Local artist spotlight: Rick SaylorThink back a couple decades, and fans of the local music scene may recognize Rick Saylor as the lead singer of the ‘80s rock band “Looker.”
By: Dana Kazel, Living North
Think back a couple decades, and fans of the local music scene may recognize Rick Saylor as the lead singer of the ‘80s rock band “Looker.” Now when Saylor takes the stage, it’s in a different sort of venue and singing a different style of music.
“I wanted to do something with a real wide range, covering a lot of different genres,” said Saylor, who now performs regularly at Valentini’s Vicino Lago restaurant.
Using a hard-drive based system with an 18,000 song library as his back-up, Saylor sings favorites covering a 50-year time span including Sinatra, Elvis, older rock groups like Chicago, as well as more current artists. His personal favorites are arrangements by current pop crooner Michael Bublé.
“I try to do things that people are going to say ‘Hey, I haven’t heard that song for a long, long time, I really like that’,” said Saylor, “music that people aren’t going to hear all the time, that maybe were very popular songs but not a lot of groups are doing them. I do a lot of the standards, but I also try to mix in faster – paced older rock as well as current rock favorites.”
Saylor, who also performs for corporate parties, weddings and other special events, likes the environment at Valentini’s. He says range in ages and musical tastes of the guests means every night is unique.
“The atmosphere is wonderful. I have a hand-held wireless system which enables me to be up close and personal with the audience. I watch how the staff interacts with the customers and they’re absolutely fantastic,” said Saylor. “What I’ve been hearing from the customers is that they really enjoy the different types of music and also the arrangements I use to perform the songs. I hear that over and over again.”
“His type of music is really unique in this town,” said Carol Valentini, owner of Valentini’s. “It’s lively, but kind of brings you back a few years to something simpler. He can engage people and his music just fills this room. It’s really good.”
Saylor and Valentini have known each other for years. “I had no idea how talented he was,” she laughed. “He is the best kept secret in this town.”
His ability to connect with audiences likely has something to do with his flexibility on stage. For each show, Saylor has a list of favorites ready, but he expects that to vary each time. He also enjoys performing special requests.
“The set list doesn’t always work,” said Saylor, “because then you’re not doing justice to the audience. You really have to read the crowd. There are some nights when I’ve got to play a little bit quieter music, a little more of the ballads. Other nights it’s a more lively crowd.”
To hear samples of Saylor’s musical style or see his schedule of live performances at Valentini’s visit www.ricksaylorlive.com