Richard & Mary are Keeping The Dream Alive

Richard and Mary, Keeping the Dream Alive

By Lucinda Sue Crosby for Desert Entertainer

Since the earliest days of tribal identification, mankind has made music. The first instruments beside the human voice appeared about 165,000 years go and were probably hand-sized percussion stones, fashioned to either strike one another or the nearest hollow log. Who knows if words were set to the rhythmic beating in those ancient days? Could an average Upper Paleolithic Ager hide discontent with priests or elders in a lyric under the pretense of entertainment?

Of course, throughout recorded history, evidence of so-called “message” songs has been passed down to us. In recent centuries, roving balladeers have chided their kings; slaves have bemoaned their masters; and the families of fallen heroes have cried out against war.

Mary Avery and Richard Byford, known as Richard & Mary, are a long-lived duo with deep roots in this honored tradition. Having traveled the road together since the early 70s (three of those years as a married couple), they have developed an act that showcases her soulful voice, his charismatic presence and their well-matched melodic style and tuneful blending. They are quintuple hyphenates: acoustic- singer-songwriter-folk-pop artists and boast an impressive resume to prove it.

Essex, England-born Richard has been an impresario of sorts, having produced hundreds of events through his company, Byway Entertainment, from here to Inner Mongolia. Literally, Inner Mongolia. “I helped put together a festival in honor of a sports facility opening there last year,” he says like it was just another Chamber of Commerce After-Hours soiree.

Mary was born in Milwaukee and migrated with her family to California in the early 60s. A music major and madrigal singer at UC Riverside, she always knew she would earn her living as an entertainer. Period. Back in the day, when both sported more abundant flowing tresses, she stopped in one night at Riverside’s fabled Mission Inn and enjoyed her first encounter with a guitar player she now characterizes with a grin as “not too bad.”

“What do you mean, not too bad?” Richard interjects right on cue, eyebrows raised. You can tell that decades of performing and travel have honed their bantering skills.

Richard & Mary’s particular brand of cabaret-influenced duets echoes similar acts from the past – Peter, Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan come to mind. Although they used to travel more widely, they still book their shows regularly at retirement communities, RV resorts, golf tournaments and private parties as well as lighting up venues across the state from restaurants in Big Bear to wineries in Temecula to … the Mission Inn! With over 2,000 selections in their revolving repertoire, they feel they can please any audience. Of course, although they carefully construct unique playlists for each engagement, it’s the audience reaction that really steers their choices.

While they offer many great golden oldies and newer ballads, Mary explained their dedication to their continued inclusion of certain “story” songs this way: “Catchy melodies and interesting rhyme schemes are great – they’re fun and entertaining – lighten a mood – get people dancing. But, it’s also important to occasionally evoke emotion and provoke thought.”

They both tell me that LOTR (Life On The Road) has taught more than a few valuable lessons. Richard admits to having become more self-sufficient and patient while Mary marvels at the blessing of being paid to see the world, “a true gift of opportunity.” They’ve relished their brushes with new cultures and traditions, not to mention a constant influx of interesting people and Richard tops this part of our interview by saying, “I adore walking into an empty theater and being given the opportunity to make it come alive.”

Looking for accomplished singer/musicians and a trip down Memory Lane? With the season around the corner … Richard and Mary might just be your ticket back to those times in your life when you knew you could change the world. For more information, performance schedule or to order their brand new and wonderfully reviewed CD, “Keeping the Dream Alive,” please visit www.richardandmaryshow.com or email richard@bywayentertainment.com.

In 2011, Richard Byford was diagnosed with and cured of prostate cancer. He credits the loving care of the dedicated doctors and nurses at City of Hope Hospital for his recovery and wrote a song about them and his experience called, Touched By the Hands of an Angel. This song has garnered international acclaim with fans spread from Iran to Brazil and caused him to be a finalist in the Smokey Mountain Songwriter Festival Contest, to be held August 21-24 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

 

 

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I invite your input, ideas, comments and questions on producing and designing eco-friendly green events. I am hoping to include some of your comments or share your ideas in my presentations around the country not just on greening events but ALL the challenges we face in the special events industry and America as a whole. I will try to answer all your questions or at least point you to someone who is an expert in their field for their opinion.

To start a new subject please email me and I will post it so everyone can comment on it richard@bywayentertainment.com

www.BywayEntertainment.com
www.RichardByford.com