June 28, 1980
Billboard Magazine Recommended LPs
RIVERROCK – Midwest Man, Produced by Michael, Joe Meyers.
This Midwest group spans a pleasant variety of formats in its debut release. There’s an easy country-rock feel to many of the tunes contributed by a gamut of writers, and the production is solid, focusing on clear, bright instrumental tracks and soft harmonies. The LP was cut in Nashville and draws on well-known studio players for support, but Riverrock acquits itself nicely here. Best cuts: “Until Your Love Found Me”, “Play Me Away”, “Jubilation”, “Midwest Man”, “Tennessee Girl”.
June 24, 1980
Kansas City Star
Countrysides by Gary Rice
Midwest Man, Riverrock
Riverrock’s previous album was a rough-and-tumble electric bluegrass affair recorded before a hoot-and holler audience at Putch’s Strawberry Patch in Kansas City.
On the band’s new album, Riverrock has gone uptown. It went to Nashville to do the recording and added a very visible battery of sessionmen, including such heavy artillery as Randy Scruggs and Vassar Clements.
Bluegrass is no longer the order of the day. The album straddles the line between country pop and country rock, although a couple of token bluegrass-styled songs are thrown in.
It’s a mighty slick, well produced package. The individual instruments and vocals seem to jump out of the speakers. That’s the way it should be. Although the album suffers a bit from too much smoothness and too little spontaneity, it’s far from being over-produced.
“Jubilation”, a rousing country rocker that seems to periodically explode, and “Tennessee Girl”, a medium tempo, Kenny Rogers-styled ballad, are the pick of the litter. Although “Jubilation” owes a lot to the studio sessionmen, the group also can do a rollicking live version.
“See the Grown Man Cry”, “Until Your Love Found Me” and “Play Me Away” all fit in the Kenny Rogers style of crossover pop. “Midwest Man”, with a sharp electric guitar break, is a mild-rocking tune with cowboy lyrics.
Riverrock keeps evolving with new personnel and new directions. This is the group’s first real venture into the world of commercial country music. Whether it’s successful will depend on the exposure and airplay the album gets.
Sherry Wood Owner & Publisher
Just got a sneak preview of Riverrock’s new album, “Midwest Man” and it deserves nothing but a rave review.
The release date has not yet been announced for “Midwest Man” but it should be soon. Watch for it – this one is too good to miss!
Sherry Wood Owner & Publisher
“Midwest Man”, the Riverrock album released just last month, appeared for the first time in the K.C. Times area music survey on May 3, where it was placed in the No. 6 position, right after “The Electric Horseman”…
By Tim O’Rourke
If you’re from or lived in Kansas City very long, the name Riverrock is bound to bring to mind good music, quality showmanship, and a group of musicians whose hard work, tenacity, and dedication to their craft, have earned them a celebrity’s crown in our city’s music scene. Riverrock plays a smooth blend of electric bluegrass, country ballads, and country swing, salt and peppered with rock, blues and a host of original works that set them apart in style and sound. Riverrock has trekked across the country playing fairs, nightclubs, colleges, and appearing with headliners like Minnie Pearl, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Emmylou Harris, to name a few. Riverrock is without a doubt, Kansas City’s most popular bluegrass group. Riverrock is comprised of leader, Dan Smith, percussionist and vocalist; Paul Mumma, lead guitarist and fiddle player; Rick Harrelson, bass and lead vocals; and newly added member, John Monthei, banjo, steel and vocalist. Riverrock up until now, has two locally produced albums and a single to their credit.
In concert they provide the audience an atmosphere of excitement, tied with a generous amount of knee slapping and spontaneity. You might be wondering by now with all their obvious success and talent, why have we not seen Riverrock emerge to national act status, television, and hit radio air play. Well, with the release of “Midwest Man”, Riverrock’s new LP, if anyone has a chance at gold, it certainly should be found in their latest recording effort. The album is a smash! And having the privilege of being one of the first to review it, this reporter intends to devote the rest of the article to its contents.
