Chasing The Sun...
Tony Roberts - On the road, Chasing the Sun
The requirement of any sort of adventurous life starts with a sort of innate wanderlust that lies within a soul. Whether it's to travel or sing or write or perform or be called upon to write or surf, it's the spiritual tug of the unknown that molds a more creative, different sort of life.
Singer, songwriter, documentarian, and soul surfer, Tony Roberts, embraces the concept of a creative life. He's never denied the tug of the unknown. "I've always felt a sense of calm when I am traveling from one place to another. I used to read a lot about all the other places in the world I wanted to visit. I went to college out of high school for engineering and dropped out because it bored the hell out of me." Tony confesses. "I really wanted to be a novelist or a poet. Words were what really made me happy."
Tony channeled that early hunger for words by writing short stories, poems and lyrics , "But I always had melodies in mind too." he says and at twenty-five, Tony had learned to play guitar and piano enough to be able to let other musicians know what chords and melodies he was hearing. "Over a few years I made the decision to really pursue music," he recalls and then laughs. "And somehow I got into Berklee College of Music in Boston!" It was there the exposure to music and musicians from all over the world raised his songwriting and arranging skills and helped him put various bands together and learn the value of connections in the world of music.
Eventually, Tony's musical wanderlust drove him to Key West and placed him in the island's unique enclave of musical talent. "Key West can be a strange place because there are so many opportunities to play and it got to where I was playing so many gigs but had stopped writing completely. When I got home I didn't even take my guitar out of the case." he says. A year long dry spell ensued. "You look at the high cost of living in Key West ,and you end up taking as many gigs as you can get just to pay the bills, along with lifestyle that can be one long party that starts taking a toll on your body and mind then throw in a bad relationship or two and the road really starts calling."
Tony called on another skill to finance his road trips. An aspiring surfer, Tony had learned to shoot video when he created his Welcome to Today DVD, a surf film that combines music with footage he filmed in Barbados. "I started taking video gigs where I was doing music videos for other musician friends of mine. So I did videos for Michael Bergeman in New Orleans, Chris Weaver in Nashville and Martin Harley in Northern California. I saw all these friends of mine touring, playing music and pushing themselves to bigger and better things." Tony remembers. "It got me thinking that it was time for me to start doing that too."
"I saved up as much money as I could and I hit the road to seek out old friends, family, and anyone with a story to tell or a song to sing, to visit and talk with and laugh and play music with. The first road trip ended up being sixty days just wandering around the southern part of the US and then up and down the east coast. And the songwriting flood gates burst open." says Tony. Over the next year or two, Tony would play countless gigs in Key West to make enough money to hit the road to anywhere that might feed my soul in a different way; to the Southwest or New Orleans or California or Boston or Barbados and all the detours in between.
"The result was this hodge podge of emotions and sounds and changing backdrops with a lot of reflections about life and death and relationships and what music and art really mean to me." Tony explains. "And to me, that's what Chasing the Sun is all about."
"I had originally envisioned going from town to town and recording the songs I wrote with musicians from those places. But without the finances that idea wasn't very possible." says Tony. "I recorded most of the basic ideas and demos in my apartment in Key West and then went to Boston to record basics and overdubs with members of my old band that I have played music with for the past twenty years. I approached Ian Shaw about helping me finish the tracks I had started and putting together a band to record the rest of the songs at the Ramble Room Studios in Key West. We pulled together a great band and then Ian took all the tracks I had recorded at my apartment and in Boston and at The Ramble Room and did his magic. He got all the different tracks and vibes to somehow have a bit of continuity so it wasn't completely random sounding and erratic. He did an amazing job of taking these tracks and really letting my voice and acoustic guitar be the core so that even with all the different styles and feels, there is never a doubt that this is my album."
Tony likens the creation of music to the captivating pull of the ocean. "There is something very Zen about being in the water." he says. It's all about being in the moment and being conscious of your surroundings and reading the waves and it is so frustrating at times but when you have those magic moments where everything clicks it is so rewarding and inspiring." Tony sits back and pauses. "In a lot of ways, I think of being on a wave as being similar to being on the road with no real destination in mind or being on a stage playing. You have those moments of pure bliss when you disappear in the moment while traveling or performing that become an addiction."
Tony breaks into a huge, beautiful smile. "It keeps me wanting to keep going. It keeps me chasing the sun day after day."
Chasing the Sun will be released September 20, 2016 on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and most online retailers. Presales start on iTunes September 01, 2016 and will be discounted. Tony plans CD release events in Key West as well as around the nation.