions with cannabis, overpriced food and flashy automobiles – all completely tongue-in-cheek of course.

Delving into less serious scenarios, the Oregon rocker explains how his paycheck is laboriously earned in “The Coffee Song” in order to quench his thirst for the exotic offerings of Starbucks which he lists in the chorus.  Seaberg’s patient wife Marie makes a cameo appearance on “Fourth Meal” sighing as her husband gets geared up to make a late night Taco Bell run in this Jimmy Buffet island influenced tune.  Saxophonist Dan Schauffler adds a raunchy Jersey shore sound to “Man Cave Sunday” where the guys watch football on the big screen TV and gorge on beer and nachos.  Seaberg employs harmonious vocal layering in the coda of “That’s One Hell of an RV Park” complimenting everything from the swimming pool to the hip lot neighbors.

The songs continue to get more inane as the album progresses.  The driving beat of “Bitchin’ Camaro” is all about trying to find a plausible rhyme scheme for the car such as sparrow, pharaoh and tarot.  In the bluegrass tinged “Mayhem at the Guggenheim” an exhibit is accidentally trampled on at the modern art museum complete with an enthusiastic “Yee-haw!”   Arguably the most amusing track has to be “The Remote Control Fart Machine” with the chorus, “It’s a gas / I got class / There’s emissions coming out your ass.”  Enough said.

Amidst the silliness Seaberg does have a serious side.  In the acoustic ballad “Obsess Over You” he decides to cease fixating his thoughts on germs, reality TV, frozen water pipes and carbohydrates and instead focus on his lover.  It is a sweet sediment albeit delivered in a rather strange way.  “One Day in My Life” is a perspective song that no matter how cruddy a day can be rife with a car accident, lost wallet, broken washing machine and the passing of your dog, it is only one day and all you can do is move on.  The saxophone work on this closing number adds a melodic countermelody to the song.

From the arenas of the Pacific Northwest back in the 1970’s to the present day airwaves of NPR, Seaberg’s music has already been enjoyed across the country.  With his latest full length offering Consciousness he once again delights listeners with his lackadaisical world views, smart eccentric lyrics and solid rock and roll.  As long as the NSAIDs keep the guitarist’s arthritis at bay, hopefully Seaberg will continue to churn out lots more entertaining antidotes.

Review by Kelly O’Neil

Rating:  5 stars (out of 5)

 

 

 

