Rich O'Toole to celebrate release of rocking new album with acoustic Amarillo show

Posted by Chip Chandler on
Rich O'Toole will perform Saturday at Golden Light Cantina.

"American Kid," Rich O'Toole

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

For a kid growing up with a steady diet of '90s country, adding the Boss to the rotation was something akin to heresy for Rich O'Toole.

"My buddy had a lot of (Bruce) Springsteen, but I wasn't sure if it was cool or not to like him," O'Toole said.

While his friends were listening to Nirvana and the like, O'Toole branched out in a different direction, discovering Robert Earl Keen. That's when his friend introduced him to Bruuuuuuuucccce.

"I found his writing and his style (attractive)," O'Toole said.

Now, O'Toole hopes to represent the rock side of the Texas music scene with his newest album, American Kid, due out March 17. He'll celebrate the release with an acoustic show at 10 p.m. Saturday at Golden Light Cantina, 2908 S.W. Sixth Ave. The Corey Hunt Band will open. Cover is $10.

"My live show is just like Springsteen's," O'Toole said. (And yes, he said he knows that's saying a lot: "It is big shoes to fill. ... You look up to the best, not the mediocre.")

And though Springsteen is a Jersey boy at heart, O'Toole said he thinks there's a Texan lurking inside, too.

"He loves Joe Ely, he loves Robert Earl Keen. He's had a lot of influence from Texas writers," O'Toole said. "If Springsteen had grown up in Texas, he would have been a Joe Ely."

American Kid is "a very aggressive" album, he said, "very rock 'n' roll."

"It's very much a Springsteen essence," he continued. "I've tried to capture his sound for a long time. It takes a long time to find it."

He'll take a more chill approach at Saturday's release party, though, performing solo in an acoustic show. He said he plans on playing the album track by track, discussing each song along the way.

Though he's aspiring to a Boss-like quality, O'Toole said his new album still falls under the big umbrella of Texas country, a genre he has had issues with in the past.

"As you get a little older, you stop fighting battles as much," O'Toole said. "You make the music you love, and you get over it. Everyone is filled with piss and vinegar back in the day."



Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.

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