About

Richard Medek is a drummer, engineer, and producer. He spent his formative years in Lafayette, LA; Tucson, AZ; and Nashville, TN before eventually settling down in Minneapolis in 2008. His resume is equally all over the map—he’s appeared on rock tours (John Doe, Alternate Routes), Americana albums (Hacienda Brothers, Kelly Pardekooper), ambient cacophony (Winthorp, his side project with Teddy Morgan and Carl Broemel), and everything in between.

Discography

Plains

The Backyard Committee

Label/Year
2017
Credits
Mobile recording and engineer
Drums and percussion
Description

Plains is one of a two-record set of live shows from the Backyard Committee. I recorded this during a 2014 tour though the Midwest, my laptop next to me and using a fairly guerrilla setup of double-micing everything on stage. (A bit more about that here.) Paying attention to recording while having letting loose playing was a bit of a balancing act, but a fun challenge and a surprisingly feasible way to get a quality recording—we’ve come a long way since we needed the Rolling Stones mobile truck thing. 

4th of July

4th of July

Label/Year
ATO Records, 2016
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

I just can’t say enough good things about Carl (although I've tried to, here). We recorded 4th of July in a few sessions spread a year or so apart. At one point during the recording of the title track, I looked over to watch Tom Blankenship on one side of me and Bo Koster on the other—his bandmates in My Morning Jacket—and thinking there must have been some terrible mistake to let me have so much fun in the middle.

Somebody’s Child

Tim Warren

Label/Year
2015
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

The first takes of Tim Warren’s solo release were recorded in late 2010. It was an emotional time—the future of Tim’s band, the Alternate Routes, was unclear, and he was losing his father to cancer. Somehow, he channeled the uncertainty of the time into one of the most beautiful records I've played on, Somebody’s Child. It was only made available as a bonus album in a box set, making this a rare moment in time.

Brandy Zdan

Brandy Zdan

Label/Year
2015
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 4, 5, 8, 9)
Description

My friend Teddy Morgan was producing Brandy’s record and thought we’d be a good fit. So we got together one night in Nashville and decided to try a song or two to see what would happen. What did happen is almost impossible to describe here—the songs just sort of, well, took over; the air in the studio was electric; there were moments where both her and I had to take breaks just to gather ourselves. Who knows if it was the songs or the atmosphere or the timing, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience and instant bonding I can’t forget. (Also, the record is amazing.)

Here's To Change

Josh Taerk

Label/Year
Misty Creek Records, 2015
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

Josh is young and talented, and recording Here's To Change was a blast—all of us tracking together, going for full takes and generally pretending we were a rock band that’s been playing together forever.

It’s That Time (single)

The Alternate Routes

Label/Year
2014
Credits
Bari sax, horn arrangement
Description

I don’t get calls to play bari sax or write horn arrangements very often. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Back At It!

Big George Jackson

Label/Year
2014
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12)
Description

Big George Jackson is the truth in many ways and one of the sweetest men I know. I recorded most of these tunes back in 2008, soon after I moved to Minneapolis. Six years later, here they are on Back At It!—I suppose George is also one of the most patient men I know. Playing with him—and especially guitar player Jeremy Johnson, who recorded these tracks as well—is always a blast; it’s blues music that isn’t afraid to step out of the box.

In Real Time

Chris Koza

Label/Year
2014
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

When Chris Koza approached John Munson, who approached me, about recording In Real Time, the initial idea was to get us all in a studio and track a live, roots-inspired album. But the songs sort of steered themselves into a more pop direction, and mix engineer Brett Bullion helped glue the new sonic identity together. Most of the actual recording went by in a DayQuil-infused haze as I had just come down with the flu. I love the results, though, fever be damned.

