Ambient Highways: Volume 3 – Issue 2

The Ambient Highways newsletter serves as a roll up of all the recent music related activity from me. The newsletter is also sent to fans on my mailing list. You can join now by clicking here!

What’s New

It’s near the end of May, and I realized I haven’t sent out the Ambient Highways rollup newsletter since Mid January, and a LOT has occurred since then.  So let me see if I can recap everything that’s happened since then for you.

  • I released my first The Dark Tower inspired album Gunslinger – A Musical Journey to The Dark Tower: Volume 1.
    • I’m so happy with how the album turned out.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very, very long time.  In fact, check out this post in August of 2008 where I was considering it at that time.
    • I’m currently re-reading The Drawing of the Three and taking notes to begin work on the next album in this series for 2018.
  • I created the new theme music for the Microsoft Cloud Show.
    • The Microsoft Cloud Show is the only place to stay up to date on everything going on in the Microsoft Intelligent Cloud world including Azure and Office 365.
    • I’ve known Andrew Connell and Chris Johnson for years and they asked me to create the new theme music for their podcast.  It’s so awesome to hear it playing during their podcast and I’m truly thankful to them for the opportunity.  Go check it out!.
  • Via my collaboration project with Musical Nature (a.k.a. Geoff Varosky) we have released our first album VR:1.
    • VR is a musical collaboration myself and fellow SharePoint Developer and Musician Friend Geoff Varosky. Geoff currently produces and releases experimental ambient music, ranging from long slowing soundscapes to beat and heavily sampled ambient house via Musical Nature which is his “ambient project in experimental sound”.  Together we form VR. Be sure to check it out, we would LOVE to hear your feedback!
  • Released the Escape Single.
    • I’m trying to put together a series of songs that fall into the “Synthwave/Retrowave” genre.  Escape is the first single release on this work.
  • Launched my Patreon page.  It’s just one of the various ways you can support me and my music as listed on my Support page.
  • Started building out a merchandise site where you can get branded T-Shirts and other items featuring my music projects.
  • I was introduced to Cathy Heller and her amazing Don’t Keep Your Day Job podcast.
    • Cathy was famous for having hand crafted a career as a songwriter, licensing her music to Film/TV and Advertising and she is now creating the truly amazing Don’t Keep Your Day Job podcast.  Cathy is truly an inspirational person and her podcast has certainly reinvigorated me to continue pushing forward with my dreams in music.   And quite frankly, her podcast isn’t focused on making a living in music, it’s about making a living doing what you absolutely love, regardless of what it is. I would Highly recommend you check it out.
  • I bought the book How to Make It in the New Music Business by Ari Herstand.
    • Ari has a great blog simply called Ari’s Take and I have read several articles there.  His insights were collected and fleshed out in the for of the book.  I’m just getting started in the book, and so far it appears to be absolute gold.  Once I finish, I plan on doing a write up on my blog.

I have so much more I’m working on as well such as a possible enhanced / re-mastered and extended version of my album For the Willow Wept… (which if you are a patron of mine on Patreon, you can listen to how that album is panning out now!

What’s Next

Here’s a list of things I’m working on next and what’s in store for the future!


Continuing to promote my latest album Gunslinger.  As I keep myself busy and always working forward on new material, I have to remember to also promote what I’ve already released.  So be sure to check it out!

History of Musical Influences

I want to continue in reviving my History of Musical Influences posts, so I’m going to dedicate some time throughout the year to move forward with that.  I’ll be taking a “Staycation” next week to work on a few things such as this.  So be sure to keep checking back!

Complete reading the How to Make it in the New Music Business

As mentioned above, I just acquired the book, so I plan on finishing a read through of it, and begin implementing the suggestions mentioned in the book.

Gigers’ Chimera and Escape

As I mentioned above, I released the single Escape.  I have a few more tracks I’m working on that are styled this way, and may be able to finish it up before the end of the year.

I’ve also released an early draft of a song I’m calling Gigers’ Chimera which is a dark ambient audio exploration into the world of H.R. Giger.

Hans Rudolf “H.R.” Giger was a Swiss surrealist painter, whose style was adapted for many forms of media, including record albums, furniture and tattoos.

The Zurich-based artist was best known for airbrush images of humans and machines linked together in a cold ‘biomechanical’ relationship. He was part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for design work on the film Alien.

This is a track I am working on that will be released in a future album of dark ambient music. Who knows, maybe I’ll even release a whole album of Giger inspired music if there is an overwhelming request from my fanbase. Let me know!

In Closing

I hope you enjoyed reading this newsletter, and if so please leave me your comments!

If you have received this newsletter from a friend, or read it on my blog be sure to sign up for the email based newsletter by visiting my official music site at and click the “Stay Informed” link!

