Unique band keeps experiment alive

By John Benson


Rusted Root singer and songwriter Michael Glabicki recently found himself living in two universes.

Not only was the Pittsburgh-based band, which scored mainstream attention with its 1994 platinum-selling major-label debut “When I Woke” and its popular radio hit “Send Me on My Way,” working on the follow-up effort to its 2010 album “Stereo Rodeo,” but the singer also was writing his next solo release.

The former, Rusted Root’s new album “The Movement,” came out this week. The latter is due out next year. Naturally, one wonders exactly how Glabicki divides the material between the different projects?

“On the solo it just tends to be a little bit more uniquely me,” said Glabicki, calling from Salt Lake City. “A little bit more intimate and the lyrics tend to play a bigger role than just the music and the rhythms. With Rusted Root, there are more secondary type meanings to the lyrics because they’re kind of so blended in with rhythms and tones and melodies.”

As Rusted Root’s songwriter, Glabicki said the band’s through-line in recent albums is a sense of experimentation. For instance, “Stereo Rodeo” found the outfit playing around with sounds and atmospheres, which was nothing new for Rusted Root.

He points out the background singing on “The Movement” plays a foundational role while the “insane” drum rhythm keeps things moving along. The experimental percussion is something Glabicki said was created spontaneously in the studio and possesses a unique vibe.

Speaking of uniqueness, that description has followed Rusted Root during its 20-year run as a roots-oriented band that fused a melange of bluegrass, rock, Native American and Middle Eastern music.

Just in the past few years, Rusted Root’s steady touring schedule has kept its diehard fans content to the tune of more than 3 million albums sold worldwide. Currently the act is mounting a coast-to-coast swing, which includes a Sunday show at Akron’s Musica.

Even though that material is roughly two decades old, Glabicki said the songs continue to inspire him in ways he never dreamed were possible. And perhaps more importantly, the experience provides a bright future for Rusted Root.

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