In order to succeed at anything in life it takes dedication and sacrifice—singer/songwriter Chad Kichula knows this first hand. He works full-time cutting and pruning trees by day as the owner of a forestry company and spends nights cutting soul stirring tracks.
It took awhile for Chad to learn to balance his passion with what pays the bills. Having written and recorded music since 1999, it was not until Chad sold his truck in 2005 to pay for his debut album, that he was able to get his music out to the masses. Chad’s self titled debut was an Americana/Roots-Rock album that showcased his development as a songwriter. Songs like "Sierra Leone” showed he could craft lyrics and tell a story—just as his inspirations Springsteen and Earle had.
In 2007, Chad went back into the studio to record a three song EP entitled Better in the Morning. Released later that same year, it featured acoustic compositions which Chad had honed by playing on the road. The debut single off of the EP, “Never Seen the Ocean” made some noise on West Coast radio but not nearly as much as Chad had hoped.
Chad used that minor success as inspiration for his follow up three-song EP titled World Shaker. The title track from the EP was written while Chad watched one of his favorite films, Cool Hand Luke.”I really wrote the whole song as I watched the movie. It might be still my strongest song. The lyrics fit the storyline nicely I think. It's a little of myself in there too,” he says. “I'm an aging free spirit too I guess.” World Shaker had a perfect mix of Folk, Blues and Country and exemplified Chad's influence from albums like Bruce Springsteen’s 1982 album, Nebraska. “The characters and stories in Nebraska go right to the heart and soul of who we all are. People doing the best they can with what they have. Some just have a tougher time than others and some aren't meant to succeed at all.” The two other tracks on World Shaker, "Another Love" and "Gotta' Hold on Me" displayed Chad's variety in style and lyrical craft all within their catchy acoustic rifts.
2007 was a great year for Chad because that was also the time that he hooked up with his band, Douglas Avenue Garage Band. Chad had been playing with bassist Phil Legrand since 2004 and drummer Nat Bowen since 2006 but the band solidified in 2007 when guitarist Matt Kaip and Suzanne Parovsky (violin/viola) came on board.
By early 2008 Chad's head was flooded with fresh material. It had been three years since his last full-length album release and time had come to set down the chainsaw and head back into the studio. The result would be Runners in the Night. Released in early 2009, it contained a mix of new material and cuts off the EP World Shaker. Runners in the Night was a collision of emotion and energy molded perfectly together in a tapestry of tales about the working class. In songs such as “Restless Man” and “Crying in the Rain”, Springsteen's influence on Kichula shines through yet again. The title song shows just how refined Chad's storytelling had become. “I guess it is people trying to do their best against the odds that inspires me,” says Chad. “The human spirit that seems to rise above the darkness that tries to envelop them.”
After another lengthy break Chad came back with “Killer” in early January. Ironically the recording of the song began within weeks of the release of Runners, but it would take almost two years to complete. Choosing not to record in a studio, Chad and his co-producer Matt Kaip (Chad Kichula, and Better in the Morning) removed restrictions allowing them to experiment a lot. The result of which, captures raw performances and their most creative productions
Chad’s latest album, A Fire also finds him tackling unfamiliar territory lyrically. “I’ve written about almost everything and everyone except myself and my blue-collar life,” he says. “This next record is about just that.”
Although Chad is still working a very physical and demanding job to support his music he is not complaining. It seems like a way of life after all these years—the working side and the creative side combining to make the best artist possible.