Americana With A Little Help From Rocky Roberts & Friends: Pieces of Time (Wolfe Island Records / 5 May 2023)
Americana With A Little Help From
Rocky Roberts & Friends: Pieces of Time
Wolfe Island Records / 5 May 2023)
Rocky Roberts' day job was once that of a touring guitar technician. He worked with Neil Young's bands, Wilco, Patti Smith, CSN&Y, Paul Simon, Lucinda Williams and My Morning Jacket, among others. Today, he's releasing his own brand of Americana/roots.
Pieces of Time is a four-song EP with an impressive list of collaborators, including Norah Jones in a duet on Buck Moon - check out the full list of friends below.
He talks about the track in a statement.
"Buck Moon is an ode to all the great side men/women I had the honour to serve, originally a poem written for a memorial to Ben Keith, the amazing pedal steel player for Neil Young, oh, and Patsy Cline! I put it to music and was so lucky to have Nora Jones sing along with me. Carl Broemel ( My Morning Jacket) also joined the party on guitar and pedal steel."
The song has a nice country swing, with Norah to add her sweet harmonies to Rocky's gravely voice. She's a soft note underneath his lead; it seems like a wasted opportunity not to have her take a verse on her own.
The musicianship, as could be expected, is impeccable, including H. Chris Brown's lovely grand piano on the song, and a growly guitar solo from Carl Broemel. It's nice to have talented friends.
The musical terrain is familiar, but it's done with polish and lush arrangements that accentuate melodies and the emotions of the song. Wild Riders is a plaintive song about people lost to time. Party Line is a story about family that unfolds over time to a classic mandolin and fiddle combination.
Tomales Bay adds a Latin groove to the mix, a Mexican holiday of a song - something to listen to while you quaff a margarita.
Rocky talks about how the EP came together.
"Many years, many wonderful friends and musicians. Most of my playing has been in between years as a guitar tech for some pretty great musicians. Even have had the good fortune to fool around playing with many of them.
Later in the 70s, I joined "Aces and Eights". We got to open for Commander Cody, Asleep at the Wheel, New Riders of the Purple Sage and other wacky "Country Rockers". Pretty heady days!
The last few years has been a combo of Rocky & Friends shows, occasionally getting to open for the likes of The Bill Kirchen Bands, Richey Furay of The Buffalo Springfield and Pegi Young & the Survivors at the Iron Horse Saloon. Some Festivals and up on the Island of Wolves with Chris and the gang.
In the years of the iso-demic, I was fortunate to have a great circle of friends on my block with a studio and their voices to record this new EP of four songs' "Pieces Of Time".
Buck Moon: Rocky Roberts - Vocal & Acoustic; Norah Jones - Vocal; Carl Broemel - Pedal Steel & Elec Guitar; H. Chris Brown - Grand Piano; Jason Mercer - Upright Bass; Pete Bowers - Drums
Wild Riders: Rocky Roberts - Vocal & Acoustic; Suzanne Jarvie - Vocal; Tony Sherr - Acoustic Guitars; Benoit Lefebrve - Fiddle; H. Chris Brown - Wurlitzer Piano; Jason Mercer - Upright Bass; Pete Bowers - Drums
Party Line: Rocky Roberts - Vocals & Acoustic; Joey Wright - Acoustic Guitar & Mandolin; Luke Mercier - Fiddle; Jason Mercer - Upright Bass; Teilhard Frost, Suzanne Jarvie, Stephen Stanley - Harmony Vocals
Tomales Bay: Rocky Roberts - Vocal & Acoustic; Bill Kirchen - Acoustic Guitar lead; H. Chis Brown - Squeeze Box; Jason Mercer - Upright Bass; Pete Bowers - Drums; Teilhard Frost - Percussion; Sarah McDermott, Suzanne Jarvie, Stephen Stanley - Harmony Vocal