Steven Roth to preview new CD
June 19, 2012
Singer and songwriter Steven Roth has been playing music since he can remember and initially gained a following in the rock band called Redstone Hall.
When the group disbanded, Roth decided to embark on a solo career and took some of the songs he wrote to a recording studio in Nashville, Tenn.
While there, he met producer Dave Cobb, who had worked with Secret Sisters and Shooter Jennings.
"I have messed around with different producers over the years, but when I met Dave, I felt like I found a producer who understood my thing and my sound," said Roth who will play at the Spur Bar & Grill on Friday, June 22. "I feel a producer’s job is to make the artist a better artist, but a lot of producers will walk in and want to make the artist something that they have in their head and alter the voice. Dave, on the other hand, was able to capture what I was doing and made it better."
Roth originally had the idea of laying down a few songs for a four-song extended play.
"I took three separate trips to a Nashville studio and had an abundance of music, so we thought it would be good to make full-length CD," Roth said.
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The musician worked with Cobb and a group of musicians and laid down track after track.
"Dave has a lot of vintage gear and instruments and we just went in, played the music and captured that live feel to those basic recordings," Roth explained. "The only thing we really overdubbed was the vocals, and it was great to capture the live feel with the instruments, which was what I was going for, whether I would succeed of fail."
The live vibe is important to Roth, who was raised on Led Zeppelin, The Who and the Grateful Dead.
"These days, music can get so produced that it can sound sterile, you know?" Roth said. "That’s not what I grew up listening to and what I’m impassioned about. I like a lot of the classic-rock records and they were recorded without metronomes, click tracks and auto tune. There is no overproduction and perfection.
"Dave understood that from day one and it worked out nicely," he said.
Roth liked being able to express himself musically by recording songs of all different styles that included funk, rock, country and rhythm and blues.
"I’ve been playing music since I can remember and I think what drew me to it was performing, expressing myself and the fun of doing it," he explained. "I wanted to show different sides of myself, but also keep the songs cohesive. The songs are kind of based on the voice and the writing, but stylistically I wanted to cover different bases and keep it interesting."
There is nothing worse than listening to an album and having all the songs sound the same, Roth said.
"Even if you like the sound, it can get boring when song eight and song nine sound just like song two," he said. "If you look at a Beatles record, it’s unified by the production and their voices, but the song styles run the gamut. They go from ‘Eleanor Rigby’ to ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ and they cover a lot of different genres. That’s one of the reasons that band had a lot of success."
The challenge is appealing to fans of all the different styles.
"Sometimes people may get turned off if they hear a real funky soulful song and a country-infused ballad but want to hear more of the funk," he said. "I think most people like the different styles and are cool with what I’m doing, but some may be taken by surprise."
When Roth started out his musical career, his only goal was to continue to support himself and, ideally, play to bigger audiences and entertain people.
"I wanted to leave my mark and get my sound out there and get people to dance and sing," he said.
A few weeks ago, he had the opportunity to do something he never thought he would do play as warm up act for two rock legends Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and The Who’s Roger Daltrey during a fundraiser in Los Angeles.
"It was pretty insane," Roth said. "I opened for Robert Plant and his Band of Joy and Roger Daltrey, and I got to catch their sets up close.
"I’m a huge Zeppelin fan and I like The Who as well, but for me for a time, Zeppelin was it," Roth said. "So to see Robert up close and hear the new band, which is awesome as well, was amazing. They did some Zeppelin tunes, but in the Band of Joy arrangement. For a guy like me who is very classic-rock influenced, it doesn’t get any better than that. Well, it would have been if Paul McCartney would have been there."
Steven Roth will play the Spur Bar & Grill, 352 Main St., on Friday, June 22, at 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.reverbnation.com/show/7397940