“Midwest Man” was recorded in Nashville and took some four months from conception to finished product. Produced by Mike and Joe Meyers and recorded at the Sound Shop Studio in Nashville, “Midwest Man” competes in the national market place in quality and recording technique. It shows depth and versatility, both lyrically and musically. The album flows superbly from song to song and keeps your ears’ interest throughout. I was extremely impressed with the rhythm tracks and hook leads. The vocals are well mixed and command attention. The harmonies are tight and flavor beautifully.
Jubilation, the first cut on the record and my favorite of the ten, is a definite crossover and could be played on just about any radio format. Rick Harrelson’s vocal is on the money and the tune makes you move, telling us of new, good love. The harmonica work is excellent, and I would pick this tune to be the winner for air play. I’m Always Leaving Town, a beautiful ballad; and Midwest Man, the title cut; Tennessee Girl, a country song; and Takin’ Time for Makin’ Love, a bluegrass song: make the first side a listening experience. The second side includes Love’s A Game, sung by Dan Smith; it has power and a warming lyric. This tune would get my vote for being number two for air play. See The Grown Man Cry, a TEAR JERKER: Until Your Love Found Me, Play Me Away, my third pick for success, along with a novelty tune called Saturday Dance, make “Midwest Man” an exciting collection of music and a spring-board for Riverrock’s dive into the big league.
Three of the album songs were written by Larry Keith who has hits to his credit by Player, Dave & Sugar, and Dr. Hook. The cast of expert session men included Randy Scruggs and Vassar Clements. Riverrock’s new LP is an excellent piece of work and another feather for Kansas City’s music scene. I hope our radio stations give it the attention it so deserves. “Midwest Man” will be released in April on Hannah Records, and will be available at your favorite record store. 61 Country Radio will feature the album in an hour special sometime in early April. I encourage you to see Riverrock nightly at the Rawhide Bar in Martin City, and look forward to their new album, “Midwest Man"
Acknowledgements for Midwest Man (1980)
Road manager and concert sound: Rich Haynes
Thanks to: Jack and Janet Smith, Sam Mumma, John Sullivan and Mid-American Bank, Mary Ann Mumma, Everyone at the Rawhide Bar and especially you…
Acknowledgements for "Ridin' On The PSB&T" recording session (1982)
Riverrock (1982): Rick Harrelson, John Monthei, Paul Mumma and Dan Smith
Thanks to: Special guest piano monster, Dan Doran, assited by Paul Mumma's stocking cap (for keeping Dan's headphone on his bobbing head) and Patron's State Bank & Trust for the gig and the jingle work.
Acknowledgements for Midwest Man (2010)
Thanks to: Linda Smith for creating the (first) web site and all the great marketing ideas,
Allen Blasco for his guidance, lending his collector’s copy of “Ridin’ the PSB&T”, getting the band back together and all his great gigs, Dan Smith for his recording studio to rehearse in and make demos, starting Kaw Point Records, Prairie Beach Music and all the Dan Smith Agency bookings, John and Paul Mumma for all they do to make the music great and putting up with Dan and Allen, also; family, friends, promoters of LIVE music and, again, especially you…
Photo by Julie Ruf
Riverrock (self titled LP)
Kansas City to Lawrence Vinyl Records
April 8 2014 (Retro Review)
Riverrock Self-Titled Private 1975 CAT# SRK-585
I spotted this at a Salvation Army and the awful cover photo just screamed private press. An old-timey, sepia-toned, portrait shot that looks like it was done at Worlds of Fun (for those of you not familiar to KC, Worlds of Fun is an amusement park owned by the Hunt family, it's kind of hokey, but fun). Picked it up and discovered these bad-asses are from Overland Park, KS, so I took it home.
When I first put it on the turntable, I expected country, I just didn't expect to be all that enjoyable. I figured guys from the suburb of Overland Park would be highly influenced by the Nashville country-pop sound, y'know, loads of sentimental, hard-luck, ballads. A bunch of shitty studio effects and a bunch of filler. Instead, it's a roots driven and weighted in traditional country.
