Fourth Coast Entertainment -

By Garret K. Woodward
Staff Writer 

Rusted Root


Last updated 8/31/2015 at 5:51pm

Rusted Root

Back To The Earth - Rusted Root

It is a sound as familiar as it is foreign.

For the last 25 years, Rusted Root has seamlessly blended rock-n-roll with world fusion. Whereas the catchy beat immediately grabs you, it is the primal nature of their music that spills into the furthest corners of your soul. The attitude is embracing and nurturing, and yet filled with urgency and the need to reach deeper levels within yourself, where the only voice that remains is the most important one - your own.

Their seminal 1994 album "When I Woke" was a shot across the bow of grunge and bubblegum pop that ruled the airwaves then. Up and down the radio dial, nothing sounded like the percussive explosion of "Ecstasy" or the intricate and soothing acoustic guitar picking of "Send Me on My Way."

And at the center of this juggernaut of positivity is the distinct and serendipitously serene voice of lead singer Michael Glabicki. Forming the ensemble in Pittsburgh, he has taken the act around the country and across the globe, where sold-out concerts feel like a gathering of souls, the lines between audience and performer ultimately blurred into a single ball of energy of celebration and purpose.

Garret K. Woodward: Rusted Root is coming into its 25th year together. Most bands don't even make it five years, so what is it about you guys that has kept it together?

Michael Glabicki: I think it's a number of things - honesty in the music, timelessness to the songwriting, uniqueness to my voice, the background vocals, the use of percussion, the rhythms we come up with where everybody gets it on a deep level.

GKW: How do you avoid becoming a nostalgia act?

MG: You just don't worry about it. If I were to think about it, it'd probably drive me crazy, either because you'd be tempted to embrace it and what it means or else you'd be tempted to fight it. And either way you'd be kind of screwed. It's about the honesty and the openness that does it for us, not thinking about anything but being in the moment.

GKW: How has the philosophy of The Band evolved?

MG: It has matured. We've got a lot of experience under our belt. We've become more humble in a lot of ways, a lot richer and warmer in our sound. I wanted to create a world of joy and celebration within the mystery of music, the spiritual end of the music realm, and I think we've done that. We like to have fun out there, but if we weren't hitting it, that place that can change the world, then I think we'd have packed it up years ago.

GKW: What do you see when you're onstage?

MG: I see a landscape, one of music and energy melting together - the energy of us onstage, the energy of the music. Our music has an energy it brings with it, it all collides and creates this unique landscape, and it blends into one world for me.

GKW: Where do you go in your head during a show?

MG: I don't know if I'm thinking, it's like you become a different animal, this different type of being. And you have this oversight to talk yourself through it, but at some point you better not go to far in a direction, to come back and reconnect visually in the crowd, it's like a director of sorts in my mind - keep a balance when you're performing, keep that director part of yourself no more of a part than the animal side of you performance.

GKW: What has a life playing music taught you about what it means to be a human being?

MG: Keep it simple as possible, as real as possible, keep family and friends close, to keep in touch with the Earth and the Earth's energy.


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