NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

March 7, 2013

Firm Roots

Jam band brings 20th anniversary tour to Blue Ocean next week

By Jim Sullivan
Correspondent

---- — With more than 3 million albums sold worldwide and a recent release, the jam band Rusted Root is ready to celebrate — and they are doing so on a 20th anniversary tour that’s stopping into Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury Beach next Thursday.

“We are excited to play at the Blue Ocean,” singer, bass player and percussionist Patrick Norman said. “We have been touring the country all year, and it’s been awhile since we’ve been in Massachusetts.”

Known around the world for their hit single, “Send Me On My Way,” which has been featured in a number of popular movies such as “Matilda” and “Ice Age,” the Pittsburgh-born band is now promoting the release of their seventh studio album “The Movement.”

“The new songs are exciting to play and the crowds are really enjoying them,” Norman said. “‘Monkey Pants’ seems to be a new favorite for a lot of fans. I really love playing the title track, ‘The Movement,’ and ‘Fossil Man’ is so delicate and beautiful, it’s a great contrast to ‘Fortunate Freaks’ which is such a rocking tune.”

Legendary for their live performances that fuse bluegrass, rock and percussion drawn from African, Latin America, Native American and Middle Eastern influences, this year’s tour features all original members, Norman, Michael Glabicki on lead vocals and guitar, Liz Berlin on vocals and percussion, Colter Harper on guitar, Preach Freedom on percussion and Dirk Miller on guitar.

Keeping any group of people together for 20 years can be a challenge, let alone a rock group. Norman said that a mix of touring and recording is what keeps the pot stirring as the band moves into their third decade.

“I think that keeping a band together is really about keeping the music fresh,” Norman said. “We have been a touring band for 20 years and through that time, like any relationship, there are peaks and valleys. I think the trick is, when you’re in a difficult period, that’s the time to open up, creatively, and focus on the music and sometimes that means taking a pause to reflect and let new ideas in.”

“When you’re on the road, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and miss what’s going on around you,” he added. “A healthy balance of studio time versus touring is essential. The studio is where we can recharge.”

During their 20 years together, the band has toured from one end of the world to another along with such acts as Toad the Wet Sprocket, Santana, The Grateful Dead, the Dave Matthews Band and the Allman Brothers Band. They also played the HORDE Festival and opened for the Jimmy Page/Robert Plant reunion tour.

“Talk about a mind-blowing experience,” Norman said of the reunion tour. “To be able to share the stage with two of rock’s greatest icons was one of the most exciting and humbling experiences I’ve ever had.”

Opening for Rusted Root at the Blue Ocean will be alternative rocker, Joel Plaskett, formerly of the band, Thrush Hermit. The Canadian Plaskett is also supporting a new release, “Scrappy Happiness,” which is described as “a return to the simpler AM radio era” with no studio sweetening or effects.

IF YOU GO What: Rusted Root When: Thursday, March 14, 8 p.m. Where: Blue Ocean Music Hall, 4 Oceanfront North, Salisbury How: $20-$29. Tickets can be purchased by calling 978-462-5888, online at www.BlueOceanHall.com or at the box office, 4 Oceanfront North.