September 1st, 1969 a then sixteen- year- old Stephen Lee Rich entered a talent contest at the County Fair in Mariposa County, California. He won five dollars and a career was born. Most teenage boys would have hung up the guitar after securing their first full time job, but Stephen Lee kept the music coming. Now, over forty years later, he still commands the stage with his combination of folk, 30’s and 40’s pop tunes, and original songs mixed with a healthy dose of comedy and cowboy-style yodeling.
In the early 1970’s the Chicago native returned home and started haunting every open mic he could find or legally get into. By mid-decade he was working regularly at places like the legendary Barbarossa, His N’ Hers, The Spot, and No Exit Café and Gallery.
During the 1980’s, when the folk venues started to disappear, he made the move to comedy clubs such as the Comedy Cottage, Zanies, and became the regular host of the twice weekly showcase night at Kobart’s Komedy Kove. Around that he kept busy as the singer for an outlaws-style Country band called Greenwood Creek. He worked for a year as the opening act and rhythm guitarist for an Elvis impersonator named Tom Roan. He also linked up with a number of variety acts gathered from the His N’ Hers club to inaugurate the Revolving Door Revue, a touring troupe whose peripatetic engagements first brought him to Wisconsin – specifically to Fort Atkinson’s Café Carpe and later to Madison’s Wild Hog In The Woods Coffeehouse.
Relocating to Madison in 1994 to front an Outlaw Country cover band called The Road Band, Stephen Lee soon found solo work as one of the rotating hosts of both the weekly acoustic jam night at the Anchor Inn and the monthly open mic at Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse. He also reconnected with Café Carpe and Wild Hog in the Woods as a solo act.
The 21st century has, so far, been good for him. I 2002 he recorded a new solo CD, “Free Range Sofas”, and further expanded his territory south to downstate Illinois, to places like Naperville’s Fat Bean Coffeehouse and Lansing’s Muse Café, into Michigan, to, amongst others, Escanaba’s 8th Street Coffeehouse and the Grand Marais Songwriter’s Festival, and all around Wisconsin, to Acoustic Fest and Premier Café’ in Manitowoc, the Log Cabin Days Bluegrass and Folk Festival in Edgerton (as an act and host two tears running), the Elroy Fair in Elroy, Firefly Coffeehouse in Oregon, and many other places. He has also expanded into the Mid-Atlantic states, New England, and in the Southern states with shows at festivals such as the Heart of the Arts Festival in Titusville, PA, and Music on Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA , the Nashville Songwriters Festival in Nashville, TN, and the live radio show “Blue Plate Special” on WDVX in Knoxville, TN.
With all that he’s done and all that he’s working on it’s no wonder that the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter said,”Stephen Lee Rich is a one-man variety show.”
For booking information e-mail: email@example.com
Visit the website at www.stephenleerich.com
Stephen Lee's comedic take on performance poets.
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From a house concert at the home of Jodi Lamhut and Bob Yahn.
Taken at the Barking Spider in Cleveland, OH
1: What artist would you most love to work with?
2: What instrument brings you the most joy?
3: What was the worst advice?
Don't ever let your guard down in front of an audience.
4: What was your first concert?
The Mariposa County Fair in Mariposa, CA
5: What/where is the best road food?
6: What’s the best music advice you ever got?
Relax and let it happen.
7: Who is your most surprising inspiration?