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Rocky Votolato Coming to Legends

Observer Scene | Friday, February 1, 2008

Rocky Votolato slows things down on the Legends concert slate this weekend with his unique combination of folk and country. Votolato takes the stage at 10 p.m. Saturday as the first half of a twin bill with piano band “Jukebox the Ghost” set to follow him.

With song titles like “Postcard from Kentucky,” “Tennessee Train Tracks,” and “White Daisy Passing” and lyrics like “Please slow it down / There’s a secret magic past world / That you only notice when you’re looking back at it / And all I wanna do is turn around,” Votolato’s soulful voice conjures images of open roads and American countryside and brings to mind John Denver.

Based on his earlier work, Votolato hasn’t always been so mellow. According to his website, rockyvotolato.com, he grew up in the town of Frost, Texas (pop. 647) before moving to Seattle, Wash. Despite listing Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Johnny Cash as his musical inspirations, Votolato went on to form a punk band named Waxwing with his brother Cody. With albums like 2003’s “Suicide Medicine,” Waxwing presented a more volatile Votolato.

Since taking a departure from his roots, Votolato’s more recent work better represents his music as a product of his environment. After striking out on his own as an artist, it may have been a rocky road for Rocky, but his more recent offerings, 2006’s “Makers” and his latest album, “The Brag and Cuss,” represent a calm and maturation that comes with age. Now 29, Votolato wrote much of “The Brag and Cuss” while on the road touring to promote “Makers,” away from his two children.

Rocky Votolato’s Legends concert looks to be one of his last performances in the country for a while. His myspace page lists a slew of concerts scattered throughout Germany and other parts of Europe. His concert at Legends will likely be the last chance to take in an earful of his distinct brand of Americana before he takes his act abroad.

Contact Tae Andrews at tandrew1@nd.edu