Header image  
"Cottage City Firehouse"  
"Cottage City Firehouse" Exclusive Review


Rich Eckhardt


Rich Eckhardt is no stranger to diversity.  Playing styles from rock and roll to country and playing with legends such as Ted Nugent and Toby Keith his guitar work and the complexity of his playing is intriguing.  Rich’s latest solo effort is called “Cottage City Firehouse” and includes several different styles and samplings that can only be described as a guitarist’s CD for the guitarist.  With numerous colossal riffs and melodies, this CD could be the instructional ‘book’ by which all aspiring guitarists should study.  In this exclusive interview with Rich, we break down each song and learn more about the inspirations and the technology that put each masterpiece together.  When questioning Rich about what song best captures his ‘style’ of playing, his response was “Two songs actually.  ‘Long Way Home’ represents every style of guitar playing that I love and ‘Shelby and Puppy’ would be the other because when I play the acoustic guitar; it’s just me”.  Check out samples of all these songs at Rich’s Website http://www.richeckhardt.com and pick up the album.  Detroit Music Notes rates this album as a must have! 




Bldg. 55


The cool thing about this song is that I played every track with my Paul Reed Smith Swamp Ash Special guitar. I did change amplifiers for different tones. It was something that I always wanted to experiment with and it really worked out. I got a variety of different tones by using a combination of different amps but the same guitar. The Swamp Ash has three pickups with a 5 way selector switch; so it was able to offer many options for tones. The song itself is a very hard driven guitar tune that was written about an experience a couple of years ago when we were in Baghdad entertaining the US Troops. You could hear the gunfights in the distance all day long in every direction and you knew that you were literally in the middle of the war. After dark, there was a lot of commotion with helicopters taking off and landing etc… The US Troops had taken over Saddam’s palaces and made them into offices and VIP quarters. We were staying in his old lake house and the helicopters were circling the manmade lake with spotlights shining on the edge of the lake. The light literally passed right over my feet as I stood at the edge of this water. I didn‘t know at the time, but earlier a US Soldier had washed ashore on the beach and a couple more of his buddies were still MIA. So they were searching the lake to find the other soldiers. I still don’t know if they were ever found. It was a very intense experience being that close to the war with that much action going on right on top of
me. The song Bldg. 55 was named for the house that we stayed in. When the military took over they labeled the buildings by painting stencil numbers outside of the door and we were in building number 55.




Chicken Fingers


I wanted to write something that was a little bit more country for this album. Because of my association with Toby Keith I was able to do a lot of interviews with country radio to support the first CD but there was nothing country on it for them to play. I wanted to put one of those chicken picking kind of things on there and this is what I came up with. I am playing a U.S. Masters Super T. It is outfitted with humbucker pickups which gives it a little bit more edge than a regular Telecaster with single lipstick pickups. That song took some work for me because I‘m not a chicken picking kind of guy so it‘s all just faking it. If I can get something underneath my fingers, I can play it. I really had to work on it to get what I was hearing in my head at that speed. I tried to slow the tempo down in that song and I actually recorded it twice once at the slower tempo but I just didn‘t like it slower so I had to learn to play it at that speed.


Cottage City Firehouse


There is actually a Cottage City Firehouse; or at least there was. I grew up in Maryland and so did guitar virtuoso Danny Gatton. After doing some research I found out that the first place that Danny Gatton had ever played when he was only 12 years old was the Cottage City Firehouse. The song Cottage City Firehouse is a tribute to him. I didn‘t get to work in all of the tricks that he does but I did capture some of the kind of manic telecaster vibe that he was notorious for. I also brought in Toby‘s horn section and they just added a whole new life to this song. When I was working on this project, I had no idea what I was going to call the album until they put the horn parts on Firehouse. From that moment on I knew I would call it Cottage City Firehouse.


Redshift 6.1

Redshift is actually a measurement taken by astrologers when you can’t physically see an object spinning around a star but there is a certain amount of pull that happens with the light that appears through their telescopes. It is a shifting of that light. The faster the light shifts the higher the number. The beginning of the song I visualized taking off and going through our solar system then you break out in open space and that is where the breakdown occurs. When you get toward the end of the song you are entering a new solar system and experiencing a whole new world. On this song I used my old Guild S-100 guitar. It was the first good electric guitar that I owned. I picked it up brand new in 1974 at a little mom and pop music store I actually played that guitar for a long time just on the neck pickup because I didn‘t have enough money to fix or replace the bridge pickup when it fried on me. Eventually, I did replace it with a Seymore Duncan pickup and it gave that guitar a whole new life. When it came to the tone I ran it thru my GT-8 which is my floor pedal board and the drive comes directly from my Custom Coupe amp.



Seizenheimer Strasse 9

This song is very special to me. The title is the address where my Mother is buried. I went to visit her burial place one time and the florists were all closed but the cemetery had a vending machine where you could buy candles. So I went and bought a candle and placed it on her grave. When I came back the next day with some flowers the candle was still burning. I had this vision of this little candle being the only light in the cemetery glowing all through the night. It really struck me as inspiring. I used a Gibson 165 guitar and went thru a Pod Pro with a little bit of delay for the melody. An interesting fact is that I recorded that song at 4am after being up all day. I have a tendency to push meter a little bit. I don‘t really play ahead of the beat but I play on top of it. On this song I really needed to be behind the beat so I made sure I was good and tired and set some mood lighting.



Shelby and Puppy

Shelby and Puppy are my dogs. I am convinced that Shelby is my one true love in life. I absolutely adore that dog. I wrote a song for my dogs because I’ve had them for so long. I’ve had Shelby for 13 years and they have brought so much joy and happiness to me. I wanted to write something for them just because of the admiration that I have for them and their ability to make people happy. I think it‘s the best written song on the album. On it I programmed the bass guitar completely. There is not a bass player on it. It is an upright bass sound that I just clicked and dragged every note and placed it where I wanted it. It seems to have Actual feel to it.





The Long Way Home

This song musically comes across as a Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora meets a watered down Steve Vai kind of thing. Kind of a Poppy chord progression with a strong melody. I started playing around with the drum tracks and chord progression, the melody came later. There is a middle riff in this song that sort of resembles a Jimi Hendrix double stop riff. It kind of sounds like Hendrix and it also sounds like Eric Johnson. I had this riff for a while and I was building on the chord progression and incorporated the riff.



The Hudson Strut

This may sound rather silly but I don‘t think music was meant to be danced to. However, I did want to put somewhat of a dance tune on this album. It seems to be a catchy melody and it’s a very simple song. Technically one of the things I did on this track was to play this song without a guitar pick similar to what Jeff Beck has developed. I am pulling on the string rather than plucking it to get the sound that I wanted. It’s a more aggressive attack. I played a Stratocaster that I have had since the 1980s.




Instrumental music has always appealed to me. When I hear old classics like Tequila I realize how strong some melodies can be and that they don‘t need lyrics to keep your attention. Tequila is such a catch melody I’m sure that in one hundred fifty years radio will still be playing it. I wanted to do an updated version to this song. I changed the beat a little and added a some more flavor to it.



Sling Shot

I have a buddy who used to own a race team and I was messing around with something that he could use as a theme. I ended up coming up with this song. Funny thing is that he doesn‘t even have his team anymore now that I have the song. Some of the cool stuff on this song is that I used several guitars for texture. There is a spot in the middle where it sounds like engines revving and tires squealing around the corner and stuff like that. Those sounds were all done on guitar. I’m raking my fingers across the strings and did a little thing with a slide where I slide down off the neck then flip it in reverse.



Visit Rich's Website and purchase his CD at: