No easy label for jam band Rusted Root

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PITTSFIELD — Mike Glabicki, lead singer and guitarist for jam band Rusted Root, is a Pittsburgh guy, born and raised in the Steel City — and proud of it.

"It's a great town," he said. "I'm very comfortable here. The people are very warm and very blue collar. I feel as though I fit right in. I've always felt that way."

Rusted Root began as a percussive jam band that opened for bands like the Grateful Dead, the Police and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. They have now, through good old-fashioned hard work, moved into the headliner slot these days.

Glabicki and Rusted Root will be playing at the Colonial Theatre on Saturday. Besides Glabicki, the band is composed of Patrick Norman on bass and percussion, Liz Berlin on percussion and backing vocals, Cory Caruso on percussion and backing vocals and Dick Miller on guitar and vocals.

Glabicki admits it's a little hard to believe Rusted Root has now been around 27 years. He started the band in 1990.

"I actually started writing songs in 1988, in college," he said. "I was writing what was starting to be called World Music. It was a couple of years before I started auditioning people to be in the band."

Growing up in Pittsburgh, Glabicki admitted that he was influenced by a variety of artists. Some not exactly who a fan might expect.

"Yeah," he said. "Cat Stevens was someone I listened to. I liked the sound U2 created at that time. It had this emotional intensity that I enjoyed. And I didn't actually like Peter Gabriel, I wasn't actually a fan, but the sounds that I was looking for, at that time, he was playing that kind of music, with that kind of blended percussion. So I listened to him a lot at that point."

Rusted Root is in the early part of a summer tour that will eventually take the band across the Pacific to Japan, said Glabicki.

The band's World Beat sound, said Glabicki, encompasses percussive Afro beats merged with Latino, Turkish, Middle Eastern and Oriental rhythms. The Rusted Root sound, he believes is difficult to pigeonhole.

"I really resist trying to put a label on what we actually do," he admitted. "I don't know if there is an easy term for it. I think what we do is pretty unique.

"I've tried sometimes to put a label on it," laughed Glabicki. "I tried in the early days of the band. I would get a question like that and try to answer it. And then, the minute I say it, I think, 'Oh man, what have I done? That's not what we sound like!'"

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251

IN CONCERT

What: Rusted Root

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., Pittsfield

Tickets: $40

How: (413) 997-4444; BerkshireTheatreGroup.org; in person at box office


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