Federal Hill Business Owner Chris Riehl Releases ‘Baltimore!’ Song and Music Video

| January 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

Baltimore Rent A Tour owner Chris Riehl decided to celebrate his 40th birthday last Thursday by releasing his song and music video ‘Baltimore!’ Riehl wants his song to be a positive message and a source of pride for Baltimore, which he calls “the greatest city in the world.”

Riehl, who was born and raised inside the beltway, spends his days entertaining guests as part of his Federal Hill-based tour company. Riehl takes visitors to Baltimore on tours around the city giving them history lessons on Babe Ruth, the Star-Spangled Banner, museums and attractions, architecture, and diverse neighborhoods that celebrate different cultures from around the world.

“The comment that I get from our tour groups the most is ‘I had no idea there is so much cool stuff in Baltimore,'” said Riehl.

Baltimore Rent A Tour also takes visitors to Baltimore on day trips to Annapolis and Washington, D.C.

Riehl is also a board member and former president of Federal Hill Main Street, which promotes Federal Hill business, events, and initiatives in the neighborhood.

The music video has been 16 years in the making. Riehl wrote the song in 2003, soon after graduating from college. He partnered with his friend and piano player Colin Lippy soon after writing the lyrics to arrange the song for a jazz quartet and to record it.

Riehl has always been a fan of jazz/swing standard singers like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bobby Darin, who are all typically his selections when he grabs the microphone on karaoke night. Riehl’s vocals in ‘Baltimore!’ are styled in that genre.

The song got some plays after it was recorded, but Riehl and Lippy did not do a lot more with it at the time.

In the last few years, Riehl decided he wanted to make a music video for his song, knowing the impact of video on social media and YouTube.

Riehl hired a production company to help produce the video in 2016 but wasn’t entirely satisfied with the final result and decided to shelve it again. With his 40th birthday in January approaching, Riehl decided it was time to finish this project. He hired videographer Josh Brayden to get the music video completed.

Riehl was also approached by Tommy Barrick, the drummer from the original recording, about rerecording the song with a big band arrangement to which Riehl agreed. The song now has piano, drums, guitar, bass, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and Riehl’s vocals.

‘Baltimore!’ mentions the Patapsco, “Oh say can you see” from the Star-Spangled Banner, the cobblestones in a reference to Fells Point streets, Fells Point, Federal Hill, Baltimore Street, Natty Boh, “welcome to Baltimore hon,” and repeated chants of “Baltimore.”

The music video takes places in Federal Hill’s Illusions Magic Bar and a recording studio. Riehl also takes his wife Jen Riehl out for a dance in the cobblestone streets of Fells Point.

There are plenty of other shots in the video of Federal Hill and South Baltimore including the rowhouses, O’s and Ravens fans on S. Charles St., Tiki Barge, Fort McHenry, Domino Sugar, the Inner Harbor, American Visionary Art Museum, and scenic shots from a boat ride through the harbor.

The video has been shared many times and garnered about 14,000 views between Facebook and Youtube. It can also be downloaded on iTunes.

Riehl’s ultimate goal for the song is for people to associate it with Baltimore, just like New Yorkers to Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. But, in the meantime Riehl hopes the song spreads a positive message and hopes he and his crew will get gigs to perform the song live, along with new songs in the works and jazz standards.

Riehl would also love to see the song licensed with a company like Visit Baltimore or another organization that thinks the song can be a positive message.

Riehl is additionally hoping to parlay the attention of “Baltimore!” into his upcoming Baltimorientation video series which will tell stories about attractions and historical sites in Baltimore. He’s also thinking about launching a Baltimoientation podcast.

“A big issue we have is the narrative in Baltimore,” said Riehl.  “By talking about the positive things, we are not diminishing the challenges. Hopefully with a positive story to tell, more people can buy into Baltimore’s potential.”

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
×