Richard Snow is a 33-year-old singer-songwriter from Nottingham, UK who sings, plays guitar, keyboards, bass and all kinds of percussion. His main influences are The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, The Byrds, The Beatles and R.E.M. A former member of the new wave/post-punk band Enellen and a couple of other bands, Snow has also worked as a recording engineer. Having made two solo albums, he is now working on a third with his new band The Inlaws. Those fortunate enough to have heard Snow’s music are no doubt aware of his amazing gift for beautifully crafted, catchy power pop backed with multi-layered, Beach Boys-style harmonies.
After acquiring a 4-track analog tape machine at the age of 15, Richard began to experiment with tracking his voice and layering it, much like his idol Brian Wilson before him. This early experimentation would set the tone and lay the groundwork for his professional recording career. Snow would later work at a recording studio in the early 1990s in the rural England county of Derbyshire, where he recorded metal, jazz, pop, punk and electronic bands, as well as male choirs and voiceovers. He also played guitar and bass on many of the sessions. It was during this time that he learned how to make top-notch, professional-quality recordings, an experience that would later become indispensible in making his own albums.
From 1991 to 1997, Snow was in the band Enellen, in which he played guitar and wrote some of the band’s material. Enellen played various gigs in the Nottingham area and their sound resembled a mixture of Joy Division bass lines and Byrds-style harmonies and guitars. Recording the band’s songs was the perfect opportunity for Richard to practice using his 4-track, mixing down and ping ponging the crowded tracks into palatable masters. By the mid-1990s, Snow was contributing a significant amount of the band’s material, as well as singing lead and harmony vocals. But Enellen’s sound was out of sync with the rest of the British music scene, and the band fizzled by 1997. Discouraged that nothing had ever happened with Enellen, Snow quit writing music altogether, got married and settled down with his new wife and two children.
A few years later, encouraged by the his hero Brian Wilson’s comeback and hoping that harmony-based melodic pop might become popular again, Richard posted some of his songs on Mp3.com and was surprised to receive some positive messages from listeners. One of those listeners was Tripsitter’s Jeff Celentano, who encouraged Snow to get back into making music again. Richard was so inspired by the responses to his music that he decided to put together an album of the Enellen songs that he’d written and sang on.
Richard Snow was released in the UK in 2002 and was received warmly by the indie music press. One of the tracks, “Real”, was later included in the 2004 Brian and Dennis Wilson tribute CD Two Steps Forward. The tribute CD’s concept included one Brian and/or Dennis Wilson-penned cover song and an original composition. The cover song Richard submitted was “Slip On Through”, on which he created a completely different arrangement and additional vocal parts not on the 1970 Beach Boys song. The cover was hailed by critics and listeners as superior to the original.
After Snow’s debut CD was released, he went to work on writing the songs for his sophomore album. Between playing gigs and sharing the responsibilities of raising two young children with his wife, Richard managed to carve out some time on Tuesday afternoons to write and record the new material in his loft studio. His persistence paid off handsomely on his second album, called Tuesday Music. The CD was released in the UK in 2005 and received even higher praise than the debut CD. “Richard takes his cues from all the right sources but produces a refreshing, original take on classic pop and imbues it with new outlooks and lyrical deftness,” said Ronnie Danelley of the indie e-zine EARCANDY.
In order to promote Tuesday Music on the road, Richard called two of his Enellen bandmates Phill Edmunson and Justin Monkton. After just one rehearsal, the trio was able to resurrect five of the tracks from Snow’s debut CD. A few rehearsals later, Edmunson and Monkton had learned some of the new songs and the band landed a gig opening for The Posies. After a couple more gigs, Richard decided to dub the new band Richard Snow & The Inlaws. Since then, the band has supported such acts as Snow Patrol and Sandi Thom, as well as playing the International Pop Overthrow Festival at The Cavern in Liverpool two years in a row.
In August 2007, Snow signed with US indie label SideBMusic to re-issue Richard Snow. Jerry Boyd, the label’s co-founder, had produced the Two Steps Forward CD, collaborating with graphic designer and SideBMusic co-founder Brian Battles. The two had long been fans of Snow’s music, so it was a perfect fit. For the re-issue, Richard remastered the CD and even remixed the album’s closing track, “The Sweetest”. Battles created new artwork for the CD and Richard Snow was released in the US in November 2007.
Snow’s second album Tuesday Music was reissued by SideBMusic in August 2008, featuring new artwork and packaging, with seven previously unreleased bonus tracks.