He was born in Augusta, Ga. Rich's first professional gigs began at age 11 with the National Friendship Fire Engine Company, an offshoot of the folk choir at St. Mary's on-the-Hill Church where he played through his teen years. In high school he began doing solo gigs at local restaurants and bars. While studying music theory and composition at the Colorado College he joined forces with several classmates to form the Pete Dawson Band, a local college favorite, and then bluegrass offshoot the Dawsonheirs.
After college Rich settled in Boise, ID, where his family had relocated. Music work took him to Ireland (twice), to Cape Cod, and to Kauai, HI. He spent three years playing in and around Boise with local guitar legend John Hansen and often with singer Belinda Bowler. After many, many nights in the bars of Idaho Rich decided it was time to move on. He chose Austin.
Once there Rich worked his way into several of the local music scenes - folk, rock, country, bluegrass, celtic; he wound up playing with some of Austin's best players and writers. His first national touring work was with singer Kris McKay. Later he traveled to Japan with British rock legends Ronnie Lane and Ian McLagan. Most recently, and for the last many years, he has traveled, played and recorded with Robert Earl Keen, producing his last two studio albums.
Rich first declared himself a producer in 1989 while working with his friend Ed Miller, a native of Scotland who was painting houses in Austin but really needed to make a record. A class in Electronic Music at the Colorado College and work in the school's recording studio (along with a a healthy dose of the naiveté of youth) convinced Rich that he knew all he needed to put together a record for Ed. Border Background was the first project to feature Rich's playing, production and arranging extensively.
More and more time in the studio afforded him the opportunity to learn and hone his craft. Over the years he has done production and arranging work for many great singers, players and writers, including Robert Earl Keen, Caroline Herring, Leeann Atherton, Kris McKay, David Halley, the Barbers, Matt Harlan, Marc Gunn, Cluan, The Tea Merchants, Stephen Clair, and on and on.
After working with many recording greats over the years (Barry Beckett, Tony Brown, Ed Cherney, Justin Niebank, Stuart Sullivan...), Rich finally felt confident enough to hang out his own shingle at Ace Recording, a comfortable and productive recording space in South Austin, TX.
In addition to producing and arranging, Rich has composed soundtracks for commercials, films and CD's. Some examples of his work can be heard here.