To be sure, there are the hokey and hillbilly moments, the instrumental "Buffalo Chips" comes to mind for using a kazoo. Overall though, traditional instruments and no pretension. It's a very homespun LP and while it contains some hoe-down moments better suited for live shows, solid harmonies and songwriting. In addition, there's a cover of the Beatles "With a Little Help From My Friends," and an even better cover of Dylan's, "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," simlar to the version that showed up on the Byrd's Sweetheart LP.
It's a surprisingly good album. These were guys weren't rebelling against the Nashville sound, but they weren't following it rules, either (didn't have to in Kansas). It's not an "outlaw" or "rebel" album, but it's certainly rooted in traditional country, coming close to the 'Newgrass' scene that was growing throughout the 70's. Later, the band would make an 8 hour drive to Nashville to record an album that disregards everything enjoyable about this album, but I'll get to that at another time.
Come On In (45 RPM/single)
c. 1976 c. 1977 Riverrock, Inc.
Side A: Come On In (Jim Blanton) Brush Creek Music (BMI)
Side B: Pine Mountain Railway (Jim Blanton) Brush Creek Music (BMI)
Produced by Ron Roberts & Craig Wolfe
Art by Phil Smith
Still 'live & Pickin' (LP)
Still 'live & Pickin' Review
Art by Ann Willoughby
MIDWEST MAN: 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION(CD)
c. 2010 Kaw Point Records
Jim Blanton: Vocals, Fiddle, Mandolin, and Acoustic Guitar
John Mumma: Vocals, Banjo, Pedal Steel Guitar, Acoustic Guitar and Bass
Paul Mumma: Vocals, Lead & Rhythm Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar and Mouth Harp
Steve Hall: Vocals, Bass, Siren and Drums (on Buffalo Chips)
Dan Smith: Vocals, Drums, Washboard, Whistle & Kazoo
Engineered by Ron Ubel
Recorded at Sound Recorders, K.C. MO
Produced by Riverrock, Inc., P.O. Box 4873, O.P. KS 66204
Personal Management by Janet Smith
Cover Photo by Julie Ruf
Design and Printing by John Frazier
Special thanks to Jack and Janet Smith, Sam Mumma, Mary Ann Mumma, Dave Moore, Kathy Kasten, Bob Smith, Sharon Pippin, Bob Hughes Music, Dave Hasemeyer, The Jolins, John Stevens, Corey Powers, Bob the Doorman, Rich Haynes, "Feedback" Fellenstein, Peggy Reardon, Brian Miller, Rick Schuetz, J.K. Oliver, Megan Floyd, Phil Smith, John Fraizer, all the folks at Huck Finn's and especially you...
February 14, 1978
The Kansas City Star
by Gary Rice
STILL ‘LIVE & PICKIN’ (Rockin W records)
Riverrock, one of Kansas City’s favorite bar bands, has a winner with this live recording of bluegrass and country.
The album was recorded July 9, 1977 at Putch’s Strawberry Patch. The sound quality – especially for a live album – is excellent. Te record seems to be free of a lot of the snaps, crackles and pops found today on many new albums. Some of the major record companies could learn a few things here.
The five-member band races through bluegrass staples like “Rollin’ in my Sweet Baby’s Arms” and “Fox on the Run”. The old Hank Thompson classic, “Six Pack to Go” is also given a pretty fair treatment, but Hank’s original can’t be beat.
The band;s version of John Sebastian’s “Nashville Cats” and Willie Nelson’s “Gotta Get Drunk” aren’t as sharp as the rest of the album. But you know it's the kind of music a barroom crowd wants to hear.
On the original material Riverrock really shines.
“Lost Road at Midnight”, written by Paul Mumma, who plays harmonica, acoustic and electric guitars, has a haunting melody and lyrics that will stick with you after the album is off the turntable. It’s all about poverty, a flood and a mean landlord.
