Montreal band looks to strike chord with Pittsburgh
Sam Roberts is a diehard follower of the Montreal Canadiens, but extends his congratulations to Penguins fans on the team's Stanley Cup victory. The Montreal native just hopes there's some energy left over in Pittsburgh for a very good rock 'n' roll band performing Friday at the 12th annual WYEP Summer Music Festival.
"We'll take all comers in the spirit of the Stanley Cup," Roberts says. "I hope the win still carries forward, and people will be in the mood to celebrate."
OK, it won't be quite like watching Max Talbot befuddle Detroit goalie Chris Osgood, or Marc-Andre Fleury's breathtaking save as time ran out in Game 7. However, the Sam Roberts Band brings no small amount of verve and energy on its new album, "Love at the End of the World." From the '50s guitar flair of the title track to the haunting "Lions of the Kalahari," Roberts and his bandmates seem intent on exploring different aspects of rock music.
There do seem to be hints of Roberts' influences on the record. "Oh Maria" sounds like Marshall Crenshaw by way of Bruce Springsteen, and "Lions of the Kalahari" has the tone of a Brian Eno-Peter Gabriel collaboration.
But similarities to other artists are only incidental.
"All of this pushing and pulling of the music in different directions has to come from a place that you're not necessarily consciously focused on why you're doing it, where it's coming from," Roberts says, "why your musical instincts are taking you in that direction at that given time. I think all of our records have been like that, in some way."
The difference with "Love at the End of the World" stems from where it was recorded. For previous albums, Roberts and his bandmates -- guitarist Dave Nugent, keyboard player Eric Fares, bassist James Hall and drummer Josh Trager -- traveled to distant locales to avoid the inherent distractions of recording at home in Montreal. Notably, the band recorded "Chemical City" at an old church in Byron Bay, Australia.
The birth of Roberts' first child forced the group to stay home to record the current release.
"It ended up becoming a catalyst, creatively, because of that need to re-evaluate the familiar," he says. "You look at it from a different perspective. That's a challenge in and of itself, but I think it was one of the main ingredients in the overall outcome of the record."
While the band previously left home to make albums, Roberts insists Montreal's a remarkable place to be a musician, even though the city's music scene often is overshadowed by those of its Canadian peers in Toronto and Vancouver.
"In Montreal, if you tell people you're a musician, they don't think, 'Oh, another musician,'" Roberts says. "You're just kind of allowed to do it. It doesn't mean you're going to be successful with it at all. But as a choice, it's respected, and that goes a long way to keeping the fires burning when you face those tough times, when things aren't working out."
Being from Montreal hasn't limited Roberts. This year, his band won JUNO Awards (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) for artist and rock album of the year. All that's left is to make inroads stateside. Despite some false starts in the United States, things feel different with "Love at the End of the World."
"Maybe this record has finally struck a chord with people," Roberts says, noting the album's increased airplay. "Maybe it's finally starting to open those doors, one by one. I think it's up to us now, in the live shows, to come down there and cement that relationship, to maintain a presence and basically not take no for an answer."Additional Information:
12th annual WYEP Summer Music Festival
Featuring: The Sam Roberts Band, Dar Willaims, the Duhks, Meeting of Important People
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Schenley Plaza, Oakland
Details: 412-381-9131 or www.wyep.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Flashback Friday for Pitt
- Body found in Allegheny River in Harrison
- Pitt falls flat in finale loss to Miami
- Run game needed for balance vs. Seahawks
- Police: 4 officers injured in Colorado Springs shooting
- Man dies in ATV crash in Beaver County
- In Uganda, Pope Francis pays tribute to nation’s martyrs
- Pitt notebook: Boyd undecided about leaving early for NFL
- Absenteeism high on first day back after Peters Township teacher strike
- Suicide bomber targets crowd of Shiites in Nigeria
- Steelers notebook: Linebacker Timmons hoping for contract extension