Gary Richrath’s guitar work was a signature element of REO Speedwagon's sound throughout the Illinois band’s glory years, and he remained a favorite even after his departure in 1989. Now fans will get to hear some new music, more than five years after Richrath’s death.

You can hear "Help Me Save Me From Myself" from the Richrath Project 3:13 below.

Michael Jahnz is at the helm of the group, which pays tribute to the guitarist’s legacy of work both with REO Speedwagon and in other projects. Jahnz was tapped by Richrath himself to be singer in an earlier eponymously named post-REO band.

The pair wrote a stack of songs together for 1992's Only the Strong Survive, the only non-REO album released by Richrath. After touring in support of the GNP Crescendo release, they returned to the studio and began working a follow-up. The band was reportedly flush with material, but their next album never materialized.

Jahnz was contacted recently by GNP Crescendo, which wanted to rerelease Only the Strong Survive. Label reps also inquired about the possibility of putting out the long-lost second album. Jahnz began to review songs he and Richrath were working on, and Project Richrath 3:13 took shape.

“I had a very talented group of musicians with me, so I dusted off a few of those never-before-heard tracks that Gary and I recorded in my studio, and we started working on them,” Jahnz tells UCR. “I had the idea, with today’s technology, to try to somehow include Gary’s actual guitar on this album. I went to my sound engineer with the idea, and sure enough, he was able to isolate and pull off Gary’s guitar.”

“Help Me Save Me From Myself” is the first offering, featuring Richrath's rescued guitar work and backing vocals from the original sessions. The resulting album, titled L.A. Is Mine, “turned out better than I could’ve possibly imagined. It literally sounds like Gary is sitting in the studio with us,” Jahnz says. “We always have his guitar strap, coily cord and slide placed on a Marshall amp whenever we play – and we feel his spirit is with us.”

Time has helped Jahnz put his collaboration with the former REO Speedwagon guitarist in perspective. “He truly moved people with his guitar playing,” Jahnz says. “His style was so simple, just playing through his cord into a Marshall amp, but yet [it was] just phenomenal. He explained to me that I needed to sing with my heart and soul, with true feeling like he did with his guitar. His songwriting was one of a kind.”

Richrath Project 3:13's 10-track L.A. Is Mine includes three previously unreleased songs with Richrath on guitar and five other original songs; covers of the REO Speedwagon songs "Ridin' the Storm Out" and "Son of a Poor Man" are included as bonus tracks. The new album will be available from Dark Star Records on Aug. 6.


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