“I Love You Now”, written by John Mumma, who plays acoustic guitar, banjo and pedal steel, uses a western swing style arrangement that begins instrumentally and picks up the vocals well into the song.
With the right radio exposure, “Lost Road at Midnight” and “I Love You Now” could be successful singles.
“Another Girl Like You”, also written by John Mumma, is a standard bluegrass offering.
I’d like to see more original material on their next album and maybe some obscure country or bluegrass tunes instead of the standards to fill out the record.
Liner Notes for Still 'live & Pickin'
Midwest Man (LP)
Art by Thomas Gieseke
Riverrock (1980): Rick Harrelson, John Monthei, John Mumma, Paul Mumma and Dan Smith
Hats off to these pickers and singers (alphabetically): Stu Basore, Pete Bordonali, Clyde Brooks, Vassar Clements, Stephen Della Vecchia, Jon Goin, Larry Keith, Dick Krim, Terry McMillan, Michael Meyers, Johnny Meyers, Tony Migliore, Randy Scruggs, Timmy Tappan. Arranged by: Michael Meyers. Engineered by: Mike Bradley. Recorded and Mixed at: The Sound Shop, Nashville, Tennessee. Mastered at: Masterphonics, Nashville, Tennessee. Cover Art and Album Design by: Ann Willoughby.
30th Anniversary Edition Remastered for CD and Manufactured by Disc Makers,
Art Layout for CD by Personal Marketing Co., Lenexa KS
Bonus Track (Ridin’ On the PSB&T) Recorded at SoundRecorders (1982), Kansas City MO
Produced by Riverrock and Engineered by Chris Bauer
Riverrock (2010): Allen Blasco, John Mumma, Paul Mumma and Dan Smith
Booking: Dan Smith Agency 2825 E. 8th Street, K.C. MO 64124 816-214-6088
For song lyrics, acknowledgements, historical insight into Riverrock and Midwest Man and everything you want to know about Riverrock today, go to: www.riverrockkc.com
September 22, 2011
"The Advertiser" (UK) 16 September 2011
By Pete Smith
The unique sound of Kansas City’s Riverrock is built on the four members diverse tastes in music and their musical virtuosity. The Mumma brothers, John and Paul, between them play guitars, fiddle, banjo, pedal steel and bass whilst Dan Smith handles drums and washboard and Allen Blasco adds additional guitars, harmonica and bass and all four sing. To describe their brand of country is difficult for there are no comparisons but if you imagined a big pot filled with equal measures of stone country, bluegrass, folk and rockabilly stirred vigorously and simmered gently for a number of years you might just begin to imagine this wonderful sound. “Shuddup And Party” (Kaw Point/Comstock) is a great introduction to this most talented outfit with 8 original songs plus four covers as you have never heard them before. “House Of The Rising Sun” has a singalong arrangement much as one would expect from the Kingston Trio, “Ghost Riders In The Sky” is offered as an instrumental whilst Lennon and McCartney’s “I’ve Just Seen A Face” is given the bluegrass treatment. Otis Redding’s “Dock Of The Bay” proves that in the right hands almost any song can be country. The band’s humour shines through on “The Cholesterol Song”. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s John McEuen contributes banjo on “Your Love Is An Oasis” and “North Dakota Waltz”.
Allen Blasco; Electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica, bass and vocals
John Mumma; Banjo, pedal steel guitar, bass and vocals
Paul Mumma; Electric and acoustic guitars, fiddle, mandolin and vocals
Dan Smith; Drums, washboard and vocals
John McEuen; Banjo on track 6, mandolin on track 12
Frank Brown; Piano and keyboards on Tracks 1, 6 & 12
Jeff Elsloo; Dobro on track 6
Greg Warrell; Bass on track 1
Recorded at Dan Smith Agency Recording Studios, K.C., MO & Raytown, MO
Engineered by Dan Smith
Booking: Dan Smith Agency 8829 E. 61st Terrace, Raytown, MO 64133
Cover art and layout by Thomas A. Gieseke www.artbytom.com
Manufactured by Disc Makers, Pennsauken, NJ
Produced by Riverrock (Yeah, that's right)
In loving memory of Linda Henderson Smith
July 21, 1959 - June 18, 2011
Shuddup & Party! Reviews
Liner Notes for Midwest Man
30th Anniversary Edition
Art by Ann Willoughby
Midwest Man (cassette version)
December 7, 2011
Ozark Mountain Daredevils' John Dillon Critiques "Shuddup & Party!"