Where Would I Be Without You

Ray Barnard

Label/Year
2014
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 1, 2, 4, 8, 9)
Description

To be completely honest—I'm not sure which songs on this record I’ve played on, so I've listed the ones I'm 99% sure I can recognize! There were a few drummers on this record, and tons of programming, and Ray loves to experiment, and the final product is a pretty fun groovy gumbo of lots of drum sounds. I do remember that I went into Jeremy Johnson’s studio one night with Ray we cut eleven songs in a night, which might be contributing to the overall blur…

Bob Dylan in the 80s, Vol. 1

Carl Broemel

Label/Year
ATO Records, 2014
Credits
Drums and percussion (track 17)

Festival

The Backyard Committee

Label/Year
2013
Credits
Drums and percussion
Additional engineering
Description

Mike Sembos and I hit it off while touring together with the Alternate Routes; I've had a blast working with him from time to time in his band, the Backyard Committee. Most of the album was recorded when/wherever we could squeeze time away on tour, and it was all assembled later into this short and sweet album. Mike is a rock-and-roll purist, a strong believer in first takes and honest performances, and Festival shines thanks to this.

Attack of the Heart

Lucy Michelle

Label/Year
2013
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

We recorded Attack of the Heart, live, crammed between makeshift gobos in John Munson’s small rehearsal room in Northeast Minneapolis, with he and his partner-in-crime Chan Poling producing. I love every second of this record, both the final product and the memories of the John/Chan production dynamic—ideas flowing fast and furious, all considered carefully but discarded in an instant without ego if it wasn’t right. This record also has the distinction of being able to instantly soothe my baby son when we danced to it.

Rewind/Turn It Around

The Alternate Routes

Label/Year
2012
Credits
Drums
Description

This collection of singles from the Alternate Routes contains “Rewind,” a powerful tune from Eric Donnelly and one of the songs I'm the most proud to have played a part in.

Make It Good

R.J. Mischo

Label/Year
Delta Groove Music, 2012
Credits
Drums and percussion (track 3)
Additional engineering

No October

Dave Olson

Label/Year
2012
Credits
Producer, engineer
Drums, percussion, Moog bass, programming, string arrangement
Description

No October remains one of my best musical experiences: Dave had a collection deceptively simple and sweet songs; we lined up amazing musicians; we recorded the bulk of the album in a beautiful renovated barn in rural Minnesota, our window scenery a carpet of crickets and flocks of migrating birds. The journey we took from a collection of demos on an acoustic guitar to this record is one of my proudest as a producer.

Famous For Killing Each Other

Kevin Costner & Modern West

Label/Year
Madison Gate, 2012
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 1, 6, 7, 9)

If It Takes All Winter

Caitlin Robertson

Label/Year
2012
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

Duluth in the winter is not for the faint of heart, but being drenched in the reverb of Sacred Heart, the beautiful church-turned-recording studio, made it a little more bearable.

Merry Come Up

Molly Maher

Label/Year
2011
Credits
Drums (tracks 4, 5, 7, 9, 11)

Technicolor

Sara Beck

Label/Year
2011
Credits
Drums (track 10)

The Devil You Know

Jimmi & The Band of Souls

Label/Year
Blue Wren, 2011
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10)

From Where I Stand

Kevin Costner & Modern West

Label/Year
2011
Credits
Drums (tracks 1 & 9)

Lately

The Alternate Routes

Label/Year
2010
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

The sessions for Lately were exciting and emotional and uncertain. The band had lost family, personnel, and their label, and the direction of a new record was pretty unclear. But there was such a positive and charged vibe in the studio while tracking; the songs came fast and easy and the album ended up projecting an energizing rebirth. I spent a good amount of the next year in a van with these guys supporting the record and had a great time.

All Birds Say

Carl Broemel

Label/Year
ATO Records, 2010
Credits
Drums and percussion (all tracks except 10)
Description

Of all of the musical connections I made while living in Nashville, the one I forged with Carl may be closest to my heart—for one, he’s one-third of my once-in-a-blue-moon musical therapy side-project, Winthorp; and he writes and records beautiful albums like All Birds Say. I feel very lucky to have played a part in this recording.

Turn It On

Kevin Costner & Modern West

Label/Year
2010
Credits
Drums (track 1)

Tinted Windows to the Soul

Ray Barnard

Label/Year
2010
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12)
Description

The sessions with Ray for Tinted Windows… were always fun and spontaneous. Erik Koskinen was producing, and I lived close to the studio where he and Ray were tracking. So most sessions started with a phone call like this: "Hey, what are you doing for the next hour?" One time, I got that call on the way to dinner with my wife; we stopped by the studio and she hung out for about thirty minutes while we tracked “Carolee.” (I promise I don’t ask her do this often.)

