Loving an avatar girl from Nowhereville

by Stone Semyorka

Dayton, Ohio, sometimes called the Gem City after a well-known racehorse, is itself famous for its Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, largest in the world. And the LexisNexis online archive of print media and legal documents used by lawyers, journalists, and academics, also largest in the world. And the annual Dayton Hamvention, also largest in the world.

Not so famous is the tiny western Ohio community of Centerville, near the big city of Dayton. It’s home to just 23,024 souls in some 10,000 households.

Rich Desoto concert series

Poster for Rich Desoto’s Nowhereville concert series. I wonder if the title should be pronounced as “now here ville” or “nowhere ville?” Those are two quite different statements.

To be fair, I should point out that Centerville is sort of famous for one thing: the largest collection of early stone houses in the state of Ohio. Many are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The biggest thing that happens in Centerville is the Fourth of July parade — the Americana Festival — which draws thousands of people each year.

There are some relatively famous people from there: actor Gordon Jump, comic actor Pat Kilbane, Green Bay Packers linebacker A. J. Hawk, New York Jets place-kicker Mike Nugent, ESPN College Gameday analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who was the 1988 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year, and Philadelphia Eagles star and All-Madden Team Member Andy Harmon.

Centerville Ohio

The Centerville town seal and the Ohio state flag.

You get the idea. Football is big in the Buckeye State.

Music is big, too, and therein lies my tale

Like an Easter egg hidden in the rough, singer-songwriter Rich Palmer is tucked away comfortably in little old Centerville.

Most importantly, Palmer is best known to us as Rich Desoto with a home in our Los Arboles region of SL (198, 88, 25).

In RL, Rich Palmer performs with the bands The Fries and Knight Blaze. He’s finishing an important new CD with new acoustic driven pop and folk/rock sounds.

In SL, Rich is singer-songwriter Rich Desoto performing for in-world audiences at Crazy Sharks, Rocky Shores, The Hummingbird Cafe, Los Arboles, Blarney Stone Pub, SoHo and Wheelies.

Wheelies nightclub

Aerial view of the Wheelies nightclub.

I was intrigued by Rich while writing my blog entry Empowering the physically challenged.

You may recall he was seen in the Newsweek video doing his songs Avatar Girl and I Used To Sleep.

Palmer also is a creator of children’s music. His rock-for-kids CD Sing a Song for Safety is online at iTunes, CDBaby.com, and richpalmer.com.

“I have been a musician since childhood,” Rich explains on his website. “I have found that music can be used to not only entertain, but to educate.”

Rich Palmer & Rich Desoto

The two Rich men together — Rich Palmer, left, and Rich Desoto, right — in a promotional poster displayed on his websites.

In college, Palmer studied music theory and related subjects. He was trained in orchestra, choir and jazz ensemble.

“I write for both kids and adults,” he notes. “My children’s CD uses my professional safety education training to help kids be more safe.”

Through music, Palmer delivers messages that can be learned and sung by his students.

“You can use these same songs and messages to reach the children in your life,” he says.

In his musical works, Palmer plays guitar, bass, keyboard and synthesizer, and does the vocals.

“My pop-oriented music helps people of all ages feel good,” he says.

At Wheelies nightclub

Palmer performed a Second Life show at the Wheelies nightclub owned by Simon Walsh.

“This was a grand re-opening event,” he recalls. “Simon and his crew had recently rebuilt and re-opened the sim to the public.”

“I had a great time at this performance and was pleased to provide the service for their event,” he says.

As luck would have it, the Newsweek reporter Jessica Bennett was at the event as her SL character JB Vella. Her video later featured Rich doing two of his songs Avatar Girl and I Used to Sleep.

Check it out

The Newsweek video can be found on Rich’s blog and linked from Web pages here, here, here, and here, as well as the Newsweek page.

You can hear and learn more about Palmer/Desoto’s music here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Avatar Girl

I was moved by his Avatar Girl.

“This song was written after I began to observe the many relationships that easily form in Second Life,” Palmer says. “People have grown to love this song in SL and it has become my trademark tune.”

“Come to a Second Life show and I’ll sing it for you,” he offers. “Don’t forget to sing along, Do n do do n do do do do,” he reminds.

The message really hit home for me, reminding me of times well spent in SL.

