Friday, May 29, 2015

The Lamp Post: Conquest Edition

The Lamp Post is the official newsletter recounting various updates, news, and information about Rich Tuttle and his music.

Hi folks! Here's a bit of what's been going on.

I had an exciting and interesting opportunity over Memorial Day weekend. Back in February I came into contact with folks at ConQuesT, a sci-fi/fantasy convention that's been going on in Kansas City for nearly 50 years. They were looking for some ideas for panels and I pitched a Hobbit concert. Through that I was able to set up a show at the convention and they also asked if I wanted to participate on a panel discussing the Hobbit movies. I've never attended a con before so I wasn't really sure what to expect. While there was plenty of geeky pop-culture stuff going on and folks dressed up in costumes, this convention was obviously geared toward literature. One of their guests of honor was the Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin.

Friday night I played an abridged set of my Hobbit songs for a group of folks who graciously chose to spend their 8 o'clock hour with me. I was extremely grateful for their attendance, knowing that they could have chosen to attend one of the other panels going on at the same time. It was a great group and you could tell they were all Hobbit enthusiasts.

Then Saturday afternoon I participated as a panelist in a discussion about the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. It was a pretty informal event but the folks on board were all pretty knowledgeable and the conversation seemed to flow pretty effortlessly. I wound up being an opposition voice on the panel as everyone more or less gave the films a passing grade where I had it failing the test.

They had someone snapping pictures during the concert and they were able to get a couple of me that weren't too awkward. Sometimes I get this weird singer face going on where if frozen at any moment makes me look like a pain-ridden raging lunatic. So props to the photographer. It's like they captured these pictures just before that awkward moment, I mean, like a split second before. You can tell I'm on the cusp of full blown facial distortion...

Pre-awkward is still awkward...amiright?

I didn't have a whole lot of time to explore the convention outside of my panels. I didn't get to see George R.R. Martin but I did get to sit on his throne.

And maybe best of all, I got to meet R2D2!

Songwriting Ruminations
One of the things that always pains me when planning a set for a time-limited show like the one at Conquest, is having to decide which songs to cut. One of the unique aspects of songwriting through each chapter of a book is that, while the songs are able to stand alone, together they tell a bigger story. More often than not, in songwriting the story told is only contained within the boundaries of that one particular song. From one angle, a story told over many songs is basically a concept album. Nothing really new being ruminated over here. But from another angle, it sort of slips and wriggles away from being merely a concept album and falls into something older. These songs are quite tightly tied to particular events in a book, there is a blending of originality between both author and songwriter. Quite literally, this is a bardic tradition. I have a few thoughts concerning this tradition but I'm afraid it will have to wait for a future article. For now, back to the idea of many songs telling one story.

To have written a group of songs that actually build upon each other, and in some ways depends upon each other to tell a larger tale, is quite a thrilling endeavor for a songwriter. When the story is told over the course of 19 songs it allows you to linger and play and craft in ways you cannot when telling a story in one song. Certain themes introduced in one song can be found, like echos in later songs.

For instance the theme of Hope is tangled all throughout. It is introduced in one line in the first song, built upon as the theme for an entire verse in the third song, stands unmentioned in the background in the sixth, subtly threatened in the ninth, gains traction in the tenth, leaps as the climactic theme of the eleventh song, and then slowly starts to settle in the remainder as certain things hoped for are achieved. All the while, Hope is never really the main theme. It's just there like a decorative border on a tapestry. You don't notice it until you notice it. In this way, there is a certain dynamic, or depth, that cannot be achieved in just one song. And like I said, it's not just Hope; the same could be said of a theme like the Returning King, or the battle of Comfort vs Courage, or Eucatastrophe; which is that sudden joyous salvific turn of events. And that's just a few of the obvious ones I see. I'm not saying this form of storytelling through song is better, but it is different.

The difference might be thought of like this; Imagine a church with one stained glass window depicting a scene, perhaps the Crucifixion. When we view that window, we are receiving that story. Now imagine a church full of stained glass windows; one depicting Creation, another the prophets of old foretelling the coming of a King, another the Incarnation, others showing the miracles and deed Christ did on earth, and then the Crucifixion, followed by the Resurrection. Now each of these windows tells a self contained story, but together they all tell a larger tale, they are likely using certain themes and colors from window to window in order to tie them together in some way. You notice the parallels between the dove on the Ark and the dove deciding on the baptized Christ and it deepens the impact of the story on a certain level. Maybe not spiritually, but simply aesthetically. Or maybe in a way that would only impact you alone in a way the artist could never have imagined.

