Artist Bio: Rich Layton
Rich Layton began his serious musical education after college, playing harmonica with then-girlfriend Lucinda Williams in Austin, Texas. After honing their chops on street corners and dives, the two moved to Houston to join the seminal music scene at Anderson Fair. Rich became house harp player at the inner city club that was home to Townes Van Zandt, Nanci Griffith, Lightning Hopkins, Lyle Lovett and many others. (read more...)
Breaking out of the folk circuit, Rich became a founding member of Houston’s premier rockin’ blues revue, Dr. Rockit & The Sisters of Mercy. He went on to play, record and tour with many Texas talents including Alan Haynes, the late Rocky Hill (brother of ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill) and Fort Worth sax maniac Johnny Reno. In 1985, the Lone Star State’s leading music magazine honored Rich as one of six Texas Harmonica Tornados, a list that included such luminaries as Kim Wilson and Delbert McClinton.
Namedropping. In addition to those listed above, Rich has met and opened for many legendary performers, including Albert King, Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Junior Wells, Clifton Chenier, Bobby "Blue" Bland, The Meters, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Memphis Blues Caravan (Furry Lewis, Bukka White, Joe Willie Wilkins, Sam Chatmon and more), Jerry Lee Lewis, Dave Alvin, Junior Brown, The Blasters, Joe Ely and many more. Most treasured gig ever– playing with rock and roll legend Bo Diddley!
After 30 years in Texas, Rich moved to Portland and entered the vibrant NW music scene. In 2003, Rich Layton & The Troublemakers emerged with a high energy mix of original roots rock, honky-tonk and more to a growing local and regional audience. The band's mission – worldwide swampification, one local beer joint at a time – continues. Each year, he joins his friends Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Buckwheat Zydeco, Dale Watson and more when their shows hit town.
Songwriting Influences. Musical currents along the Texas Gulf Coast create a confluence of styles found nowhere else in the world, blending rock, blues, country, R&B, blue-eyed soul, Cajun, zydeco, Tejano and more. Growing up in Houston, Rich Layton learned to play them all while traveling a rough and tumble circuit of clubs, dance halls and roadhouses along Interstate 10. As a late-blooming songwriter, he populates this wide musical terrain with sharply drawn tales of good times and bad choices, big dreams and bad timing. For the characters that inhabit his songs, hope may hang by a thread, but it’s never out of reach.