Michael Glabicki has spent over two decades bridging generational and cultural gaps with Pittsburgh‚??s Rusted Root, a fusion of rock and world music that has sold millions of albums worldwide. The guitarist and vocalist just isn‚??t willing to stop there.
Fresh off a tour in support of the band‚??s latest record, ‚??The Movement,‚?Ě Glabicki is preparing for a mini solo tour that includes a stop on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at the River Street Jazz Cafe (667 N. River St., Plains). Mike Mizwinski and bassist Dylan Skursky of Cabinet will also be playing the show, and in 2011, the trio teamed up on that same stage for a few songs.
Curious if this impromptu jam session would occur again, we contacted Glabicki to ask him about it and his prolific career as both Rusted Root‚??s frontman and a solo artist.
THE WEEKENDER: How has your music and songwriting developed or evolved over the last two decades?
MICHAEL GLABICKI: I think it‚??s gotten a little bit more personal and a little deeper, more introspective. At the same time, I‚??ve gotten better at springing into those community-type explosions and bringing it back to a more intimate space again. I think it‚??s a little bit more versatile. I think it‚??s more fun because you can really take the crowd in different places with that ability.
W: How has the band been able to last for over 22 years? Is there a secret or a key to that success?
MG: I think it‚??s just wanting to break new ground and have it be a personal task for everybody, that we can continually find new things and find out new things about ourselves. And also the willingness to be vulnerable with each other and not be afraid. I think that‚??s a necessary component to it all.
W: Do you have a particular piece of work that you hold up as your best or as what you‚??re most proud of?
MG: I think our latest record is our best work so far, I think in the sense that everything came together on it, from the songwriting to the arrangements to the vocals to the instrumentation to the production to making sure that every song was exactly what we wanted it to be. We weren‚??t pressured. We didn‚??t rush it. When it was done, it was done.
W: What is the difference between your work with Rusted Root and your solo work?
MG: It‚??s different. It‚??s very different. I‚??m not sure how to describe it. I think Rusted Rot has multiple layers to it, and when you go into it, you‚??re kind of assuming that it‚??s going to be that, and with the solo, I‚??m able to take individual sounds and make them bigger in the music and with that, have more control over it. To me, it‚??s a bit more personally expressive to be able to do that, and also I make sure that the vocal and the guitar is sort of the centerpiece of it all.
W: Do you plan on releasing any of that on a record?
MG: I am working on a record. I think I‚??ll be playing nine new songs during the set, and we‚??re going to be developing that and then going into the studio in May. At that point, I‚??ll probably have six more songs to work out.
W: What inspires you to write a song, and do you find yourself inspired now by the same things you did when you first started writing music?
MG: Well, yeah. I think kind of trying to step back and just view where humanity is at is something that I‚??ve had an ability to kind of put to music and reach people on that sort of overview perspective of humanity and society and our culture. But then also my relationship with my long-term girlfriend ‚?? there‚??s a lot of that in there. There‚??s a lot of real personal stuff. Some of it‚??s my thoughts that I might be having as I‚??m falling asleep, or other times, I don‚??t know I‚??m talking about, so it‚??s more revealed through the music. So there‚??s a lot of that going on, too, which I‚??m kind of getting back to.
W: You played with MiZ and Dylan from Cabinet in 2011 at the Jazz Cafe. How did that come about? How did you guys originally meet?
MG: It was originally set up through the venue, but just hanging out with those guys backstage and throwing some stuff together, it worked really well. It‚??s always good to see those guys.
It‚??s one of those venues that I always look forward to going back to because it‚??s a musical crowd, and people are just open to that improvisational vibe and to that experimentation. Beyond that, there‚??s just really good music, and that‚??s what they‚??re there for.
W: Do you plan on jamming with those guys again this time?
MG: I would guess so. Yeah, I would think so, but I‚??m not really sure. It‚??s one of those things where we just get there and see what happens.
Michael Glabicki, MiZ, and Dylan Skursky of Cabinet: Jan. 16, doors 8 p.m., show 10 p.m., River Street Jazz Cafe (667 N. River St., Plains). $8.