Send me on my way

Rusted Root takes the stage at Oddbody’s

By Josher Lumpkin

Photo: Rusted Root will perform at Oddbody’s on Feb. 13

The organic, earthy sounds of Rusted Root have been soothing listeners’ ears for 25 years. Best known for their 1996 song “Send Me On My Way,” the band, whose songs are often a fusion of African, Native American, Middle Eastern and rock influences, has sold over three million albums and toured with Santana, Dave Matthews Band and The Allman Brothers band, among many others.

Rusted Root will make a stop in Dayton to play at Oddbody’s this Friday, Feb. 13, as part of a month-long tour of the Midwest and East Coast. Dayton jam band The Goods will also take the stage.

“We love what we’re doing,” Michael Glabicki, Rusted Root founder and frontman, said during a recent telephone conversation.

Glabicki, who has been busy preparing for the tour, as well as working on a new Rusted Root album and recording his own solo material, shared some advice he’d give his younger self, as the band has reached the quarter-century mark: “Relax.”

“Have a lot more fun,” Glabicki said. “I think we were just a little too focused or uptight with what we were doing, and I think that I was never really comfortable with where I was at. I always wanted to get better and better and better and really the way that happens is just to relax and reflect upon what it is that you’re doing, and have a good time with it.”

After all, what good is playing music if you’re not having fun while you’re doing it?

Glabicki also discussed the band’s next project, the album that will follow up 2012’s The Movement.

“We’re working on it and it’s a pretty vast project right now,” he said. “We’re playing out about four or five of the new songs each night. I’m working in our hotel rooms, dem-oing stuff and writing new material every day. So there’s a lot going on, on many different levels. Whether it’s lyrics or just coming up with an idea for a new song or whatever, it’s pretty intense right now.”

“It’s great because I feel like on some of our most recent records, we did relax quite a bit, and I think that’s why they were so good,” he said. “We had a good time and just sort of eased back into all that we’ve learned over 25 years, and it’s been a really great experience. So on this one, I’m kind of thinking, over the course of making such a big deal over the [anniversary of] 25 years, it thrust upon me this idea that what I do next is really setting up the next 25 years. So I’m really taking my time with it. I’m not getting uptight about it or anything like that. I just really want to take my time and get the foundation blocks in place for the next ten new directions I’m going to be taking over the next 25 years. It’s gonna be a really big step forward for us on this next record, and I just gotta set it up.”

In this electronic age of crowdsourcing and social networking, it is easier than ever for bands to get in touch with their audience. Having started Rusted Root at a time before everyone was online, Glabicki discussed whether now being constantly available is a help or hindrance to musicians.

“I think it has its ups and downs,” he said. “I like being in touch with the audience. I don’t like ever feeling like I have to go talk to somebody about what the best way is for us to get through to our fans. So you get to control that a little bit more.”

“On the other hand, the mediocrity that’s being embraced … it’s almost like reality TV. People are doing albums that are getting popular even though they’re doing what anybody can really do. That’s what it feels like. And [Rusted Root] is just completely different. So the unique people out there that are making unique music and have unique voices aren’t being heard whereas back when we got started that was what was at the forefront. But at the same time, it’s a lot harder but it’s been nothing but great for me to start to focus more and I just learned how to get through, as opposed to just sitting back a little too much.”

Finally, as a musician who has played thousands of concerts in clubs as well as giant festivals, Glabicki discussed his preference between the two.

“If I had to give a preference I’d say club shows, because the smaller the better,” Glabicki said. “I like playing smaller, more intimate venues, but at the same time, there’s some festivals where we just have a blast each year. Like the Peach Fest coming up in Scranton. We always have a great time there. There’s just some really special festivals out there that we just really look forward to.”

Rusted Root will play Friday, Feb. 13 at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Rd. Doors at 7 p.m. The Goods are also on the bill. Tickets are $25 in advance, $32 at the door, for patrons 18 and up. For more information, please visit RustedRoot.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Josher Lumpkin at josherlumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Josher Lumpkin
Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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