Today, Alice’s Champagne Palace is hosting the release party for “So Deep,” the newest album by Richard Olson. This will be the fourth studio album released by the Homer musician, who goes by the stage name Reverend Poorchild.
“So Deep” retains the Alaska rock sound and political themes prevalent in Olson’s previous work. The album’s 20 new tracks are reminiscent of a patchwork blanket: all together an eclectic musical quilt of Reverend Poorchild’s soul.
“It has 20 well produced soulful songs. … I crammed as many songs as I could fit on one CD,” said Olson.
Difficult to pin down, Olson’s music can play relentlessly upbeat or oppressively dark. “My tunes range from candy-cane to hard-core, deep-dark to rainbow-dreamy. … Sometimes I touch controversial subjects,” said Olson of his work.
Like his previous albums, the tracks of “So Deep” cover a wide range emotions, styles and messages. His music often expresses challenging political and personal thoughts. No stranger to controversy, Olson has been known to tackle heavy themes with his work.
“I think good art should strike a nerve,” Olson said, and much of his music does. His music often expresses his distrust of the government, like in the song “9/11 was an Inside Job.”
“I hope listeners see my music as art and judge it by its musical merits or their tastes,” said Olson, who doesn’t strive to be a shock musician, or a controversial artist.
His music is rooted not in conflict but in self expression. His songs tackle his own worries and aspirations, both political or personal.
“I hope for appreciation for being myself, at times brutally honest or raw, no harm intended,” he said.
For the release party at Alice’s, Reverend Poorchild has a more subdued show in mind. Not all of Olson’s music is politically charged and his repertoire spans a wide range of styles and genres.
“I’d like someday to do a rock album; a fun, happy songs album … a Christmas guitar instrumentals album and an original instrumentals album,” he said.
In person, Olson speaks with the same rhythmic voice that he uses to sing. As he describes his time in Homer and his journey as a musician, his words often fall into a lyrical pattern. Olson pours so much of himself into his songs that it’s hardly surprising for his music to spill out into the rest of his being.
“I try to please mostly myself musically, hoping others enjoy at least some,” Olson said.
Olson first came to Alaska 37 years ago. “I hitch-hiked to Alaska with guitar at age 17. … I’ve been a loner and recluse much; this is common with authors I’m told.”
Since then he has settled into Homer as a farmer.
When Olson was 13 years old, he was a reverend in the Universal Life Church. The experience and title there would eventually grow to become his stage name. As Richard began to play music, he adopted the stage name Richard Kid, or “Rich Kid.” This play on words evolved along with his music into “Poorchild.”
Today guests at Alice’s can expect to experience one of Reverend Poorchild’s more politically restrained performances.
“Something more for the dinner crowd. … I’m hoping people come out and have a good time,” Olson said.
Though he won’t be playing music to rile up his audience, Olson hopes to engage people and make his performance a fun one.
“Recognition of my art matters to me, not my person per se, but my music,” he said.
The official CD release show for “So Deep” will be at Alice’s Champagne Palace, today, Thursday, Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. Fans can pick up the new album tonight. “So Deep” also will be available for purchase at Cornish Music and Observance of Hermits.