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Rich Layton & Tough Town Announce Single, "Live to Rock"

In a world of compromises, those who find True North and follow wherever it leads have a treasure beyond measure. What if that pursuit was suddenly taken away? Would there be defeat, or a fight to get it all back? With their new single “Live to Rock,” Rich Layton & The Tough Town provide an anthem for everyone facing doubt, roadblocks, and brick walls to reclaim the one true thing at the core of who they are. Due out May 13, “Live To Rock” is the lead track and second single off Salvation Road, the upcoming album co-produced by Layton and LA-based Terry Wilson, a fellow ex-Texan and 2019 Grammy nominee. The album is due out May 31 on Never Lucky Records.

Rich Layton’s musical future was in doubt for more than 18 months following inner ear surgery for a mysterious hearing issue. When he finally came out the other side of the long ordeal, he wrote “Live to Rock,” the hard-driving personal anthem that kicks off the return album, Salvation Road. With a ferocious guitar and harp attack, “Live To Rock” is a testament to all those who hold onto a dream.  Not because of fame and fortune, but because it’s the thing that gives a deep sense of self.

The track features a noteworthy guest whose presence is especially heartfelt for Rich – legendary British saxophonist, Chris Mercer. He began his career with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers in 1967 and has since played with a Who’s Who of British blues and rock royalty. As Rich described it, “Being in the studio while Chris played turned into a really emotional moment for me. I saw and felt this unbroken thread weaving all the way back to the records I was singing along with as a kid. It was a wave of pure gratitude for every experience in my own musical journey. Realizing that I grew up to become a small part of this amazing rock and roll tapestry just blew me away.”

With ten original songs and a psychedelic ‘60s cover, Salvation Road is high octane American music, roaring down two-lane Southern asphalt. It’s The Yardbirds jamming with Johnny Cash; The Stones on a week-long bender with Delbert McClinton at Muscle Shoals’ Fame Studio; and Elvis sitting in at a Memphis juke joint, backed by Sun blues cats and the growl of an amplified harmonica. Making the influences all his own, Layton takes on every song with the conviction of firebrand rock and roll preacher determined to save your soul - and his.

Salvation Road Track Listing


  1. Live to Rock
  2. Salvation Road
  3. Raise It Up
  4. Wake-up Call
  5. Show Me What You’re Workin’ With
  6. (feat. Teresa James)
  7. Dollars to Donuts
  8. Sorry Don’t Cut It
  9. Two Hearts
  10. The Dude Abides
  11. Soul Divided
  12. Take A Giant Step



About Rich Layton & Tough Town

As Houston-raised Gulf Coast musicians, Rich Layton and co-producer Terry Wilson grew up steeped in multiple genres – garage rock, blue-eyed soul, country, blues, Louisiana swamp pop, and Zydeco. When he began playing harmonica with then-girlfriend Lucinda Williams in Austin, Texas, it turned into a life sentence. After honing their chops on street corners and dives, the two moved to Houston to join the seminal music scene at Anderson Fair. Layton became the house harp player at this inner city club that was home to Townes Van Zandt, Nanci Griffith, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Lyle Lovett, and many other Texas-bred singer-songwriters. In 1985, the Lone Star State’s leading music magazine honored Layton as one of six Texas Harmonica Tornados, a list that included such luminaries as Kim Wilson and Delbert McClinton. Dubbed “The Duke of Juke,” he was city’s premier harp player and best-dressed musician.

After 25 years in Houston, Layton and his wife relocated to Portland where he entered the vibrant NW music scene as a respected harp player. On a tour stop in Portland, long-time friend and mentor Stanley Dural, Jr. aka Buckwheat Zydeco encouraged Layton to start his own band. Not long after that fateful afternoon, Rich Layton & The Troublemakers emerged, playing a high octane blend of roots rock, honky-tonk and more for a growing local and regional audience. Layton also sat in with old friends Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Dale Watson, and others when their shows would hit town. Recently renamed and signed by Portland’s Never Lucky Records, the band weaves a swampadelic soundtrack for a last chance Saturday night with the upcoming album release, Salvation Road.

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Brijana Bondy Staff Photo

Brijana can be found reading a book on a hammock while listening to her favorite tunes.

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