The great thing about creating and crafting songs, and perhaps this is true for any art like window-making, is that the music and the lyrics begin to take a life of their own. It's might be the nearest thing to real magic. The artist, like a wizard, takes a bit of this and a bit of that and throws it in a cauldron, brooding over it, and (at least for the poet) always trying to say the right thing in the right way, and then suddenly the thing is accomplished. The spell has been cast and now the results are out of your control. It's like a growing plant. You put the seed in the ground and water it, but it grows in its own time and way. With these songs, I would find myself discovering a little witty flourish and realize I didn't do it on purpose, or some strong poetic parallel between a few lines or between one song and another and it strikes me that I had no such intention to craft it in that way. And so this effect is given that much more depth when you take 19 songs to tell a story instead of just one. So in some ways song #19, sung alone and disconnected from the previous 18, becomes an entirely different song when sung with all the others.

That's not to say it cannot stand alone. My goal was to write 19 stand alone songs. Songs that could be sung at the drop of a hat, in any order, complete in and of themselves, and for what it's worth I'm satisfied that I accomplished it. But there's no denying that the songs are stronger when sung together.

And that's one reason I'm excited about the concept of a House Concert. It affords me the opportunity to tell the whole story and allows the best occasion for the songs to shine. Plus getting together with friends with something to munch on is always fun.

Hobbit House Concerts
Ahem...speaking of which...If you would like to host a house concert, know someone who might, or even just have questions about it, check out this page for all the information: Host a Hobbit House Concert!

Stay Tuned!
Recording the final eight Hobbit songs has already begun but is still a ways away from being finished. We've rearranged our house a bit and now my recording studio is upstairs. Things are nearly ready so after a few final touches I'll be back in full swing.

As always, you can stay up to date here on the blog and especially through my Facebook Page.

Thanks for your support!

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Lamp Post: Music Video Edition

The Lamp Post is the official newsletter recounting various updates, news, and information about Rich Tuttle and his music.

Hi folks! Here's a bit of what's been going on.

Music Video
Recently I had the pleasure of joining forces with my good friend and fellow artist Johnny Williamz. I'm featured on one of his new songs "Restless" and he had me out to shoot a lyric video with him. It released last Wednesday. Our musical styles are quite different, but I thoroughly enjoyed this folky/bluesy/hip hop fusion. What do you think?

Last week I had the opportunity to perform again at Reader's World. It's always a pleasure to play here, not only because the folks at Reader's World are fantastic people, but because it just feels right. I'm singing songs based on The Hobbit and what better place to play these songs than at a bookstore?

It's unfortunate that bookstores are becoming a rare thing. They seem to be dropping like Blockbusters. Reader's World is about the only bookstore left in Lee's Summit, so if you are in the area go support them! They not only sell books and awesome toys but they let authors and weird folks like me use their space to share their art. And I'd be remiss not to mention that the folks at Reader's World create the coolest concert posters. Here are the posters they made for my last two shows!


How cool is that!?

Hobbit House Concerts
I'm excited to have heard from a few folks that they are interested in hosting a Hobbit House Concert! Once a couple get underway I'll try to be mindful to post some pictures! I think this is going to be a really fun experience. When I'm performing these songs at a public venue, I have to drop some songs and if I'm planning on doing most of them I usually have to rush through them with little explanation or setup since I'm normally constrained by time. But in an intimate environment, where folks can just kick back with something to munch on, I think these songs are going to truly flower.

If you would like to host a house concert, know someone who might, or even just have questions about it, check out this page for all the information: Host a Hobbit House Concert!

Great news! In my last official update I informed you that mundane and ordinary things (like my broken A/C...yeah, it's been a while...) needed to come before the resources needed to record more music. So I had to wait a bit before I could record the rest of my songs. Well I'm happy to say that I'm now back up to full recording capacity! The plan is to capture all of the new songs and I'll likely re-record or fiddle with one or two of the earlier songs.

And who knows, with St. Patrick's Day just around the corner I might record a few Irish tunes fer ya.

