September 29, 2022

Rick Yamishiro Reviews My 2020 Album Release

I REALLY tried to get some press happening regarding the My Destiny release. I did what all the indie artists do and contacted a large list of publications and bloggers. I even paid a little money to have some influencers listen to my tracks. But it was like a bad day of fishing. There were no bites. One of the paid reviewers even said “I don’t like that flute” regarding my clarinet solo. I don’t think that guy was much of a music journalist if he couldn’t tell the difference between a flute and a clarinet.

I’m not going to be hard on myself for not trying harder to promote the release. I had a couple big things going on in the Fall of 2020 including my own wedding in October and my youngest moving out of state that same month! It’s all good. Lately, I’ve been looking at the whole experience of writing, arranging, and producing my own album as being equal to an entire year of college. I learned so much!

I thought of Rick as a potential influencer because he wrote up a review of my first album release way back in 1993 for a local publication in San Jose called “The Claw”. The Claw was a newsletter that Guitar Showcase published every month. Rick is a talented writer and illustrator and he did both for that publication. In fact, I think he actually did the layout for the whole thing! This was back in the early days of desktop publishing so he was probably rocking Quark Xpress on one of those putty-colored small screen Apple Macintoshes.

Rick doesn’t have a blog site (he should though!) but is currently very active on Facebook and I thought it couldn’t hurt to have him do a shout out for me. The other thing about Rick is that we attended the same high school in San Jose although he was a few years ahead of me. Go Lynbrook Vikings! We also played in the same band for a bit playing horn lines together. Rick plays the same instruments I play i.e. sax, flute, harmonica, vocals. Those were the days!

I mailed Rick a hardcopy and here is his review written in December of 2020:

After hearing the news about a bomb going off in Nashville, my fickle memory was suddenly jarred by remembering that my musical friend Ross Walters works and lives in the area, which caused me great concern for Ross and his family’s safety.

To my relief, although there’s been much property damage, there were no fatalities other than the bomber himself. 

My prayers go out to the Nashville community as well as the millions who are suffering at this time from the chaos of terrorist acts such as these, the pandemic, the economic instability, and uncertainty of life as we now know it.

It was at the moment I thought of Ross and his family, that, to my embarrassment, I remembered that earlier this year Ross had sent me a copy of his CD “My Destiny” which I’d forgotten about after putting it aside to give it a listen.

I listened to “My Destiny” this afternoon and am deeply impressed by the entire album, on which the multi-talented Mr. Walters was composer, producer, arranger, and performing artist on an arsenal of wind instruments. 

Although we’d both separately attended Lynbrook High School in San Jose, CA, I didn’t meet Ross until the early 80’s, but he blew me away with his precise, soulful saxophone chops and equally impressive harmonica playing.

Thru the years, I’d heard he was touring with the late Donna Summer, and had since lost track of him until he contacted me to send me a copy of his CD.

Suffice it to say, on this recording, Mr. Walters excels on every track – performs on saxes, flute, alto flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, diatonic and chromatic harmonica, pennywhistle, and VOCALS! 

I’d never heard Ross sing before, but his prodigious songwriting and vocal talents saturate this album with profound lyrical finesse.

The songs here are timely, relevant, and deeply grounded in Christian faith, but never gets cloying or sappy, and the music retains a polished, contemporary sound with nods to r & b, soul, jazz, gospel, and even some reggae flavors.

Mahalo, Ross, for sharing your prolific talents, faith, and positive message with this beleaguered world.

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