Saturday, April 15, 2006
ollowing in the footsteps of spiritual and social troubadours Cat Stevens, John Lennon, and Paul Simon, Glen Roethel has crafted a collection of songs to honor that tradition songs that cherish people and nature and encourages us to nourish our sense of belonging, peace and natural powers of healing.
orn in San Diego, California, Glen Roethel began his exploration of life, dreams and family quite immediately. "My father maintained the Atlas rockets, the engines that carried Friendship 7 and John Glenn into Earth's orbit. In those days everyone's eyes were on the stars, that's probably when I learned my first lessons in wanderlust and dreaming.
t the age of six Glen found himself on Long Island in Westbury, New York. There he discovered The Beatles and acquired his first guitar an old, beat-up acoustic, handed down from his brother. At age eleven Glen and his two siblings were adopted together and their new home provided a stability which made his creative pursuits possible. After four years exploring his growing passion for the visual arts and music, Glen began to listen to the inspired voices of Cat Stevens and other evocative singer-songwriters which called him to channel more of his energies to song and guitar.
n his early life, Glen began his exploration of life, dreams and family. Through college Glen played guitar, bass and keyboards in various bands and wrote songs about heartbreak and the emotional train wreck of youth. But later, to better express his heart Glen turned his pen toward gratitude, encouragement and hope. "It seemed that we always spoke in negatives of tragedies, anger, and hopelessness a very bad diet if you're aiming to feel strong and happy. It didn't make sense that just the bad events the ones that crush hope - were getting all the airtime.
eeking a connection with others who shared his feelings, Glen joined the staff at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. Barbara Brennan, a world-renowned energy healer and author, gave more inspiration to Glen's message which now began to take shape in song. "I was surrounded by people who wanted to heal others and themselves. It's Barbara's extraordinary gift to create a space for that. I've wanted to do healing work ever since then, with the tools that I use best."
hose tools were his guitar, pen and voice. Although anxious to begin, Glen's final committment to inspired music awaited his completion of four exciting years fronting Gush an energetic and emotive alternative rock band promoting their CD Ambition on the Indigo label and nine years as a graphic designer for a marketing company in New York.
t was the recent events in New York City and around the globe that ultimately galvanized Glen's resolve: "I decided to change my life and be a voice that delivers a positive message, encourages others, believes in peace, and heals hearts with song. This year my thoughts became actions." Producer Steve Young agrees, "Glen gives us just what we all need right now: a warm and positive message. More artists should think this way."
onight Glen delivered on the promise of a heart-warming collection of songs. He was ably accompanied by Bruce Markow in his debut performance at our Hard Luck Café.
and on the same program
riting a song is like catching a fish: you never know what you're going to get. Sometimes an old boot, sometimes a prize for hours of concentration. Fascinated with music from an early age, Walt Sargent has years of fishing and experimenting with reggae, blues, opera, electronic music and now the "singer-songwriter" thing.
I have been fascinated with music my whole life. From an early age, I have wanted to open it up and learn what makes it tick. My curiosity led me to theory & composition and years of experimentation with art rock, reggae, blues, opera, electronic music and now the "singer-songwriter" thing.
y instruments are voice, guitar and keyboard, but developing the voice has done more for my songwriting than anything else. My teachers and dear friends, Gloria Hilborn, and Joy and Al Tepedino from Opera Pro Vocé have helped me build the strength, coordination and, in the process, taught me how to write music that is flattering for the voice. The trick is to know where the voice is strongest and to work the right vowels into the high notes. Verdi is the Master. Rogers and Hammerstein really understood it also. (I think they probably listened to a lot of Verdi). It's more difficult to sing in English than Italian and those guys are like American second cousins to Verdi and Puccini.
rowing up in Stony Brook, New York, I started on the piano and french horn, Scarlatti and marching band, all of which was briskly traded in for the electric guitar when I heard Jimmy Page's guitar solo on Black Dog. I played lead guitar for a bunch of bands including the Reggaematics, Tooly Look, Smokestack Lightning, Angels In Overdrive, the Scoundrels, Asanas and the Blue Unknown. I've covered classic rock, art rock, southern rock, fusion, blues and reggae and have played with some brilliant songwriters: Don Bracken, Liz Dacey, Russ MacDonald and Dennis Francis. I also attended SUNY Fredonia (briefly) and studied electronic music with Bart Maclean and David Tudor at iEar studios/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Being a college radio announcer at WRPI was a great learning experience. Without WRPI, I don't think there's any way I could begin to appreciate how much talent is out there, or how difficult it is to get anyone's attention. Many musicians simply do not understand what they are up against, not just in terms of accomplishment, but in terms of anonymity. I personally auditioned 100+ records a week from aspiring artists and I noticed what gets noticed by college radio personnel. These people are passionate about music too, and they want to hear something real. It reminds me of something Gloria taught me. She said that audiences can always tell when singers are singing in their real voice, as opposed to imitating someone else. I think this applies to songwriters as well.
ongs of Dunder was a response to all of it. Part musical exploration, part production and marketing experiment, what else would you call an aria from Verdi's opera Ernani done kinda country-western with a synthesizer? It began with a theory that seriousness and silliness could not be articially separated. For more information, see dunderheadquarters.com
oo much seriousness or too much silliness is boring, but the good thing about being bored with music is that this is the motivation for something new and interesting. In a sense, I am right back where I started: engaged in an exploration an experiment into what makes music tick. At the moment, I tinker with "key bending" chromatic movements and strategically-placed augmented chords. A new recording is in the works.
alt is motivated to explore the new and interesting and tonight in his Hard Luck Cafe debut he demonstrated that he is an outstanding performer with a fascinating collection of songs.Link to Walt's website:
Our host tonight was Amy Tuttle,
and our open mike featured performances by:
If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...
made possible in part by our expert sound crew Lou Malfi and Craig Courounis