Stay Tuned!
2015 looks to be pretty interesting. Lord willing we'll have a few more concerts and some more tunes for your ears. I do have some fun things planned that I don't want to give away just yet. Speaking of give away's I may have a few of those throughout the year as well! You can stay up to date here on the blog and especially through my Facebook Page.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Host a Hobbit House Concert!

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
–Thorin Oakenshield

Hobbit House Concert
"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging…" –Gandalf the Grey

A couple years ago I started a songwriting adventure. I would write one song for every chapter in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I am excited to say that I have completed the journey and am now looking for some folks to share in the adventure.

What is a Hobbit House Concert? It’s quite simple. It is folks gathering together in someone’s home for Food, Cheer, and Song. I’ll provide the songs, work with the host regarding food, and all of us can bring the cheer. That’s it!

Fellow Conspirators
“We are met together in the house of our friend and fellow conspirator…” –Thorin Oakenshield

I am looking for a few friends and fellow conspirators to help me put on these house concerts; Hosts willing to open their homes, turning their living rooms, basements, or backyards into an intimate concert venue.

As much as needed, I’ll personally work with the Host throughout the planning process. We’ll hammer out the details together, such as:
*Date and Time of the event
*Number of Guests 
*Food & Drink 
*Tickets, etc
*and anything else that should be talked about

If you would like to join my adventure and host a concert as a fellow conspirator in 2015, please contact me at or through my Facebook page!

If you are looking for more information or if you are still on the fence, take a gander through the FAQs below.

What will it look like?
In general it looks pretty simple. Food, Cheer, and Song is our purpose. Me and my guitar, you and your friends; I’ll play all of my Hobbit songs in two sets while we eat and drink and be merry in your house. That’s the foundation, but we can build upon it any way you’d like. We could do a giveaway, hold contests, have a pot-luck, or even a five-course meal. Anything really. As long as food, cheer, and song are valued above hoarded gold, we’re good.

Who provides the food & drink?
It depends, but as the host you will coordinate it. Maybe it’s a potluck and the cover charge is a covered dish? Maybe you want to plan a formal feast all on your own? A backyard BBQ? Finger foods? Pizza delivery? A fresh batch of cookies? Do something small or something big. It’s up to you. I recommend having a plan of what to do beforehand so that your guests will have an idea of what to expect. I can help with ideas, I can even bring a covered dish, but the decision regarding food and drink is ultimately up to you.

How much are you charging to play?
If you are local (in the KC area), I won’t be charging you anything. I will only take money that I make on selling CDs and/or whatever comes in on a donation basis, either through ticket pricing or a donation/tip box.

If you are outside of the Kansas City area we would need to discuss a few things so shoot me an email.

Tickets/Prices/Donated Funds
This is completely up to you, the Host. You could make this event entirely free for your guests, or if you want to offset the cost from any food/drink you provide then you might want to plan pricing accordingly. Any excess funds would be donated to the artist (that would be me…) or might be needed to replace any blunted knives or cracked plates (that’s what Bilbo Baggins hates). After all, the goal is to value food, cheer, and song above hoarded gold. If the concert is free or if funds aren’t specifically set aside to pay the artist (me), then I will bring along a “tip” jar or donation box. If you have further questions about this, send along an email (

Who promotes the event and sends out the invites?
You, or both of us. It’s your house so the guest list is ultimately up to you. Is it a friends-only event? Open to your local community? Open to the general public? I will invite and promote according to your guest list expectations.

How many people should I invite?
That really depends on how many people you’d like in your house. Take a look at the space you have, whether you’d need to rearrange any furniture, think about 20 people in that space and add or subtract as you see fit. You can ask people to bring chairs or blankets or provide seating yourself. Don’t forget about parking…
*RSVP! My recommendation is to have your guests RSVP. This helps you with both space and for planning food. It also helps if privacy is a concern. This way you can give your address to only those who RSVP. I would recommend you first determine how many you can seat, invite more people than you can seat, and begin to fill spots in on a first response, first serve basis. Limited seating not only helps your planning, but it also gives your guests a little bit more of an incentive to fulfill their commitment to come. If your seating fills up and you have more people wishing to attend, you can put them on a waiting list. If the waiting list starts to fill, maybe we could host another show together! But all of that said, it’s your house, your rules.