I should have reviewed this fine, fun CD a long time ago (the reasons I didn’t are many and too self-indulgent to bore you with here) but better late than never (I hope.) Ric Seaberg is such an affable and talented singer-songwriter that it’s almost impossible to listen to his music and not feel like smiling (and bobbing your head and dancing happily even…and maybe especially… when you’re all alone…try to resist the effortless bounce of the playfully rueful “Why Didn’t I Think of That?”, you’re a stronger person than I if you can :-) A Thousand Songs is filled with charming love songs (name checking Richard Thompson on the wistful “When I Come Home” made me smile knowingly) and fanciful “real guy” ditties (that word used with unapologetic affection for the tunes…the grand ode “My New Truck” was featured on one of my favorite radio pleasures, NPR’s warm and wacky Car Talk and as football season comes back he makes me realize that I want a “Big TV” too :-) with Ric’s solid, unpretentious vocals ably supported by warm and sometimes muscular (but never overwhelming) musical backing (a special tip of the hat to Tim Ellis who plays some mighty fine guitar on all of the tracks including the jaunty “One More Beatles Song”, a tune that in a better world would be booming from car stereos all over the country on these bright summer’s days) and sweet harmonies. A Thousand Songs is a lovely record for a summer’s day…full of unabashed and unapologetic love and passion, fun and wit, lovely melodies and heartfelt vocals…a lovely record anytime for anyone who likes their rockin’ pop music to be real and engaging and smile-inducing. (Links to Ric's page (you can hear audio of the title track at the second link) and to the page of his music sold by my pals at CD Baby (tell 'em I sent ya...you won't get any discounts or anything but it may make them laugh :-) are included in the body of the piece above.)
RadioIndy is pleased to present Ric Seaberg with a GrIndie Award for the CD "A Thousand Songs" Veteran songwriter Ric Seaberg takes listeners for a musical journey through his life and much more on “A Thousand Songs.” Overall, Seaberg’s songs are very reminiscent of late 70’s Jackson Browne, both in his vocal approach and melodies. The Browne influence can be heard throughout the disc, but is most recognizable on “The Queen of Hollywood High” and “In My Daddy’s Car.” There are also some faint hints of John Lennon and Warren Zevon scattered about as well. Seaberg also touches upon the subject of divorce in songs such as “Make it About Me” and “Smiley Emoticon.” His ability to write openly about his life experiences and feelings makes it very easy for any listener to attach themselves to these great songs. Any Jackson Browne or Brian Wilson fan will be spinning “A Thousand Songs” over and over again.
Volvos in a rock song? For those who think safe, Swedish cars are only for when one's rock and roll days are over, pay attention, for you have succumbed to one of the many stereotypes cultivated in rock music about the cool of driving fast and reckless. Singer Ric Seaberg shatters such foolish notions in his 2003 song, "Little Volvo." Musically, the song is built on a reggae-influenced, upbeat groove, while carried by the 4/4 rhythm of a standard rock song. The beat is infused with a guitar riff that is both mellow and energetic like a 35 mph drive down a winding, backcountry road (braking appropriately for turns and paying attention to all traffic signals, of course) Thus, Ric creates a sound that has hints of both Tom Petty and Paul Simon, yet is thoroughly unique. Lyrically, Seaberg is as solid as a sonnet. The first two verses provide an encyclopedic survey of cliches from rock songs that praise life in the fast lane, from the Beach Boys "Little Deuce Coupe" to Commander Cody's "Hot Rod Lincoln," simultaneously deconstructing such myths about the fun of fast driving by pairing them with their deadly consequences. The chorus and the finishing bridge then provide a resolution, praising the safety features of a Volvo, from air bags, (front and side), to traction control, to its resistance to rolling in a crash. "Little Volvo," which has received air-play on NPR's hallowed institution Car Talk with Click and Clack, creates a new cool for car owners that places brain above brawn, and safety over speed. But, as a loyal Volvo owner and Rolling reader, you already had that mindset. "Little Volvo" appears on Ric's CD "Santa Monica" available from www.cdbaby.com and www.amazon.com.