Hey Dan: sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I wanted to listen to your CDs before I wrote you back and it’s taken me this long to find a block of time to listen properly. In that regard I want to say how enjoyable it was for me to listen to your music. The new CD was more accessible for me though I do appreciate your long history as a working band. The tracks that really stood out for me were “Shuddup and Party” a song that will no doubt become the new crowd pleaser for you all. I also love your take on “House of the Rising Sun.” I loved the feel of this track and the guitar is awesome. Also like “We’re Still Here” and perhaps my favorite on the CD “Your Love is an Oasis” which sounds like a country hit to me. I really like the way the song moves and the changes. Vocs were good all around too. Anyway, just wanted to thank you for making my day a bit brighter. I hope you and yours have a lovely holiday season. Cheers----John
October 31, 2011
"Shuddup & Party!" review from the October issue of Western Mail magazine (Germany):
Riverrock is a very popular band in the Kansas City music scene and are also members of The Kansas Music Hall of Fame.....
Their music is a mix of diverse and country music styles, which covers a classic country sound, with rock, country rock and bluegrass
The new CD has 8 original song's and also includes crowd pleaser's such has Ghostrider's in the Sky and I've Just Seen a Face and also the classic House of the Rising Sun.
Also, the title song, Shuddup and Party, which is a total crowd party pleaser song....and Kind of Heart… a happy, up tempo instrumental track, Celie’s Reel and the very funny lyrics on the
Cholesterol Song, which tells the story of growing up on a farm where bacon and ham would be eaten every day and that results in a very high Cholesterol count....
The CD is absolutely fun to listen to and it comes across that the band plays the music they love which gets across to the listening fan.....
Recorded at Putsch's Strawberry Patch. July 9, 1977
Remote Recording by Central Recording, Engineer; Wally Gasper
Re-mixed at Sound Recorders, Engineer; Ron Roberts
Produced by Riverrock, Inc.
Front Cover Design by Phil Smith
Back Cover Design and Graphics by Cyrilla F. Worley
Back photo by Chris Cannella
Special thanks to all our friends for their support. Thanks to Craig Wolfe at Rockin' W Records.
Personal Management; Jim Halsey Co., Inc.
3225 S. Norwood, Tulsa OK 74135
For Riverrock's Shedule, write Riverrock, Inc.
P.O. Box 4873, O. P. KS 66204
Liner Notes for Riverrock LP
Jubilation (45 RPM/single)
Side A: Jubilation
Side B: I'm Always Leaving Town
From Midwest Man
Art by Ann Willoughby
Riverrock (LP) Review
Song List same as Midwest Man: 30th Anniversary Edition except for:
Ridin' the PSB&T that was recorded in 1982 as a promotional single.
Side A: Songs 1-5 Side B: Songs 6-10
Liner Notes: see Midwest Man: 30th Anniversary Edition
SHUDDUP & PARTY! (CD)
c. 2011 Kaw Point Records
Art by Ann Willoughby
Midwest Man (8-Track version)
Midwest Man Reviews
Photo by Dan Smith
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's string wizzard, John McEuen, at the original Dan Smith Agency recording studio in K.C. MO September 19, 2010 laying down a mandolin track on "North Dakota Waltz". John also played banjo on "Your Love Is An Oasis". Both songs are part of Riverrock's 2011 CD "Shuddup & Party!"
Liner Notes for Shuddup & Party!