Desert Island Discs: “Cornerstone” by Richard X. Heyman (1998)

Image from richardxheyman.com

(For those who joined us late: power-pop rules, especially the jangly variety. And unexpected musical discoveries are surprise gifts from the power-pop gods. Are we all up to speed now? Good, then let’s begin.)

Let me start out with an email exchange. I fired off this message to Richard X. Heyman:

Hi Richard –

My name is scottmac56. I have a blog: namebrandketchup. One of my categories highlights my “Desert Island Discs,” and I plan to feature “Cornerstone” as one of those. I’d like to stream a few of your songs on my site, probably “When She Arrives,” “If We Should Ever Meet Again,” and “Out Of My Hands.” So the purpose of this email is to ask your permission to do so, with proper attribution of course. Naturally my commentary will be quite positive.

Thanks in advance for your consideration, Richard, and keep the music coming.

Cheers – scottmac56

Lo and behold, a reply:

Hello scottmac56,

Thanks for getting in touch. It is absolutely OK for you to stream those songs from “Cornerstone” — we appreciate your doing so! Just be sure to include the website, www.richardxheyman.com.

We’re at work on Richard’s tenth album now, which is coming along very well.

Let us know when Richard’s songs are on your blog and we’ll spread the link around.

Thanks and take care Nancy Heyman (Richard’s wife)

How awesome is that?! Nancy, consider the website mentioned. But wait, there’s more. Me:

If it’s not too much to ask may I also include the video for the song “Cornerstone”? It’s an awesome video, and videos get great responses from my pals. Thanks –

Nancy:

Definitely — one of my favorites, too, and I love the video, too — directed by our good friend Ken Ross.  Thanks!

So mad props and a shout out not only to Richard and Nancy, but also to Ken Ross.

Some things in this world
We rely upon them to stay the same
And one day when you’re old
You will realize as you search in vain
For that cornerstone

I first heard of Richard X. Heyman back in ’98, when I got a Japanese  compilation CD called “Somewhere Down The Road.” The featured song was “Everything The Same.” Shortly thereafter Jeremy Morris recommended the video for “Cornerstone.” Thanks, Jeremy. Not long after that I ordered the “Cornerstone” CD from Not Lame. It didn’t leave my CD player for weeks.

Others have described “Cornerstone” more eloquently than I can, so why re-invent the wheel? I can’t put it any better tban Amplifier magazine did, so I won’t even try:

“In Richard X. Heyman, we have an artist who can do it all: write (there is no more consistent tunesmith in pop), sing (a classic voice, clearly the result of someone who’s been weaned on all the right records), demonstrate musical virtuosity (plays about every damn instrument well!), and, yes, produce those elusive sounds in his head on tape (every song is filled with wonderful instrumental nuances which would make Brian Wilson proud). This record is an embarrassment of riches — rock’n’roll just doesn’t get any better than this. There may be no other artist who better connects words and music to convey emotions…With ‘Cornerstone’, Heyman has taken his art to an even higher level than before, kicking down every musical door in his way. Buy this record if you still care about the things that made you like rock’n’roll in the first place.”

Likewise reviewer George Agnos at Daily Vault:

“The title song begins the album on a wistful tone as Heyman describes returning to a town to find everything has gone away but that the cornerstone still remains. And all of the songs that follow take a cue from this one by looking back at the joys and failures of a love affair. The last song ‘Clear To Me Now’ sums up what ‘Cornerstone’ had intimated, and he realizes the biggest loss of all was true love. The power of the lyrics, coupled with the tightly contructed melodies prove Heyman to be a sort of a power-pop poet laureate… What Heyman has successfully done on ‘Cornerstone’ is create an album that will appeal to power-pop fans for his concise, catchy melodies. And since his lyrics prove him to be quite the singer-songwriter, this album will also appeal to folk-rock fans. ‘Cornerstone’ is the best of both worlds.”

Goldmine magazine:

“All those who devote themselves to the pursuit of pure pop pleasures will find no better album this year than this latest disc by Richard X. Heyman. It is, in fact, a musical time machine that transports its listeners back to an era when melody really mattered and a three minute single often measured up as a musical masterpiece. Heyman comes across as a rock’n’roll savior, one who’s carefully absorbed the influences of many a forebear and crafted a sound so affecting and engaging it ought to be required listening for radio programmers everywhere.”

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9 Comments on “Desert Island Discs: “Cornerstone” by Richard X. Heyman (1998)”

  1. AnnMcK. says:

    Mmm, jangly.

  2. scottmac56 says:

    http://www.facebook.com/richard.x.heyman
    An awesome shoutout from Richard on his Facebook page,

  3. I love this album! I’ve worn out 3 cornerstone CD’ s thank God for digital versions. I’ve been a huge RXH fan for years…I can’t get enough of Richard’s music. He’s an amazing talent that just keeps on giving. Thanks to both Richard & Nancy for keeping the music fresh, interesting and in constantly in front of the fans! Looking forward to your 10th!!!

  4. Ray Paul says:

    The “CORNERSTONE” CD was originally released on the Permanent Press label and besides being critically acclaimed, it received quite a lot of AAA radio airplay that year. In fact, it came in at #30 on WFPK/Louisville, KY’s Top 100 Albums of 1998.

  5. Jack carone says:

    he is a goodie!

  6. Mike Wollman says:

    I work in Plainfield, NJ , RXH’s hometown & have been a fan for a long time. I’m sorry to admit that I just this week got around to listening to “Tiers”, his newest album which I’ve had sitting around here for too long. The good news is that it is also awesome. I’m a dj on 90.3 the Core in NJ & am looking forward to playing something from “Tiers” this week. “Cornerstone” is still one of my faves. Keep on rockin’!

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