Rocky Votolato on Coffeehouse

Rocky Votolato recently released his seventh solo album, his first self-produced, and it’s awesome to see how he has grown as an artist since he came into the scene. In the mid 1990s, he was involved in two separate punk bands. Today, his music is distinctly folk – the kind of music you’d like to lounge around to on a rainy afternoon.

Which, really, was perfect. It was a rainy Boston afternoon, and Votolato concentrated on tuning up his guitar. His harmonica, which he later used while performing “Above the Water”, sat untouched on a stool beside him. He launched into “Little Spring”, his vocals wavering just above his guitar, and performed the pretty song with a quick beat.

Television of Saints, which was released earlier this year, was funded by a group of his 712 most loyal fans, who donated money on Kickstarter. At each level of donation, Votolato offered a prize. At $45, the donor would get a screen printed tee-shirt. At $500, the donor would get the chance to have a meal with the artist. At $1,500, donor would play at donator’s wedding. It was no wonder, with the fun and friendly relationship between the artist and his fans, that he was able to raise a total of $38,000 – twice the amount of the original goal – to produce and release the album.

When asked about how this influenced the album, he responded that he was nearly finished with it before he even started raising the money. The music and the funding were totally separate, he told me. As they should be, really. He continued by saying that he would expect that his fans would want him to produce an album that was as original and wonderful as his previous ones. For that reason, he tried his best to keep the music in his head and away from outside influences.

In comparison to his older albums, this one feels a bit more mellow and a bit more personal. Votolato says that he finds Television of Saints to be most similar to Makers, if any of his previous albums, and I must say that I agree. Along with “Little Spring”, Votolato crooned “Ghost Writer” and “Above the Water”, and as he sang, I truly began to appreciate the amount of talent he possessed. The songs contain a melodic kind of rough sweetness that makes each song interesting and soothing.

Votolato recently performed at T.T. the Bear’s Place, just another one of his stops during his US tour. Recently getting back from a European tour, he’s looking forward to taking a month off mid-summer before he tries to figure out what his schedule is going to be like in the fall. Stay tuned though, because if you missed him on the 22nd, hopefully you’ll get a chance to see him soon!

By Kali Rohrbaugh

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