Keep It To Yourself

Erik Koskinen

Label/Year
2010
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 3, 7, 10, 11)
Description

I’ve been playing with Erik since moving to Minneapolis in 2008, and am constantly impressed by his writing and playing—both keep improving, both somehow pay homage to his roots while testing new boundaries. I'd played a few incarnations of the tunes before they eventually made it to Keep It To Yourself, but they, like him, continue to evolve.

Cast Your Bread EP

Molly Maher

Label/Year
2010
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

I met Molly Maher soon after moving to Minneapolis and we clicked almost right away. She has a definitive sound and a soulful voice, and is a joy to play with. Cast Your Bread is pretty good snapshot of where we were headed, musically.

Her Tattoos Could Sail Ships

The Mad Ripple

Label/Year
Eclectone, 2010
Credits
Drums and percussion (all tracks except 8)
Description

Making this album with Jim Walsh, aka the Mad Ripple, was a bit of a blur—I walked into a garage studio at 8 p.m. and about an hour after we set up we had cut nine tracks. Jim played each song once, on an acoustic guitar, while I scribbled out a chart, then we recorded a take. No mulligans, no second-guesses! There are a few things I would want to get another pass at but I can't deny it was a pretty fun way to make a record.

We’re All Going to Hell!

Jennifer Markey

Label/Year
2010
Credits
Drums (tracks 2, 3, 4, 10)
Description

I don't consider myself a “country” drummer in the slightest, but it sure is fun to pretend. I played on a handful of tracks on Jennifer Markey’s debut honky-tonker.

Man of Somebody’s Dreams: A Tribute to Chris Gaffney

Dan Penn

Label/Year
Yep Roc, 2009
Credits
Drums (track 17)
Description

Chris Gaffney’s death in 2008 hit a lot of us pretty hard, and it was great to see so many artists come together under the Yep Roc banner to record a tribute. This tune was actually an outtake from the first Hacienda Brothers record, with Dan Penn—who had produced half of the record—re-singing Chris’s iconic vocal. It would have made Chris proud, I'm sure.

The Temple

Jimmi Langemo

Label/Year
Blue Wren, 2009
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10)
Description

Jimmi is one of the nicest guys I know, and the sessions for The Temple were easy-going and fun. I overdubbed most of the drums in one night at Erik Koskinen’s Real-Phonic studio in Minneapolis.

Make It Fast

Jon Coleman

Label/Year
LML, 2009
Credits
Drums and percussion (all tracks except 6)
Description

Jon Coleman is, hands down, one of the most talented and special musicians I know. He plays with a straight-line connection from emotion to instrument, and anyone who's worked with him would agree. Make It Fast is a great showcase for his spectacular B3 work and soulful approach, and getting to know him and playing on this record was a highlight of my time in Nashville.

Jason Shannon

Jason Shannon

Label/Year
2009
Credits
Drums (track 11)
Description

My first session in Minneapolis was with Jason at Wild Sound, tracking a few extra songs for his otherwise-completed debut album. 

Gloom Cookie

Cathy Rivers

Label/Year
Alto Voltaje, 2009
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11)
Description

One of the hardest things about moving from Tucson to Nashville in 2004 was moving so far away from Cathy, one of my best friends and a long-time partner in music. We tracked the songs that ended up on Gloom Cookie over a few years in both cities; looking back, I feel the distance and creative urgency made its mark—positively—to the sound of the record.

Untold Truths

Kevin Costner & Modern West

Label/Year
Universal South, 2008
Credits
Drums (tracks 2, 3, 4, 10, 12)
Description

How I ended up on three records by Kevin Costner (yes, that Kevin Costner) is probably the real story here, but that is a longer story for another time. We went into Sound Emporium one day to track drums for four songs, had some extra time at the end of the session, and cut track 10, “Backyard,” on a whim. That song ended up being the single of the record, the featured tune in Kevin’s movie, Swing Vote, and a NASCAR theme song for a moment. (!)

Brand New Bag

Kelly Pardekooper

Label/Year
Sonic Rendezvous, 2007
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

Most of Brand New Bag was recorded with Kelly and I in the same room of a small garage studio in East Nashville. Kelly was playing acoustic guitar and singing very softly; I played insanely quiet for the most part and the drums came to loud, rock-style life later thanks to fearless compression. It was a challenging session and a ton of fun.