Do I need to provide a sound system?
Nope. In an intimate setting like a living room there is no need for sound equipment. Just me and my guitar. If you want to provide a sound system, go for it. But it is not necessary.

Does it have to be in a house?
A Hobbit House Concert can be anywhere! Your backyard or front porch would work just fine. Even other venues such as a churches, meeting halls, coffee houses, bookstores, basically anywhere folk can gather! Even in a barn. I lived in a barn once...true story.

As you can see there is a lot of flexibility! I simply wanted to provide a way for me to share these songs with you and your friends in a warm, friendly environment and in a relatively easy way. The goal is to value food, cheer, and song above horded gold. If we can do that together then the Hobbit House Concert will be a success. Will you share in my adventure and join me as a fellow conspirator?

Again, if you would like to host as a fellow conspirator, or if you have any other questions please contact me at or through my Facebook page

Monday, November 24, 2014

Songwriting Complete!

I have spent nearly two years songwriting through The Hobbit and have recently completed the last song.

For me it is quite exciting. I started this journey as an exercise to keep my creative juices flowing and to dabble in something fun and, as things do, it wound up taking on a life of its own. I work full time and have a busy home life (we just had baby number 5!) so often songwriting has had to happen in the gaps. 19 songs is a tall order when one's plate is already full. I think back and am grateful that for the burst of inspiration right at the beginning. That set me up for the long haul. I knocked out about five songs rather effortlessly and figured I'd better see it through. None of the others came quite as quick, and frankly I had some knock-down, drag-outs with a few, but now I stand victorious. At least in my own little world.

The other thing that propelled me was a sense of obligation. I let the bird out of the cage prematurely. After I finished about half of the book I started to share the songs online and performed them live locally and some folks, to my wonder and great delight, liked what they heard. Since then an online news site called Middle-earth News interviewed me and has highlighted some songs and I've heard from numerous folks who have listened to my home recordings and live shows that they'd like to hear more. This gave me greater motivation to press on and now I can say that my obligation is on the cusp of being fulfilled.

Now that I've finished songwriting I can focus more attention to sharing these songs with you. I have a couple of ideas brewing that I think will (at least) be pretty fun and hopefully will help as a springboard to get these songs into even more ears.

I don't want to be specific just yet, but I did want to let you all know that there is work going on beneath the surface. And also I wanted to give you a heads up. Keep an eye out around here and on my Facebook page for some upcoming details about how you can become a fellow conspirator and help me set out on this journey.

Thanks for all of your support!

Friday, May 30, 2014


Hi folks! Here's a bit of what's been going on.

A couple months ago I was interviewed by website called Middle-Earth News. They had linked one of their articles about Tolkien inspired music on Twitter and as a response I pointed them to my SoundCloud page. They then sent me an email asking to do an interview!

Read the the interview here!

Not that I minded answering them, but I thought the questions regarding the music in the movies were kind of weird just stuck in the middle there. They had originally asked another movie question but they removed it upon publication. The question went something like this: "What are you looking forward to the most in the last Hobbit movie?" I answered, "When Tauriel dies". I'm guessing they didn't think it was as funny as I did.

It was a bit of unexpected promotion which led to a smidgen of hits on some of my sites. Hopefully there are some folks who read it and stuck it in the back of their mind so when I finally get around to releasing some kind of record online they'll be all, "Oh yeah, I remember reading something about that weirdo who sings like a troll."

Last week I played at a bookstore in downtown Blue Springs called Inklings' Books & Coffee Shoppe. They had a fantasy author signing books and I did a bit of bookstore busking on the sidewalk. I love used bookstores. It might be the closest thing to treasure hunting there is. I highly recommend you swing by for a glance at the many treasures Inklings' has to offer. In fact a little bird told me you can even find some Hobbit inspired music in CD format there...

I'm nearing the end of songwriting through the Hobbit. I have five more chapters to go. Two of which are in the process right now. I have eleven songs recorded, most of which are on my soundcloud page. That leaves 8 more to record. Unfortunately my Mac is in need of some repair. I think the video card went out. At some point I'll have to get it checked out, but I need to have our air conditioner fixed first! Priorities!

