It’s an album of electric slide guitar and dobro married to strings and rhythm loops that conjure up an atmosphere that’s palpable. I’ve got another opportunity to sing his praises when he plays live on Ghost Trails & Ambient Americana, an Echoes Soundscape for July 4th.
(You can also hear an audio version of this blog, with music)
Back in February, we gathered in an expansive Hollywood Hills home with floor to 18 foot ceiling windows, an ornate fireplace and massive crystal chandelier. Mixed in with construction equipment and sawdust amidst a renovation project was a clutter of amplifiers, guitars, dobro, drums, a string quartet, a French horn player and vibraphone. It’s the home of Tom Rothrock. He’s the one with the dobro. It looks like an acoustic guitar except instead of a soundhole there is an ornate, acoustically driven, metal speaker.
Tom Rothrock: Hear that. That’s the 1930s, this is the technology we’re talking about. (Squeeky tuning pegs) These guitars were made in the big band era for soloists and they had a speaker to make them cut through and they traded the tone of a nice instrument for the projection of a metal speaker…
On an album called Resonator, Tom Rothrock projects his dobro into an Americana Electronica. Rothrock is usually found behind the boards as a producer. He cut James Blunt‘s multimillion selling CD, Back to Bedlam and its worldwide number one hit single, “You’re Beautiful.” Before that, all he did was produce Elliott Smith and discover Beck and produce his debut, Mellow Gold. It’s the sound of “Loser,” that planted the seed of Tom Rothrock’s CD, Resonator.
That slide guitar on “Loser?” that was Rothrock.
Tom Rothrock: ….that is a guitar that Beck had back then. It’s a Japanese kind of what we, maybe someone of the 60s someone would call a beach guitar or something . . . and that was the first time we had recorded a slide lick, I think that really, so that really sort of started it for me.
Resonator is an album raunchy slide guitar, elegant strings, bristling textures and driving rhythms that could be the soundtrack for Bladerunner in the west. Tom Rothrock continues to produce, releasing an album by Roman Carter on his own Bongload record label and producing the latest James Blunt album, All the Lost Souls. You can hear Rothrock’s Electronica Americana on the album, Resonator. Right now, it’s only available online from iTunes.
Tune in to Echoes on July 4th and you can hear that group gathered in Tom Rothrock’s living room when they play their only live performance ever on Ghost Trails and Ambient Americana, a July Fourth Soundscape from Echoes. This has been an Echo Location, soundings for new music.
And once again, you can also hear an Audio version of this blog, with music.