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ROCKHOUNDING by Al Bruting - Rusted Root, Rooted and Growing

a new ongoing review column headed up by the elusive Al Bruting

Rusted Root, Rooted and Growing

by Al Bruting

This week saw Rusted Root at the Magic Bag celebrating their 20th year and seventh release, “The Movement.”  Through the years, the albums and also the line up changes one thing remains consistent, Rusted Root is a jam band.  Seeing RR play live quickly showed vocalist Liz Berlin’s stand out percussive accuracy.  This talent can get missed on the album, but is an impossible to miss reminder of the kind of great surprises we get at a live show.

The Movement” is an interesting musical blend of the bands past and present.  These Pittsburgh natives stay true to their musical past while moving it foreword with a partial return to raw tribal arrangements created by the original trio, Michael Glabicki (lead vocals, guitars, percussion), Liz Berlin (vocals, percussion), and Patrick Norman (bass, vocals, percussion).  World beat drummer Preach Freedom, less traditional guitarist Colter Harper and Dirk Miller on banjo complete the current act.

Recorded by a similar lineup that turned out 2009's Stereo Rodeo, “The Movement” picks up where it left off and debuts Glabicki as the producer and engineer. The songs are tight with a solid global percussion and a nice rhythmic balance brought partially by the different playing styles of Colter and Glabicki.

The performance at the Magic Bag featured a seasoned 4 piece group who’s years together definitely show up in a smooth execution on stage.  The rhythm section is the core of any band and its one of the crowning jewels of the Rusted Root sound.  The live show was quick to point up that Liz Berlin is an asset beyond her vocal talent.  She steadily brandished a variety of hand held percussive instruments including multiple maracas, Latin groove bells, a washboard and a spoon and she knew what to do with them.

The over all highlight of the show was the versatility that was brought into sharper view when a few of the songs were stripped down to the basics and played as simple versions.  A good song can still be heard loud and clear in its plainest form.  Rusted Root continues to craft the same sound they originated.  If you’re a current fan or interested, want to revisit the band, check out videos, tour info or anything else there is to see go to: