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bio

Singer.  Songwriter.  Producer.  Engineer.  Multi-instrumentalist.  Collaborator.  Father. Self-explorer.  Activist.  Councilman… Just some of the perspectives that shape Rich DePaolo’s signature sound and vision. Guitar-driven storms and whispers, gunpoint poetry shot from the shadows at mirrors, walls, and kings.

Rich DePaolo grew up in New Jersey and started recording as a teenager, using two cassette decks, loudspeakers and a cheap microphone to simulate the tape machine he would ultimately earn by painting the side of his parents’ house. He is an entirely self-taught musician and engineer, having honed his skills by playing along with the albums of his idols, jamming with local bands, and experimenting in his early project studio.

After a stint at Rutgers University, DePaolo moved to Ithaca, NY, where he became a prominent figure in its music scene, performing and recording genres as diverse as art-rock, country pop, folk, blues, and Americana.  He was house engineer at Ithaca’s renowned Wilburland recording studio, and was a principal writer in the avant-rock quintet, Red Letter, before hitting the road for years in the Burns Sisters Band (Rounder Records).  Touring led to spontaneous festival hookups with Sarah Harmer, Martin Sexton, Jimmy LaFave and Tom Paxton, among others, and recording sessions produced by Garry Tallent (E Street Band) and Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket...).  More recent and ongoing collaborations include Marc Berger, Tenzin Chopak (Rockwood Ferry), the Burns & Kristy Band, and a recent European tour with Tom Mank & Sera Smolen.

DePaolo has produced dozens of records for award-winning indie artists and has two critically-acclaimed solo albums.  He regularly performs throughout the Northeast U.S., and recently headlined a series of shows to celebrate the release of his 2018 album, “Killed for Kings.”

Self-reflection on “Killed for KingS”

“I didn’t start writing “Killed for Kings” with a theme in mind, but it soon became clear that the characters were crawling out of similar shadows with common stories and questions.  Where is the line between ambition and greed?  When does desire become obsession?  With so many false idols demanding to be worshipped, why do so many of us fall to our knees?  What are people willing to do to others, or have done to themselves, just to feel alive? 

There are forces that take hold of our lives that can either be embraced, battled or ignored- and those choices ultimately determine whether we can accept what we see in the mirror at the end of the day.”

 
 

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