RAHWAY – Rusted Root, America’s perennial jam band, will headline Union County Performing Arts Center’s first ever “School’s Out Jam Band Concert” on Friday, May 21 at 8 p.m. Opening the evening will be the Adam Ezra Group.
“We engaged Rusted Root to expose a different audience to the extraordinary setting and acoustics of our magnificently restored theater,” said Sandy Erwin, UCPAC Executive Director. “They are an extremely gifted group that has more than earned its stellar reputation for high-end music that is firmly rooted in laid-back story-telling, instrumental virtuosity and fun.”
Rusted Root was formed in Pittsburgh by singer/guitarist Michael Glabicki in the early 90’s and rose to worldwide fame with the platinum-selling album When I Woke, which featured the mega-hit song Send Me On My Way. The band has sold more the 3 million albums worldwide and has emerged as one of the industry’s top touring bands, having shared the stage with the likes of Toad the Wet Sprocket, Santana, the Grateful Dead, the Dave Matthews Band, The Allman Brothers Band, and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
The band, formed in the early 1990’s, will play new songs from their 2009 album “Stereo Rodeo” as well as old fan favorites. After experiencing Rusted Root live, it is clear that the multicultural rock and soul band refuses to let anything interfere with the beautiful collaboration of music they are known for creating. Rusted Root’s sound is heavily influenced by world music — some of the group’s rhythms wouldn’t be out of place in African or Latin music. The group’s songs also allow for plenty of interpretation. According to Glabicki, a Rusted Root concert is going to be something different each time. “Each night we bring something different to it,” Glabicki said.
Rusted Root’s first album, “Cruel Sun,” was released in 1992. The band’s breakthrough came with the release of its major-label debut, 1994’s “When I Woke.” “When I Woke” gave Rusted Root its two biggest hits: “Ecstasy” and “Send Me on My Way,” which hit the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995. “Send Me on My Way” has also been used in various movies, such as “Ice Age” and “Matilda.”
The group continued to release new albums through the 1990s and into this decade before taking a long break — seven years between studio albums.
The group’s most recent release is this year’s “Stereo Rodeo.” While the band continued to tour periodically during its studio hiatus, taking a break from recording new material allowed the band to regroup and refocus, Glabicki said. “I think it was entirely necessary,” he said. “We’ve been together 20 years. We didn’t decide, we didn’t talk about it — it just sort of happened.”
Glabicki and other band members took the time to create solo work before returning to the studio with a new purpose for “Stereo Rodeo.” “I think everybody came with a lot of new energy.” Glabicki said. The new album features more intimate moments and quieter dynamics than the older Rusted Root albums, which is by design, Glabicki said. “(We) decided to bring that music to Rusted Root,” he said. “ … Everybody kind of learned how to pull back.” The new album features a cover of “Suspicious Minds,” most notably performed by Elvis Presley. Rusted Root arranged the cover before a live show and played it on the same night.
“The response was so fantastic,” Glabicki said. “(We said) we kind of have to put it on the record.”
“Studio Rodeo” and the group’s 2004 live album, “Rusted Root Live,” were both released on the band’s independent label Touchy Pegg. “It’s great,” Glabicki said of going independent. “I wish we would have done it sooner. The way the band functions, we really don’t need any outside input.”
The band’s free-flowing live show features a mix of both older and newer material, Glabicki said.
As for the future of the band, Glabicki expects it to be long-lasting. “I think music is the way we stay present in the world, I think for all of us,” he said. “I think it’s almost like a spiritual practice for us. Rusted Root is a great ritual for us.”
The band is already working on a new album, which should be released sometime next year. “Our juices are flowing,” Glabicki said. “We’re set up for another 10 to 15 years.”
Adam Ezra Group
One of Jam music’s rising stars, The Adam Ezra Group has toured across the country, at such venues as LA’s Roxy and the Telus Festival in Whistler, BC, where they shared the stage with a few of their favorite bands, including Jurassic Five, Blackalicious, and Umphrey’s McGee.
The Groups live performance has placed the band on stage in some of the country’s top clubs and is now turning the heads of some of the industry’s top players. Ben Tishler, Producer of VH1s Driven remarks, “Adam Ezra is one of the most promising young songwriters to come along in years. He has the craftsmanship and insight to become a major voice in American music.” (The band’s music was featured on the show’s Dave Matthews episode.)
Nominated for a Boston Music Award for best album, Ezra and company have been touring with Budweiser’s True Music roster now for two years, featured at events such as VH1’s Summers End Concert Special with the Goo Goo Dolls and the Donnas, The Women’s World Cup Soccer Championships, and Winter X-Games.
“It’s an exciting time for us these days,” says Adam Ezra, Boston native and namesake of the Group. “It feels really good to be sharing our music and getting such great response.” Ezra first became inspired to write during his traveling adventures, which took him around the world studying environmental geography in South Africa, farming in Ontario, Canada, and joining the relief effort in Kosovo. His writing addresses many current political issues in an attempt to provoke perspective rather than preach, which, in his opinion, is the shortcoming of most political writing.
Tickets are $37.50 & $27.50 may be purchased by calling 732-499-8226 or online by visiting the website at www.UCPAC.org. The UCPAC Box Office, located at 1601 Irving Street, Rahway, NJ, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11AM until 5PM.
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