In the interview I hit on this when had the opportunity to talk about why I admire Tolkien. I said,
I can identify, to a degree, with his struggle between the drudgery of his vocational life and his creative life. In Tolkien, we see one who created a masterpiece in the midst of the ordinary and the mundane. Not only did he have an extremely demanding job, but he also had a large family to take care of. The most admirable thing I find is that he didn’t throw away his career and sacrifice his wife and children to pursue his amazing world of stories. It took extra effort and no doubt took him longer to finish, but that only added to the quality of his creation. I find great encouragement in his steady plodding with job, wife, and kids, than if he had been a financially stable single man with no responsibility and plenty of free time.
So the A/C comes before the resources needed to record more music. And I'm okay with that because music made at the expense of my family is bad art. If I want to create, I need to create even in the midst of the mundane.

Actually last night was kind of highlighted this in a special way. We high-tailed it out of our sauna we call home and crashed my folks' place for a few hours. During our down time I grabbed a guitar and started working on one of my songs. Normally I do my song-smithing in isolation; on break or on the road or when the kids are in bed. But I had a little time so I set to work with the family all around. I only wrote two words but it was two more than I had before. During the process I caught my daughter singing the first (and so far, only) verse along with me. You can see it below in the picture my wife took. She also asked me questions about the verse. What it was about and she dug a bit deeper into the words I was crafting. If my A/C doesn't go out, then I don't get to have the privilege of experiencing my daughter share in my creative process. She may forget this tomorrow, or she may remember this for the rest of her life. Either way, I've already been moved by it, and that motivates me to not only love my family all the more but to press on writing and creating.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

You and Me and The Road Ahead

I'm looking for someone to share in an adventure. - Gandalf the Grey

I am embarking on a quest. It's a strange road ahead. It's twisty and leads into a dark wood. Earlier this year I was called down from a calling. I was leading some of God's folk in gathered worship from week to week for nearly 5 years. It was a beautiful time and comfortable. I made eternal friends there and found joy and nourishment. But the clock, unforeseen, was a'tickin'. And the door was creaking shut. There before me was a fork in the road. One way was clear as the summer sky. It was easy to see where it led. The other way, well, I already told you. It's twisty and leads into a dark wood. 

But I don't venture alone. I am haunted by a Voice that keeps on calling. It's there somewhere, beyond the wood. It draws me. I am not sure of much, but I do know this: it calls me to lead my family and it calls me to make music. So that's the plan. I'm charting my course with the tools at hand and it's bound to be scary and certain to be fun. I'm hoping to share deep laughter and sweet tears and to create some songs along the way. Songs that seek to echo that Voice. And as we go along I aim to catch others up in it. To join us in an adventure when our paths cross.

That's where you come in. I want to share with you my stories and my songs, and I want to hear yours too. I try to write songs that I like to hear. Songs that draw my heart away from myself and into the wild, past the trees and rivers and mountain ranges to where the veil is thin. If we wait there long enough the wind might just kick up and give us a fleeting view of the world beyond. It's a lofty goal, nigh unattainable, but it's fun to try.

So I try to linger near the sources of truth and goodness and beauty and grace and wonder and it just so happens that it's all there in a Holy Book. Words uttered by the Holy Voice. This Voice is the river I try to draw from, and like any other river it has branches. Some of these branches are unexpected and dangerous. But because they are fed by the pure source I want to make the journey there too. The water is sweet and the view is amazing.

Ok I'm getting all goopy. Straight up, I write what I read about and what I enjoy. I find that in Scripture and in anything that draws me to the God of Scripture and His Son. Things like theology, nature, family and fantasy. Particularly fantasy. Nothing else seems to have that quality, that ring of truth that cuts like a knife to the heart, like a sub-created realm of myth and magic. If God is sovereign then surely his story is woven throughout the tales. 

So I write where I am and what I see, and so far that means songs about the love of God and of Jesus and songs about the hobbit love of pipe-weed and wizards. See what I mean about a strange road?

Princes Merida said, "Legends are lessons, they run with truths" and I agree. C.S. Lewis in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe reminds us that not only is there Deep Magic from the dawn of time where pagans and devil worshippers have their way, but that there is Deeper Magic from before the dawn of time, where all things submit to God and His Son...even death. J.R.R. Tolkien put it this way, "God is the Lord, of angels, and of menand of elves. Legend and History have met and fused."

That ought keep me busy for a while. This is what I try to write and what I'd love share. Want to join me?

It's a dangerous thing, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to. - Bilbo Baggins