Not many unpublished
songwriters in Nashville have had an Emmy nomination or worked with Fortune 500 companies, so in that respect
Rick Millward is a bit unique.
But when it comes to knocking on doors on
Music Row he is no different than anyone else. In a business where creative
edge can mean success or failure he has come by his knowledge through
a long and arduous path and has developed a work ethic and an attitude
that many feel makes that elusive “first cut” just a matter
He played in groups all through school,
studied art in college and afterwards more or less lived in parallel,
alternating between jobs with ad agencies and working in bands. Sometimes
the gigs were good enough to live on, most of the time not. Rick played
in a sucession of bands that played in Oregon, and later in San Francisco,
where he joined The Overland Freight Band. This was the first group
that had ambitions beyond doing covers in beer joints and was the first
opportunity for him to be in a group that regularly performed original
material. After a year with them he left to “go solo” and
put his own band together that opened for several known acts around the Bay Area, inlcuding a stint backing former Quicksilver Messenger Service lead singer Gino Valenti on his comeback bid.
Rick left performing in the '80s to become a recording engineer and producer and helped build Tres Virgos Studios, where he recorded his first album, and later at the Music Annex. He then moved into video production in Silicon Valley and worked in corporate media through the Tech Boom.
Late in the 90s he developed a renewed passion for songwriting
and Americana music, and he moved to Nashville in 2000. Since the relocation Rick has continued to freelance in media
production, which included an opportunity to write two original soundtracks
for the local PBS station, both of which earned EMMY nominations.
Now, he’s developed a personal
style that reflects a lifetime of influences; rock, country, and Americana,
with songs that are unaffected and straightforward. With “homemade”,
his last CD, he offered a collection of recordings that explore that
range: from the straight-ahead country “Bad at Goodbye”,
to the unabashed country pop of “Big Love” and the haunting
pedal steel cries in “Living in Reverse”.
The latest collection is a cohesive set
of 11 songs that explore many of the themes from "homemade"
but are darker, moodier and perhaps not so radio targeted, with an edgy
production style that features raw, sometimes ragged sounding guitars
embellished by Rick's simple complimentary keyboard work. This music
is extremely personal, but not painfully so. Rick finds a common thread
that connects the ideas to his listeners with maturity and an urgency
that stirs the soul.