Welcome to Speak With Your Craft, a (semi-)regular feature that profiles the many creative individuals in my life and my attempt to shed light on what inspires them. I also want to expose readers to crafts, talents, and skills that may be slightly offbeat or unusual. Today's profile: Glenn Roth! Glenn is an unbelievably talented musician, fingerstyle guitarist, and true music lover. While he is Connecticut-based, he travels extensively, touring nationally and internationally. If you've traveled to NYC, you may have actually heard Glenn busking in Grand Central Station and subway tunnels as part of the MTA's Music Under New York program. If you need to be perked up and/or happened to exist, I don't know, during the year that was 2016, I highly recommend listening to Glenn Roth! Check out our interview and some of his tunes below:
When did you first realize that you like to play/create music?
I started to play the guitar at age 7, after seeing Eddie Van Halen on TV. I remember at a young age coming up with chord progressions and song ides in my head. It wasn't until I grew older that these ideas became songs.
What experiences or individuals have influenced your style?
There are a many different experiences that have influenced my music. Number one is listening to all different types and genres of music. In high school, I attended a week long guitar camp and it was a memorable experience where I really started to learn about theory and different guitar techniques. Some of my influences include Tommy Emmanuel, Michael Hedges, Trey Anastasio, and 311!
You’ve traveled quite extensively. Any favorite place? And, how - if at all - did this place or any other regions/places influence your creativity?
I love to travel. My goal is to bring my music all over the world. I love to tour around America and see all the different regions. So far, though, my favorite place to visit was New Zealand.
Describe your process: How do you decide to play the pieces that you perform or create?
My music starts with a certain tuning on the guitar. I like to experiment with open tunings. Each time I change the tuning, it dictates what melodies and rhythms I will create. The process is very improvisational until I come up with solid ideas and the song starts to take form. Some songs take me years to write and other come quickly.
What’s one of your favorite projects - lately or in general? Why?
Currently, I'm putting together my first album of cover tunes. It should be released in early 2017. I'm also in the process of writing for my next original music album. I'm always striving to create great music!
When did you realize that you wanted to be a musician for a living? And, were you at all concerned that you may lose some of your drive or passion for music if you depended on it for financial stability?
Great question. I realized I wanted to be musician when I was a youngster. It wasn't until I graduated college in 2000 that my career started to take form. After taking a few different day jobs, I started to book gigs and was, for the first time, playing my own instrumental music for crowds. It was a great feeling and sparked my drive for pursuing a life of music. The financial side is tricky. It is a constant struggle to keep trucking along. Over the years, I have managed to acquire a smorgasbord of gigs, including restaurants, hospitals, private events, and playing Music Under New York. Music Under New York is a program sponsored by the M.T.A. in New York City. I have a lifetime permit to perform in Grand Central and throughout the subway system. This experience has helped me build my fanbase and shape me as a musician.
That's so cool! I'm sure, without knowing it, people have heard you play! What’s your latest creative project in the works (music or non-music) - either something you’re physically working on, some project or creation you’ve been wanting to tackle, or both? Or, conversely, what would you recommend to other musicians or artists?
I'm always concentrating on my solo career, but also love to play with other musicians. I love to perform with the incomparable Kristen Graves and Shawn Taylor. My recommendations for other artists is to stay true to what your goal is and don't let all the no answers you will receive affect your dream of making music.
What’s the best piece of advice/quote that you’ve received about creating or that’s been the most helpful to you?
Bonus: If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
My super power would be to fly, so I could get to my gigs faster!
Have an idea for Speak With Your Craft? Know some interesting makers, crafters, cooks, bakers, food growers, woodworkers, herbalists, photographers, writers, actors, musicians, painters, fiber artists, and creative forces in your life? I have friends lined up in the near future, but I'm open to suggestions! Leave a comment or contact me: speakwithyourfood [at] gmail [dot] com. Remember, makers or creators need not fit into a neat box to be featured. So, here’s to more creating, crafting, listening, learning, and collaborating!