RpT – Richard Paul Thomas Biography
Richard Paul Thomas — better known to his friends as RpT — has been making music since rock ‘n’ roll was young. And he’s still finding new sources of inspiration each time he picks up a guitar and sits down to write a song.
On his latest album, SALADO, Thomas plays with a variety of fun musical ideas from Riding on a Train to Retirement Blues along with an eclectic variety of songs in between. He has widened the emotional scope of his songwriting to include concerns for the environment and the people around him. From Violeta, honoring the life of Chilean Artist Violeta Parra, to a plea to those choosing to ignore the challenges facing our changing planet in Denial, and ending the album with Look At My Hands, he illustrates his depth of feelings about these subjects.
Produced by Chris Gage and recorded at Austin’s Moonhouse Studio, SALADO features an expansive variety of musical contributions from Gage, along with the tasteful vocal support of Kristin deWitt, the spot on drumming and percussion from Paul Pearcy, and fluid base lines from Glenn Fukunaga. Together, this combo creates an intricate weaving of sounds to help support RpT’s vocals and souring melodies.
Thomas prides himself on exploring a wide range of musical genres — from folk and rock to jazz and soulful balladry — and emotions that travel from lighthearted and fun to serious and introspective. His thought-provoking examinations of life’s joys and challenges come from the heart and speak to the soul.
Born in Milwaukee, WI, Thomas started playing guitar in 1957, inspired by rising stars such as Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, the Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison. Captured by the British Invasion, he spent his high school years performing covers of the Kinks, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. He met his first wife, Susan, in a folk group he joined; they wound up writing, recording (A Burst of Life) and touring together for 10 years, sharing stages with artists such as Anne Murray, Loggins & Messina, Helen Reddy, Townes Van Zandt, James Lee Stanley, Odetta and Michael Martin Murphey.
In the late ‘70s, Thomas became an associate director for the Cousteau Society, producing festivals meant to raise awareness about environmental issues. During that time, he met his second wife, Linda, and they settled in her hometown of Salado, Texas. They had a son and Thomas built a career as a software consultant.
In 2011, Thomas released the sound track from his one-man musical titled Captured Rainbow, based on the life of a consultant who spends most of his time on the road. The two-act play, performed in Austin, Milwaukee, Chicago, San Francisco and Salado, features stories and songs about his experiences and the people he meets along the way. One of its songs, “Salado,” was adopted by the Village of Salado, which stated in an official proclamation that it “represents our community’s spirit, character and history.” Produced by Chris Gage, his following CD, Wings Of My Heart was released in 2012 includes 12 more of RpT’s unique and varied compositions.
Thomas expresses his appreciation for producer Chris Gage: “The more I get to work with Chris, the more I appreciate his commitment and creative efforts in bringing my songs to life. Nowhere is that more evident than in the title song, SALADO, depicting the life of a stagecoach driver on his last trip home. The symbiotic relationship between the guitar and banjo matches the haunting power I felt when I first wrote this song.”