One of the coolest byproducts of surfing the "blogoverse" (or whatever the heck it's going to end up being called) for me is discovering music that I would otherwise never get a chance to hear, enjoy, and embrace. Discovering the music of the ever-delightful Last Girl on Earth was a grand treat, and this CD is another welcome addition to my ever-burgeoning music collection. Years ago, a wonderful record by Nick Lowe was re-titled Pure Pop for Now People because the American record company thought the original British title, Jesus of Cool, might have proven problematic here in the States (can't imagine why...:-) Whatever the origin, I love the phrase...pure pop for now people...and I like to use to refer to rockin' pop records that I really like. Ric Seaberg's Santa Monica is, in all of the positive aspects of the phrase, pure pop for now people. It's sunny and warm...with wordplay that is often witty (and sometimes delightfully silly) and occasionally sweetly poignant...and it rocks with easy, melodic aplomb from the tasty lilt of the clever title track through the funny "Jesus Didn't Have a Car" and the bittersweet "Family Asshole Void" all the way to the lovely Christmas song that is the unlisted 16th track on the disc. If cornered to describe it, I would say to try to imagine a less acerbic Warren Zevon fronting a harder-rocking version of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band...Seaberg is no copycat, I'm just trying to get across the touchpoints that come into my head as I groove to his music. Pure...rockin' and engaging...pop indeed.
RIC SEABERG – A THOUSAND SONGS Liedjesschrijven is misschien wel het enige wat Portland’s singer-songwriter Ric Seaberg echt goed kan doen. In de voorbije 10 jaar leverde hij 8 cd’s af met daarop steeds een zo goed gevuld mogelijk assortiment van verse songs. Het mag dan ook niet verbazen dat nummer 8 in de rij “A Thousand Songs” weliswaar geen 1000 liedjes bundelt maar met twintig tracks komt hij toch al aardig boven het normale gemiddelde uit. Ric Seaberg is een rocker in hart en nieren. Al sinds de beginjaren ’60 trad hij op als frontman bij diverse rockbands in het Amerikaanse Noordwesten. Zijn bekendste formatie was ‘The Morning Reign’ waarmee hij podia deelde met o.a. The Doors, Guess Who, The Cream, The Animals en The Spencer Davis Group. Mede daardoor is het eigenlijk onbegrijpelijk dat deze muzikant nooit een vedettenstatus heeft kunnen verwerven. Maar eigenlijk is dat ook het laatste wat hij in zijn leven zou ambiëren. Daarvoor is zijn relatief anonieme bestaan met vrouwtje en zoon in Portland voor hem te belangrijk. Zijn door blues en country geïnspireerde pop- en rocknummers puilen uit van humoristische kwinkslagen en cynische teksten. Menig keer betrap je er jezelf op dat je zachtjes zit te gniffelen bij het aanhoren van sommige grappige songteksten. Op “A Thousand Songs” gidst Ric Seaberg de luisteraar doorheen zijn leven en zijn vele anekdotes en herinneringen werden in spontane en eerlijke no-nonsense teksten neergeschreven vooraleer ze op een bedje van stuwende rock en gitaarmuziek werden opgenomen voor deze cd. Qua stijl worden in de pers wel eens vergelijkingen gemaakt met Jackson Browne die met groter succes eenzelfde genre wist te bespelen. Een goede melodie, verzorgde zang en een knappe productie vormen het handelsmerk van deze artiest. Gitarist Tim Ellis heeft Ric Seaberg op al zijn ooit verschenen platen begeleid en heeft doorheen de jaren lief en leed met hem gedeeld. Ook op dit album is Tim Ellis weer overal opvallend aanwezig met verzorgd en sterk gitaarspel. Ric Seaberg neemt een vliegende start met het ijzersterke en hitgevoelige “Hear Me!” en het grappige verhaal van zijn eerste tumultueuze ritje “In My Daddy’s Car”. De vergelijking met Jackson Browne zou men kunnen staven op basis van de songs “Smiley Emoticon” en “The Queen Of Hollywood High” waar Seaberg’s stem zeer nauw aansluit bij die van Jackson Browne. Om de diversiteit te borgen en de verveling tegen te gaan plaatste Ric Seaberg enkele hoogkwalitatieve ballads tussen de rocknummers en ook in die rustigere songs etaleert hij zijn vocale capaciteiten. Hoogtepunt is daarbij het door mooie accordeonklanken begeleide “When I Come Home” maar ook “A Song Named You”, “Go There” en “Make It About Me” over een echtscheiding verdienen een eervolle vermelding in deze recensie. Afgesloten wordt deze cd met het nummer “Arch Enemy” dat vol zit met gevloek en verwijten en daardoor eigenlijk tot het grappigste lied wordt gebombardeerd. Ter afsluiting willen we ook nog even vertellen dat de eerste track op dit album een geluidsopname van 37 seconden is die in 1951 door zijn moeder werd gemaakt van de driejarige kleuter Ric Seaberg die “The Lone Ranger Song” al hakkelend zingt. Zij zal toen wel nog niet beseft hebben dat haar zoontje zo’n goede zanger zou worden en zich met acht albums in de onsterfelijkheid zou zingen. (valsam) www.rootstime.be
Hello: Just found your site today via one of those blog exposure sites, (Blog Explosion I think it was), and have been reading some of your past entries. Everyone has their own reasons for writing and not all actually are too concerned with what the public thinks about said writing but I felt compelled to share with you that I think your writing is fantastic. It's not many who know the true art behind the word; often times they lack the education about sentence structure, grammar or even description. I read a lot and while I may not be the best writer, I do know a good, top quality writer when I read them and you are a quality writer. You give just the right amount of descriptive narrative; not over doing it, not under doing it, that makes this reader able to walk along with you in your story. It's so rare to find that on an internet web site. It's a joy, a pearl, a refreshing drink of water in an otherwise dusty and harsh landscape. Basically, your blog is very enjoyable to read. Thank you for sharing your stories and ideas. That's all. Ciao

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