Her perfectly curated covers may draw you in, but her award-winning originals will cement your faith in the real artistry coming out of the Central CA Coast. Never hiding behind over-synthesized production or trendy vocal styles, Susan Ritchie’s soulful and pure voice will feel like a good whiskey on a foggy day - comfortable, uplifting and just the answer the day needed.
Performing blues, Americana, soul and rock, ringing with tones of Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi, Susan Ritchie consistently grows her audience with both her intimate solo acoustic performances, and the uptempo sets backed by her full band of seasoned musicians. An accomplished guitarist, Ritchie’s rhythm and finger-picking styles are at the center of her songwriting and performances. Ritchie connects with her listeners through heartfelt songwriting and lyrics that wink to the experiences we all share.
Susan credits the finger-picking style of James Taylor as her first inspiration. Among her other early influences are Carole King, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Simon & Garfunkel, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and virtually all of Motown.
"Susan Ritchie, whose name has become synonymous with authentic artistry on the Central CA Coast, lit a beacon of tranquility and wisdom in the standout single, "It’s High Time", taken from her debut album, Life is for the Living. So much more than solely a musical score, it’s a journey into the heart of what it means to find peace and meaning amidst the chaos of modernity." - A&R Factory
LIfe is for the living
Life Is For The Living, Susan's new album almost a year in the making, released on November 1, 2023. Her 10-song collection is full of fun, up-tempo blues songs, with big, bold productions and horns, and soulful Americana songs with beautiful stories. Life Is For The Living is on the heels of her 6-song EP How Many Miles in 2022 which included “Cloudy Day,” winner for Best R&B/Blues song New Times Music Awards. This year, Susan was a finalist in the same category with “The Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” from her new release.
Life is For the Living is exactly the progression an artist wants to see when applying their passion to the recording process. Working with producer and musician Rob Vermeulen of Robbo Music, production began after Susan’s organic process of writing her songs on acoustic guitar. The quality of the final record was achieved by bringing in some of the central coast’s finest players for both solo studio sessions and live recording sessions with all of the instruments.
Susan comments, “The album is full of themes I like to write about, delivered with the wide musical palette that inspires me: some big, bold horn-filled productions, funky and fun grooves, beautiful acoustic guitar, funny social satire, storytelling, quirky love songs, and some old-school blues. The album is a combination of light-hearted fun and substance.”
Collaborators include Daryl VanDruff on drums, Jacob Odell on electric guitar, Wayne Walcoff on keys, Rob Vermeulen on bass and additional guitars, Sadie Jasper and Josh Rosenblum on backing vocals, and Scott Martin (of the band War) and Martin Brother horns.
“The collaboration in making production choices is my favorite part of the journey – the layering of chill-worthy backing vocals, the power of a horn section, beautiful acoustic and electric guitar parts, perfectly-placed keyboards, Hammond, and piano, with the best drum and bass grooves supporting it all,” Susan comments.
"The standout track on Susan Ritchie's Life Is For The Living undoubtedly is "The Power of Love". Susan's superb songcraft, tight, dynamic arrangement, buoyant production, engaging horns and striking vocal come together as essential elements for a hit song."
Abe Perlstein, Producer & Host, The Rock Community Radio
"Susan Ritchie's new album, Life is for the Living, is superb."
Janelle Younger, KCBX, Host of The Broken Spoke Folk Show/Sub Host of Morning Cup
"R&B/Blues genre winner Susan Ritchie delivered a blistering set off her terrific new album. She was clearly a crowd favorite and had them eating out of her hand with her sassy lyrics, bluesy tunes, and rich voice." - Glen Starkey, Music Editor, SLO New Times
Work With Susan
Susan Ritchie is a beloved performer in premiere venues all along the Central California Coast. Wineries, music clubs, the summer park series – she brings her energy and funk to every gig!
"Susan Ritchie has been performing at my club for several years. She started out doing open mic, and now she is a highly requested and revered performer, packing the house in the prime-time weekend music slots. She is an adept guitarist, and her continually expanding vocal range- playing originals and soulful, long-loved covers- creates a groove that moves her audience. Collaborating with other local fine musicians, she attracts an enthusiastic crowd wherever and whenever she plays." Charlie Puffer, Puffer's of Pismo music club
Susan Ritchie can perform as a solo, duo, trio or full band ensemble.
Susan Ritchie is a gifted, award-winning songwriter.
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World class band
Susan Ritchie's live shows, with her full ensemble in play, is the best musician collection in all of the Central California Coast! Her band includes a hand-picked team of exceptional players, and they are:
Rob Espinosa (electric guitar and backing vocals) has an impressive musical resume, including being musical director, guitarist and vocalist for one of San Francisco’s seminal classic rock bands, It’s a Beautiful Day. Rob has played with Vince Gill, Glen Campbell, Tommy Smothers, Huey Lewis, Kenny G, the Gatlin Brothers and the late John Denver, among many others.
Rob Vermeulen (bass and backing vocals) grew up in the rockin’ 60’s in the Netherlands. He picked up the ukulele when he was 11 years old and laid up with a broken leg. Ten years later he was leading several bands and touring Europe. Now he is a multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer and audio engineer. He is the owner of Robbo Music Recording Studio in Morro Bay, CA. Collaborating with top talent, Rob has recorded hundreds of songs, resulting in over 100K CD sales and 1M+ YouTube hits.
Daryl VanDruff (drums) was born and raised in Los Angeles. He started the drums at age 10 and was part of the LA music scene for many years. An adventurous spirit led him to a job change, when he began a 25-year career as a firefighter/paramedic. Now retired from firefighting, Daryl plays drums with a variety of bands, including Tipsy Gypsies, and is one of the busiest and most sought after drummers on the central coast.