Sick of Love

Luca

Label/Year
Funzalo, 2006
Credits
Drums (track 7)
Description

In the fall of 2005 I joined the Nick Luca Trio for a few weeks, touring as a back-up band to John Doe. The first thing we did when we got back to town was hop into Wavelab studio and cut demos for their new record. I tracked 18 songs in three hours; one of those drum tracks found a bonafide home on the album.

Palmhenge

Johnny Hickman

Label/Year
Campstove, 2005
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 12)
Description

It's no secret that Johnny Hickman is one of the world’s foremost fans of the Big Lebowski, so it’s no surprise that most of this record was fueled by White Russians and discussions of pacifism. At one point we were freeze-framing clips of the movie on a laptop and dragging the visual inspiration into the studio with us. The Dude abides.

Haymaker Heart

Kelly Pardekooper

Label/Year
Leisure Time, 2005
Credits
Drums (tracks 2 & 3)
Description

Kelly recorded most of Haymaker Heart with his band in Iowa City, but I managed to cut a few songs with him while he was in Tucson. We recorded, after-hours, onstage at the Rialto Theater with a makeshift recording setup and Teddy Morgan producing.

Hacienda Brothers

Hacienda Brothers

Label/Year
Koch, 2005
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

The Hacienda Brothers were a super-group (of sorts) of alt-country musicians, the brainchild of Jeb Schoonover who brought everyone together at a show for his 40th birthday party. We recorded the first half of the album at Jeb’s home in Tucson, and the second at the Cavern studio with Dan Penn producing. The “home” tracks are the standouts on this record, in my opinion, although it was a real treat working with Dan. The real takeaway from this experience for me was getting to know Chris Gaffney, a true voice and character.

Live in Europe

Kelly Pardekooper

Label/Year
Leisure Time, 2004
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

Live in Europe was a little mini-album/bootleg thanks to a MiniDisc recorder and our road manager, Anton Verdonk, during a tour through Germany in late 2003. The show, if I remember correctly, was in a swanky mirrored club in Frankfurt and attended by about twelve middle-aged and highly enthusiastic German men.

Still Cadillacin’

Johnny “Guitar” Blommer

Label/Year
ARV, 2004
Credits
Producer, engineer
Drums and percussion
Description

I was living with Johnny in Tucson, AZ, just a few weeks away from moving to Nashville, when he asked if I would help record and produce his solo record. Of course I said yes, and we quickly turned the house into a recording studio, tracking drums in the living room and using the hallway for a reverb tank. Everything went through a Behringer Eurodesk board into a 16-track Fostex hard disk recorder—the reviews all mentioned the “warm, vintage tones.” Studio magic!

Ascensión

Cathy Rivers

Label/Year
Alto Voltaje, 2004
Credits
Drums and percussion
Description

Ascensión was made pretty quickly after Cathy’s first record, Bleached, but feels a lifetime apart in terms of songwriting and production. It’s one of my favorites, both musically and as a moment in time, and I love the directions Cathy spurred us to.

Step Right Up!

The Carnivaleros

Label/Year
RootaVega Records, 2003
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Description

I had a lot of fun playing with and recording Gary Mackender’s first incarnation of the Carnivaleros. (My favorite drum tracks on the record, though, are Gary’s.)

Freight

Teddy Morgan

Label/Year
Sonic Rendezvous, 2003
Credits
Drums and percussion (all tracks except 9 & 13)
Description

Freight was a marker for Teddy Morgan as a producer and musician—it was rooted in the alt-country, roots music he had exploring but hinted at more textural and adventurous music to come. We recorded this in a few different locations, both of us engineering and me handling a few recording duties; it was a huge learning experience for the both of us and a very special album for me.

Bleached

Cathy Rivers

Label/Year
Horsethief Records, 2002
Credits
Drums and percussion (tracks 1–10)
Description

Recorded in Cathy’s garage-turned-recording-studio, Bleached was one of the first full-length recordings I worked on as well as my first with Teddy Morgan at the producer helm. Cathy is in the highest echelon of people I love and this record will always be super-special to me.