Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root with Dirk Miller
The music scene on Pittsburgh’s South Side in the 1990’s included a house band that played a weekly gig at Jack’s Back Room. The front man was singer/songwriter Michael Glabicki and the band was called Rusted Root. The multi-platinum band, which had its first platinum album in 1994 with When I Woke, evolved around Glabicki’s distinct sound and grew into a genre-defying band of multicultural rock and soul that built its career around dramatic live performances.
Now, Glabicki is exploring new sounds and opening new doors with a solo career. He has started touring with Dirk Miller, Rusted Root’s guitar player and explains that although he has his roots with Rusted Root, this show is very different. Live, both Glabicki and Miller play acoustic and electric guitar and Glabicki often adds rhythm with a kick drum that creates a fuller sound than you find with a traditional duo. Glabicki sees his solo career and new music as extensions of his creative talent, and while the show features many Rusted Root hits, it also provides a look into his mind through stories and songs that have not yet been released.
The evolution of the separate tour comes, in part, from audience reaction to his music. As a songwriter, Glabicki has invited the audience to participate in the creation of Rusted Root’s music and frequently tests new songs on the road to get audience reaction. He is always creating and found that some of his songs meshed more with his solo sound. He explained what a song tells him.
“A song is an organism that has a history and has different meanings to many different people,” he said. “Those people attach themselves to the organism and because of that, it’s a ritual, a way to jointly go places.”
Glabicki plans his solo tours around the Rusted Root schedule and when he is not touring with the band or with Miller, he has started a studio, Red Cloud, in Pittsburgh. It began as a place for him to write and record new songs and has grown into a full-scale studio where local musicians can rent space to work on their own albums.
In an interview with the online magazine Relix in January 2018, Glabicki talked about what the duo means to him and about some of his new work. “The duo is a great avenue that I have around new songs for and I am deciding whether they need a new band around them or if they work with Rusted Root,” he said. The song ‘Man not Machine’; is a song about the collective cellular dance that has been happening at my shows for the last few years. Something new and exciting has been happening, so I wanted to write a song about it and breathe some life into it-like a funky steroid.”