A smooth and touching collection of folk songs with a classic backing band from the bassist with Chris Isaak and Silvertone, "Killing the Blues" reveals Rowland Salley as a fine songwriter and singer.
"I'd always wanted to record versions of a few of my own songs but there never seemed to be time until we started filming 'The Chris Isaak Show' in Vancouver. Because actors don't generally shoot on weekends, I finally had a chance to go in and make the record," he says. I almost called the record "A Month of Sundays".
Rowland comes from the northern Midwest not far from where the Mississippi River starts to flow. As he puts it, his musical education was formally informal. "There was blues on the radio out of Chicago, jazz and R&B on the stations coming up from down the river, pop and country music everywhere. There was rock and roll in local clubs and on television, and in the movies you could hear everything from bluegrass to big bands. Stephen Foster songs were there as a fixture and a backdrop right from the start," he remembers. "All the people in my family played an instrument. I started out playing the french horn and soon switched to bass, but my musical outlook changed dramatically when I began to make up songs of my own."
Embarking on a career as a bassist who writes songs as well, he has played or recorded with Lucinda Williams, Joan Baez, Ian and Sylvia, Bobbie Gentry, Jim Stafford, John Prine, Shawn Colvin, Maria Muldaur and more. He is recognized today as the long standing bass player with Chris Isaak and Silvertone. Recorded by both John Prine and Shawn Colvin, his "Killing the Blues" is the definitive title track in this collection of twelve original songs.
"It's somewhat of a travelogue from my hometown out into the world of people and places," he says. "Discoveries are made along the way. The value of being able to discern... though not always employed... prevails. Even when things fall apart... love is always on the rise! You might call this roots music or folk...there's even a touch of blues. It's an original combination of traditional elements. The sound comes from growing up along that river, listening to music in the park and hearing it bounce off the red bricks in my hometown. The lyrics come from the people I've met, the places I've been, and the stories I've either heard about or been a part of."
A collection of songs both literal and heartfelt, filled with images and lyrically accessible to everyone, Rowland Salley's first recording, "Killing the Blues", is an effective combination of words and music.