'The Music Guides Me': Milwaukee's Joe Richter On His Latest 'Revival'

Jun 29, 2018

Milwaukee musician Joe Richter’s early work includes time with some area cover bands and his own acoustic songs.  But his latest release, Revival is his first produced album with a full band behind him - a goal he's had since he first started composing and performing. 

"It's hard to image actually all of these songs as an acoustic piece," notes Richter. "I really wanted to go away from that on this record... I wanted to branch out, I'm really proud we decided to do it this way."

While the Americana folk artist has been influenced by idols such as Elvis Presley, Billy Joel, and Van Morrison, Richter says ultimately he wants a genuine sense of authenticity to come through each of his songs - something he thinks is lacking in modern music.

Audrey Nowakowski and Joe Richter in the Lake Effect performance studio.
Credit Jason Rieve

"I always write a melody first, and then comes the lyric. Because I believe that sometimes you don't even need a lyric, sometimes the song will just take you where it wants to go. The listener can just decide what they want it to be about, but the music guides me. It guides me where I want the song to go and what I want the song to be about."

If the release of Revival wasn’t exciting enough, Richter has a coveted spot at the Big Gig. His Summerfest show is scheduled for Saturday at 3 pm on the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage.

He joins Lake Effect's Audrey Nowakowski in the performance studio to share some of his latest album: