Rusted Root opens the 2009 Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Read an interview with Michael Glabicki, center, in this week's Explore Steamboat.

Duane Rieder/Courtesy Photo

Rusted Root opens the 2009 Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Read an interview with Michael Glabicki, center, in this week's Explore Steamboat.

Rock with a spirit

Rusted Root taps into a natural vibe for new record, free concert

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"Dance in the Middle" by Rusted Root

If you go

What: Rusted Root, opening the 2009 Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series

When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Howelsen Hill

Cost: Free

Call: 879-4422

— For almost 20 years, Rusted Root has relied on its fans to develop the records it makes, testing songs on the road to see when people will laugh, cry or dance.

That formula came in handy recently, when Michael Glabicki and the band he leads put out their first studio record since 2002; "Stereo Rodeo" came out this spring. The record draws on audience reactions along with Glabicki and his band's personal tastes to pump out a dance-rock single, a cover of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" and songs with the jammed-out, world groove feel that's defined Rusted Root since the group made its debut in 1990.

A good chunk of that album likely will be on the set list for Rusted Root's appearance Saturday as the opener for the 2009 Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series, Glabicki said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Ski jumpers will soar near the Howelsen Hill concert venue starting at 5:30 p.m., with local acoustic reggae act and 2009 Teen Battle of the Bands winner Knock on Wood playing an opening set at 6 p.m. Rusted Root is expected to go on at about 7 p.m. Admission to the family-friendly show is free; food and drinks, including beer, will be for sale. Concert attendees are not allowed to bring outside alcohol to the event.

Glabicki talked with the Steamboat Pilot & Today about his band's new record, his songwriting technique and his development through the years.

STEAMBOAT PILOT & TODAY: Tell me a little about your new material.

MICHAEL GLABICKI: A lot of the material came from some solo work I was doing, and I had developed a lot of that on solo tours. : I thought I could bring this material to Rusted Root and that would be really exciting, because Rusted Root has always sort of been really aggressive and kind of on the upper tier of the dynamics, so I thought if I brought in this quieter material we would have a different landscape.

SP&T: How do you think Rusted Root has changed or developed in the past 19-plus years?

MG: I think the songwriting has gotten a lot better over the years, and I think the band has brought in more unique ideas over the years. People have gone and done solo work and come back with ideas. I think it's a much more wholesome show right now : it sort of hits you from every angle.

SP&T:What do you mean by that, 'hits you from every angle?'

MG: I think maybe when we started out there was only sort of a spiritual vibe or a ritualistic vibe to it. Now there's more personality brought into it, there's more instrumentation brought into it, there's more unique arrangement brought into it.

SP&T: Explain the spiritual vibe.

MG: I think starting out, I as a songwriter sort of rejected anything that sounded like anybody else. I did that in order to find something that was completely real, and sort of - well, I guess unique.

So what I would do : (I would) almost meditate through the music. I would go into a room and stay there for weeks and wait until something came up. I always perceived it as coming up through the ground and through my body in something that I felt was truly me, or could be truly Rusted Root.

I think in doing that and in taking those ideas and those songs with the band - and doing the same thing with the band and working it until something truly unique showed up through each person - I think we created this natural, spiritual connection through each other, and I think that translated to the audience.

- To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204 or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com.

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