Tyler Richton and the High Bank Boys, along with band crew members and the bus driver, pose for a photo in front of Graceland during their stop in Memphis, Tenn. on Saturday, Jan. 6. The Deep River-based country band, which was founded in 2015, was in Memphis to play at the wedding rehearsal dinner for Chicago Cubs pitcher Justin Steele and his bride to be, Libby, at Hernando’s Hide-A-Way, a popular eatery and music venue there. The band has played at county fairs, venues, music halls and honky-tonks all across Iowa and in many surrounding states. The band has released two albums and is currently releasing five songs on iTunes, Spotify and other music platforms. Submitted photo.
By J.O. Parker
Deep River’s own Tyler Richton and the High Bank Boys are enjoying a heck of start to the new year.
The band recently traveled to Memphis, Tenn. where they had the huge honor of playing the wedding rehearsal dinner for Chicago Cubs pitcher Justin Steele and his bride to be, Libby, at Hernando’s Hide-A-Way, a popular eatery and music venue there.
“They were so incredibly nice to us and very down to earth,” said Richton of the hosts. “Their family treated us like family, and that sure meant a lot to me and the band.”
The Memphis trip came about a couple years ago when Tyler and the High Bank Boys were playing a gig in Des Moines. At the time, Steele was pitching for the Iowa Cubs and he and Libby had just started dating and were at the show while out and about in Des Moines.
“They hung around for the entire night and in Libby’s own words, “they fell in love dancing to our music.”
Now for the wedding, Libby totally surprised Justin by hiring the band to play at their rehearsal dinner on Saturday, Jan. 6.
“He (Steele) couldn’t believe it,” said Richton. “You just never know what you’re going to get yourself into when you’re playing in a country band.”
The band arrived in Memphis early and visited Graceland, home of Elvis. Richton said the experience was a 10 out of 10.
“It was so hard to wrap my mind around the complexity of it all, but also really helped me to understand the times back then,” he said. “It was truly like a time capsule.”
After Graceland, Richton and the band rolled into Hernando’s Hide-A-Way where they unloaded their gear and did a soundcheck. They also meet Mark Muleman Massey, a popular Memphis musician and the opening act of the evening.
“Talk about a phenomenal human being,” said Richton of Massey. “We (the band) have a mutual friend in Billy Lawson, a record producer and owner of Wishbone Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Ala., who helped us on our Country Standard LP and worked with us on our recent iTunes and Spotify project.”
Richton said he called Lawson and asked for help on the Memphis show and he was glad give the band some direction.
"We were so thankful that Mark was able to be on the bill with us,” said Richton. “He really helped draw some people out from the Memphis area.”
Richton said some Iowa friends made the trip to Memphis to see the show, and that he couldn’t believe his eyes when they walked in.
Richton said he and the band found out after the show that Elvis’ personal pilot, Ron Struass, who flew Elvis around in the Lisa Marie for several years, was also in the crowd.
“We were even more shocked to find out that he was also from Iowa,” said Richton of Struass, who hails from Fonda. “Like I said, you just never know what you might get yourself into while playing in a traveling country band.”
Richton said he wants to thank the guys for making trips like Memphis enjoyable and also for safe travels.
“We made it back in one piece,” he said.
After returning to Iowa, the band braved wintery weather and less than steller roads to play to a sold out crowd at the Racoon Motel in Davenport on Saturday, Jan. 13. Logan Stringer was the opening act at the Racoon.
“It was a great show and a great time,” said Richton.
Tyler Richton and the High Bank Boys was founded in 2015. The band features Richton, who plays rhythm and lead guitar and provides vocals; Edmond Henning, a fiddler, mandolinist, keyboardist and songwriter; Kale Latcham, bass guitar; and Cole Neese on drums.
Kaya Latcham, the younger brother of Kale, a senior at Montezuma and quite a guitarist in his own right, joined the band in November 2022 and plays with the band on the weekends.
The band released its first single, “God Bless the Working Man” in June 2018. The song won the Iowa Country Song of the Year for KBOE 104.5 in Oskaloosa.
The band currently has two albums. “He Taught Me To Sing,” was released in May 2019 and features two songs recorded with the Montezuma United Methodist Choir.
The album includes songs like “Psalm 23,” “Old Rugged Cross,” “In the Garden,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”
In December 2022, the band released “Country Standard,” an album that features 10 songs, eight of which are original recordings, and two cover songs of other artist’s material.
The lead single from the album is titled “Only Thing Smooth” and it was written by band member Henning from Hartwick.
“It’s a song that tugs on the heartstrings and reminds the listener of a lonely time when love was lost and trying to drown out the pain by drinking whiskey,” said Richton.
Richton said the song features beautiful fiddle leads, haunting steel guitar licks and backup vocals with a steady backbeat.
Henning penned seven of the 10 songs on the album. One song was co-written by Richton, Kale Latcham and Henning. And the last two are cover songs. One being a George Strait cover and the other a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover.
The band’s latest project is a five-song set that was recorded in the Spring of 2023 at Wishbone Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Ala. and is being released on iTunes, Spotify and other music platforms. So far, the band has released three of the five songs. They include “Glacier Days,” written by Henning,” “If You Don’t Bring the Whisky,” also penned by Henning and “Feed Another Fool,” written and performed by Kale Latcham.
“We have two more songs to release and that project will end,” said Richton.
At this time, Richton said there are no plans to release an album of the songs.
Richton said the band draws its inspiration from artists like Merle Haggard, Charlie Daniels and Hank Williams, Jr. Plans are for the band to return to the recording studio later this year for another project.
Tyler Richton and the High Bank Boys are regulars at the Iowa State Fair and have played bars, county fairs, honky-tonks, various venues and stages all across the state of Iowa and several surrounding states.
Some of the bigger shows included performing at the US Bank Stadium for a Vikings pre-game show on Nov. 27, 2023. The stage was next to the main entrance of the stadium and Richton said, “It was cold.”
In March 2021, the band opened for the Eli Young Band at Alliant Energy Powerhouse in Cedar Rapids. The band has also has performed with or opened shows for Tracy Byrd, John Michael Montgomery, Joe Nichols, Craig Morgan, Locash, Confederate Railroad, Maddie Poppe, Steve Wariner, Uncle Kracker and others.
On Friday, Feb. 2, the band will play at The Blawkhawk in Prairie Du Chien, Wis., and on Saturday, Feb. 3, the band will play at the historic stage at the Bend Theater in West Bend, Wis.
On Friday, March 1, the band will perform at XBK in Des Moines with Cory Waller and Luke Fox. And on Saturday, March 2, the band will be at home where they will join Jake Simon on the stage at the Brooklyn Opera House.
The band performs from 60-70 full shows a year.
When asked what he and band enjoy the most about performing live shows, Richton said, “The crowd and seeing their reaction to our music and an occasional dance.”
For more information on the band or to book a show, visit http://tylerrichtonhbb.com.