Rick Stanley is an award-winning singer/songwriter/guitarist/folk harpist and harpmaker. These days he designs and builds custom folk harps and performs the music of his celtic roots. Rick started singing in the coffee houses of Boston, New York and the West Coast where he was signed by Columbia Records. Producer Terry Melcher, who made the magic of the "Byrds" hit albums, took on the role of manager and producer to Rick and Pam Polland, "The Gentle Soul."
"The Gentle Soul" made the charts with two singles, "Tell Me Love," written by Rick and "She's a Flying Thing that Sings" by one-time member of "The Gentle Soul," Jackson Browne. The album, on the Epic label, was called "Most beautiful…album of the year" by Billboard, the top trade magazine for the music industry. Rick has worked or recorded with some of the most talented musicians in the business: Linda Ronstadt & Kenny Edwards, Ry Cooder, the Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, Al Kooper, Jackson Browne, Steven Stills and many others. The next decade found Rick living in Europe and touring the world, performing in venues from pubs to the palaces of Emperor Haille Selassie and the King of Nepal. All the while, Rick was writing the songs for two more highly acclaimed albums recorded at A&M Studios in L.A. with Joni Mitchell's talented producer, Henry Lewy.
Years before the recent Celtic renaissance, Rick recorded a powerful album of some of his favorite Scots, Irish and English ballads and a few of his originals called On English Hills. Rick is a world-class guitarist, he's worked with some of the best, like Ry Cooder and Glenn Campbell, but once he started singing with a Celtic harp Rick found the perfect accompaniment for his rich vocals.
In his consistently creative lifestyle he became fascinated, No! Obsessed with the Irish/Scottish harp and not only studied with some of the best harpers (the Ratigan sisters, Máire Ní Chathasaigh, William Jackson and others) but in consummate Stanley style he studied how to design and build his newfound objects of love. Rick's formative years were not only filled with music, he was also apprentice to a master cabinetmaker who was one of the last hand tool builders. The last decade has been dedicated to creating masterpieces out of wood, glue and consciousness and, of course, an equal amount of his time has been given to mastering the accompaniment of his ballads and original songs with his hand built harps.
Of course he still loves to play the guitar but it's amazing how quiet a noisy Renaissance Faire or Celtic Festival becomes when Rick and his harp start to sing. In 2002 he finished recording The Ballad of Bothwell and Marie, a CD filled with what he considers some of the most beautiful Scottish & Irish songs in the Celtic tradition, accompanying his heart piercing voice with his beautiful Celtic harps and guitar. This CD also features some of Rick's best original songs, written in Celtic traditional style. His Masters in English Literature and creative writing have made it easier for him to create songs that are historically accurate as well as beautiful. The CD also features Master Cellist Daniel Sperry.
In the wooded hills of Van Buren county Rick lives with his wife Claudine, working in his studio making beautiful harps and composing new music.