I’m just Keeping the Dream Alive!

– Keith Richie


Announcing VR:1

You may remember this post from a few short months ago where I announced a collaboration project with my good friend and fellow SharePoint/Musician Geoff Varosky that we are calling “VR”.

Well, today I’m very happy and proud to announce to you the fruits of our collaboration in the form of our debut album VR:1.

This debut album constitutes the collective energy we both share in regards to ambient and electronic music, and is an absolute pleasure to work on.

Please give it a listen through and let us know your thoughts!

– Keith and Geoff


Expanding my horizons and the Microsoft Cloud Show


I’ve known for a long time that in order to be successful in the music industry, especially for someone who doesn’t tour right now, that I needed to expand my horizons in order to get my music heard.

That’s why I’ve been working with other people to collaborate on music as well as offering my music for use in projects etc. that I have great interest in.

I thought I would share some of those collaborations and tidbits with you that you may have missed.

Smoking Land

First comes a student short film created by Axel Henneberg.  .

Axel is a film student of the Prague film school, and he has used some of the music from my award winning album “Ambient Highways” for his short film titled Smoking Land.

Smoking Land – A Noir Short Film by Axel Henneberg


A Room I Once Entered

Next up is a collaboration I did with David Gerard who goes by the name Ambientism.

David releases a collaboration album annually called “The Electronic Consortium” consisting of various artists he has collaborated with over the previous year.  David reached out to me to see if I would be interested, and I certainly was.

Here is A Room I Once Entered in which David and I collaborated

VR – Outward

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started working with Geoff Varosky on a collaboration project we’re calling “VR”.

Geoff currently produces and releases experimental ambient music, ranging from long slowing soundscapes to beat and heavily sampled ambient house via Musical Nature which is an ambient project in experimental sound.

Together, we are “VR”.

VR is obviously a combination of the initials of our last names (Varosky and Richie), but as most know, it is also the abbreviation for “Virtual Reality”.

Virtual Reality typically refers to computer technologies that use software to generate realistic images, and considering that we are both individuals who have been involved in software development and software architecture, it seemed a good fit for us as well.
VR (us) will bring you music that will immerse you in a virtual world of the mind, where our musical stories will be the backdrop for your imagination.

Here is a sample of the type of music you can hear from us in the not too distant future.



The Microsoft Cloud Show and Mastering the SharePoint Framework

Last, but certainly NOT least, I’ve been working with Andrew Connell and Chris Johnson on a couple of things over the past few months.

First, you were probably first introduced to me on this blog via my various SharePoint related posts I’ve made in the past.  Even though this site has morphed more into supporting my music, I hope you’ve decided to stick around 🙂 .

BTW, if your interested on where I’ll be placing more technical/SharePoint related content in the future…. be sure to check out as that’s where I’ll be placing those things in the future.

I’ve known Andrew and Chris for many, many years and I’m super excited to inform you that they’ve chosen my music as the new theme music for their weekly podcast The Microsoft Cloud Show. I absolutely loved working on the piece of music they chose for the shows new theme, and upon listening to the first podcast using it myself, it was really cool to hear the specific sections of the piece they incorporated into the show. So go check out episode 186 right now and listen to them rip on me a bit and then geek out about home automation! :).

Secondly, Andrew recently started a new business venture called Voitanos. Voitanos is your host for on-demand technical training and educational resources for Microsoft’s Office 365, Microsoft Azure and cloud-related technologies. Whether you are looking to learn something new for a project, get up-to-speed on a new technology or level up your skill set, Voitanos is for you

The first set of deliverables Andrew is producing it is called Mastering the SharePoint Framework.  And guess what, it utilizes some of my music here and there for the background music!

I myself will be going through the Mastering the SharePoint Framework course, and I’m truly excited not only to be participating, but being a small part of the course material :).

Many thanks Andrew and Chris!

16 years

Lastly, this bit of news couldn’t come at a better time. Want to know how long I’ve been involved with SharePoint? Oh, just over 16 years.  Yep, 16 years ago today we announced Release to Manufacturing of SharePoint Portal Server 2001.

I remember taking a quick ramp up course on a product code named Tahoe in early 2000/2001 during my first tenure with Microsoft back in the day as it utilized the Web Storage System from Exchange.  At the time I was an Escalation Engineer for Outlook and Exchange.  Little did I know just how dramatic my life would change after that moment.

Happy Birthday SharePoint Portal server!

Be sure to also read Bill Baer’s post on the history of SharePoint right here.

That’s all for now! Back to a dedicated study day for myself.  I’ll be finishing up chapter 3 of the Mastering the SharePoint Framework course today as well!

– Keith