My SL friend Sable Sands says she is nuts over it as well as I Used To Sleep. The latter is an acoustic performance of another song inspired by Second Life.

“Relationships continue and this song could be talking about how people stay up to talk, socialize, or become intimate with others,” Rich explains. “It can also mean that people are stimulated enough by the social networking of SL that they don’t go to bed when they should!”

What inspired him?

Rich says he was influenced earlier by The Beatles especially George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Crosby Stills and Nash, Jeff Lynne, America, Widespread Panic, Phish, Electric Light Orchestra, The Eagles, Gin Blossoms, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and Steely Dan.

The cruxy.com website describes Rich’s sound as like John Lennon, George Harrison, James Taylor, Warren Zevon and Jimmy Buffet.

I wonder what you think?

8 Responses to Loving an avatar girl from Nowhereville

  1. David Herdman says:

    Of course A.J. Hawk’s daddy works for LexisNexis, so that brings it full circle!

  2. Thanks for that, David. It really does tie the ribbons on the package.

    Now I wish a record label would pick up Rich’s “Avatar Girl” and “I Used To Sleep.” It seems to me Newsweek’s reporting and Web video ought to launch him into some orbit. Then Apple’s iTunes store could pick up the songs and I could get them on my iPod.

  3. Rich says:

    Thanks for the very kind write-up Stone. I appreciate your journalistic approach and your interest in the music that I write. I will have several new songs on my release in the fall. Those will fall into iTunes shortly thereafter.

    As far as labels go… I wouldn’t, at this point, look for a major label signing. However, some of the smaller labels are great at helping with distribution. It’s a great thing to be an independent singer/songwriter these days!

    Great research on Centerville. The town itself is the incorporated portion of Washington Township. Washington Township and Centerville have a combined population of approximately 52,000 persons. It’s a comfy suburb of Dayton. I enjoy living here, though I consider Indianapolis my true home. I would gladly return to Indy if the opportunity presented itself.

    I learned a few things about my town by reading your article. I was somewhat aware of the sports names that you mentioned, but truly have no interest in football these days. So I was only vaguely aware of the names that have come through the Centerville system. I guess there are more of them from here than I realized. Of course, many of the people in this area CRAM Ohio State University down our throats, too. So anytime that topic comes up, I tend to shut it out. LOL

    Centerville is also the former home of Phil Donahue, the Sheen (or is it really Estevez?) clan — Martin and sons Charlie and Emilio, and novelist/humorist Erma Bombeck. Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson) is from just up the road in Kettering, Ohio.

    And, by the way… “you know you’ve made it when you play… at Nowhereville.”

  4. […] was impressed to read a very lengthy, well-articulated, and well-researched post by Stone Semyorka of Second Edition. He wrote extensively about my music (including the tune […]

  5. […] was impressed to read a very lengthy, well-articulated, and well-researched post by Stone Semyorka of Second Edition. He wrote extensively about my music (including the tune […]

  6. “I used to sleep” has been my personal favorite and it has been my theme song from the first time that I heard it.

    Alas! I am not in love with an avatar girl — great song, but I definitely prefer the guys

    disclosure: I am one of the original “cha-cha-cah girls”

  7. Wow! Phil Donahue, Martin Sheen and sons Charlie and Emilio, Erma Bombeck, Nancy Cartwright. I don’t know how I missed those, Rich. 🙂

    Thanks for the kind words and interesting new details. No need to thank me, though, for writing about you. I really like those two songs. You deserve the kind words.

    Since working as a radio DJ back near the dawn of time, I have heard a lot of music. Yours is very fine. Timely, apropos, emotionally stimulating for the SL audience. Good stuff. I’m looking forward to the upcoming new works this fall.

    And about Nowhereville. As the world turns, you aren’t that far from Coolville, another small place in Ohio. I was raised in the Buckeye State, although not at Coolville. However, back in the day, I used to get a chuckle telling the hip people that I was from Coolville.

    Beladona: which original cha-cha-cha girls? The ones at West Hollywood and Silver Lake? Or the movie Hairspray? Or with the Martini Kings and the Thurston Howlies? Or the Ronettes? Just curious.

  8. Balancia9980 says:

    I’m new to blogging and locate this article incredibly valuable. numerous for your photos.I by no means thought things like that.Many for the facts and inspiration!

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