For decades, Rik Emmett — largely considered one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time — has been a prolific recording artist, whether it be as a member of TRIUMPH, offering solo material, or collaborating with others. And now, fans will be able to enjoy quite a few of his solo releases once again — which covers a wide variety of styles. On Friday, July 10, Round Hill Records will reissue 11 solo Rik recordings in the digital format, including "Ten Invitations" (1998), "Swing Shift" (1998), "Raw Quartet" (1999), "Live At Berklee" (2000), "Handiwork" (2003), "Good Faith" (2003), "Strung-Out Troubadours" (2006), "Live At Hugh's Room" (2007), "Liberty Manifesto" (2007), "Push & Pull" (2009) and "Marco's Secret Songbook" (2012):
"As my loyal fans will tell you, I'm not the kind of artist who spends a lot of time and energy looking back," explains Rik. "But it has been nice to feel there's a partner who places value on the history of my work beyond the TRIUMPH years.
"I don't think of myself as a difficult artist: I'd like to think I'm easy-going and cooperative. But I have a lot of decades of experience in the music business, and I know that an eclectic catalogue of music like this presents Round Hill with some, ummm, unique challenges.
"It's gratifying to find patronage that can breathe new life and energy into the public's awareness of the catalog. I'm glad that Round Hill respects the work I did, and the music I made.
"My heart and soul is in this collection. So I only hope the best for Round Hill, as they try to make the digital universe of the 21st century, with its infinite challenges, aware of a humble troubadour from Canada."
For TRIUMPH fans who may just be discovering these solo Rik titles, its creator discussed the differences between the two. "There's no comparison to be made, really: separate universes," he says. "The first album of this new Round Hill catalog dates from 1996. I had already been out of TRIUMPH for over eight years, and by then, had fully transitioned away from any attempts to make mainstream, charting, music-business kinds of projects. I was simply pursuing personal artistic goals, and I had a loyal group of fans — patrons, really — who would indulge that, making it self-sufficient. Many of these albums were about testing my chops, writing and playing instrumental compositions, or exploring styles of music-making that had nothing to do with rock. These albums represent an artistic learning curve of my own digital studio, my own production, my own composing. The hints of prolific eclecticism that a keen TRIUMPH fan might have found back in the '70s and '80s is fully in evidence in this catalog that spans 1998 to 2012."
"Every album has its moments. Would you ask a parent to choose a favorite child? I love things about all of them, for different reasons. 'Swing Shift' has some personal highlights: I'd waited all my life to try and put original songs like 'Taste Of Steel' and 'Mr. Bebop' on an album: and the 'Live At Berklee' CD was a unique, crazy night ... I'm also very proud of the collaborations with Dave Dunlop on the 'Troubadours' albums, especially 'State Of Grace' and 'Deeper Kind Of Blue'. And if any fans are looking for hard rock, the AIRTIME 'Liberty Manifesto' album I did with Mike Shotton is a heavy-progressive project. There are some songwriting gems on 'Marco's Secret Songbook', too: 'Hope' is a song I really love, and 'Between The Dreams' has an 'epic' dimension in my imagination. I guess the 'favorite' thing I feel about the entire collection, is the depth and breadth of my songwriting. I'm really glad Round Hill is giving the world another chance to give it all a listen."
And lastly, what about future projects? "I never stop writing," Rik says. "My notebook has three songs on the go right now. My own website has new downloads out for a collection of 24 tracks entitled 'Folk Songs For The Farewell Bonfire'. And I've just completed a book of poetry, which I'm currently shopping around. Also, in early stages of development: a memoir/autobiography, and a select compilation of the over 2,000 pages of fan forum blogging I've done on my site since it launched a few decades back. Plus, I collaborate on videos for endorsement partners (doin' some country chicken-pickin', next week), do a bit of co-writing, and participate in some charity initiatives. So I'm keeping busy, creatively."