Rick Dougherty - Biography

Rick Dougherty
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Rick Dougherty Biography

Rick Dougherty doesn't remember a time when he didn't sing and his beautiful tenor voice has garnered him compliments from Judy Collins, Chet Atkins and Tom Paxton, to name just a few. Rick played piano at home, but in high school he began playing guitar with a particular interest in finger-styles and within a year he was appearing in local coffee-houses in Pasadena. By the time he left the City College he was playing ragtime guitar and had been given a citation by the music department as one of its most promising students.

In 1973 his family moved to San Francisco, and Rick went on the road playing concerts, lounges and coffee-houses across the western states. He picked up bass along the way and studied orchestration and arranging with Dave Wheeler in Columbus, Ohio, while teaching guitar and theory to private students.

But Rick missed the West Coast, so in 1983 he returned to the Bay Area and won a vocal scholarship to Sonoma State University where he became an assistant to the director in the Opera department. He also continued to write arrangements and perform with the jazz ensembles. In 1986 he received the Award for Outstanding Solo Performance from the National Association of Jazz Educators (NAJE) at the Berkeley Collegiate Jazz Festival.

He graduated with honors in 1987 and began working with several of the opera companies in the Bay Area as a technical and stage director. In 1991 he was invited to be the stage director for the Bear Valley Music Festival where he worked with Gwendolyn Jones, John Garrison and Evelyn de la Rosa in productions of "Carmen," "La Traviata," and "The Abduction from the Seraglio" among others. By 1999 he had directed 36 operas in the Bay area.

Even with his success as an opera director, Rick never lost his love of harmony singing and in 1986 he helped form "Cafe Society," a vocal trio that performed swing music from the 30's and 40's using many of Rick's arrangements. In 1993 he joined the a cappella jazz quintet Syncopation. He also performed in opera, including "Die Fledermaus", "Madama Butterfly" and "Candide." Rick gave workshops on singing at Camp Harmony (San Francisco Folk Music Club), the Sonoma County Folk Festival and was a staff artist and workshop leader at the California Traditional Music Society New Year's Camp in 1991.

In 1990, just as he was beginning to direct more operas, Rick was invited to join the "The Limeliters" and performed with the group for audiences across the United States until 2004. He appeared with them on the "This Land Is Your Land" PBS Special hosted by Judy Collins and The Smothers Brothers. His vocals can also be heard on the Limeliters recording Until We Get it Right.

In early 2003 Rick left The Limeliters and joined Glenn Yarbrough and Dick Foley in "The Folk Reunion" which toured with The Brothers Four and The Kingston Trio for two years as a followup to the PBS Special. At the end of the tour in 2005, Rick was invited to join the Kingston Trio, reuniting with his former partner in "The Limeliters," Bill Zorn, and longtime trio member and superb instrumentalist George Grove. Together they brought the Kingston Trio to a level of musicianship and vocal power that gained the reputation as the best lineup the group ever had. They recorded two CDs, "Born at the Right Time" and "Bloodlines," and appeared on two PBS Specials; one a tribute to the group with special guests, and the "Holiday Special" with performances of both classic and traditional Christmas folk songs.

For twelve years the group toured the country receiving rave reviews and drawing ever larger audiences. But all things come to an end, and in 2017 the group name was licensed to Josh Reynolds (the son of original member, Nick Reynolds), his cousin Mike Marvin and Tim Gorelangton.

Returning to his roots as a soloist, Rick continues to perform concerts across the country as well as giving workshops on voice and guitar. He recently published "Sounding Good on One Guitar," a manual for beginning to intermediate players. His forthcoming double CD will contain many of his own songs.