“Hazard’s new music establishes him as a poetic, sometimes autobiographical songwriter and a soulful singer. His music still rocks at times, but his blues and country influences are more obvious.” – Newark Star-Ledger
The dark Americana vibe of Robert Hazard’s Troubadour may come as a surprise to those who know him as the hit songwriter of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” (which, by the way, was written in fifteen minutes, in a bathtub - on an acoustic guitar,) but those who value first-rate musicianship, insightful songwriting and straight-from-the-heart singing will greet the album like an old friend.
The Philadelphia-born Hazard’s love and knowledge of folk, blues and other American roots styles shines through on his Rykodisc debut, an album that breathes the life of a man who has lived; filled with rich characters and poetic storytelling, inspired by the rustic beauty of his adopted home in the Adirondack Mountains.
The album features drummer Steve Holley (McCartney’s Wings, Joe Cocker, Dar Williams, Elton John) and multi-instrumentalist T-Bone Wolk (Carly Simon, SNL Band, Hall & Oates). Hazard enlisted the team of Pete Heitzman & Karen Savoca (Greg Brown) to helm the production efforts that give the album a classic folk sound with an urgent presence.
“Nobody But the Night” resonates with chiming electric guitar, a driving rhythm and Hazard’s emotional vocal, finely balanced between anguish and hope. “It’s about being alone and knowing you’ve got to be yourself, no matter what,” Hazard says. “Everybody’s been in that place at least once in their life.”
The Cajun stomp of “A Whole Lot of Water” is the tale of an island boy who moves to the big city. T-Bone Wolk contributes Celtic accordion fills giving the song an international flavor. “Blood On My Hands,” one of the album’s most dramatic tracks, is built around Hazard’s larger-than-life acoustic guitar. It’s the song a condemned murderer sings on the night before he dies, trying to come to terms with what he’s done. Hazard sings with a weary resignation that captures the apprehension of the condemned man. “Troubadour” is a tribute to the singers who inspired Hazard’s musical journey. The song salutes Eric Andersen, whom Hazard considers the ultimate troubadour -- and Andersen surfaces here to contribute harmony vocals and harmonica fills. “Somebody Else’s Dream” is an upbeat blues sprinkled with surreal images of a world gone mad.
Two love songs, “I Still Believe In You” and “To Be With You,” give the album its heart. The former is a slow, sexy tango, a celebration of the ups and downs of a long-term relationship, while the latter blazes with the heat of first love.
Hazard recalls, “My older sister Gloria turned me on to Elvis, Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins and other hillbilly cats. The music just knocked me out. At 10, I was playing guitar ‘cause I thought it was cool, but I got sidetracked by writing songs.”
“Rockabilly led me to folk, blues and what we call roots music today. I was playing in coffee houses and writing songs in high school, hanging out in folk clubs and soaking up gigs by Jimmy Webb, Eric Andersen and Jackson Browne. (The fact that Eric Andersen played on the title track is a real thrill.) A guy named Jerry Ricks gave me guitar lessons and taught me about the delta blues and Robert Johnson.”
Back when the new wave era hit, Hazard formed Robert Hazard and The Heroes. Having gained a huge following in his hometown of Philadelphia, RCA reissued their self-released EP resulting in MTV hits and tours opening for heavyweights U2 and Bob Dylan.
“The royalties from ‘Girls’ allowed me to survive. In the ‘90s I had a band called The Hombres, but we never recorded.” In 1998 Hazard cut Howl, the project that began to tap into his singer/songwriter soul. He started writing with a newfound conviction and the stories began to just pour out. “I woke up and started writing, going back to the folk and blues that originally inspired me. I decided to go back to what I love to do: me with an acoustic guitar.” In 2004 Hazard hooked up with T-Bone Wolk for his first singer/songwriter album, The Seventh Lake. Later in 2004 he cut Blue Mountain. “I made that for about $1.98,” Hazard jokes. “Everything was one take. The songs were written, I laid ‘em down and it was done.”
With Troubadour, Robert Hazard’s adventurous musical journey comes full circle --back to his original inspirations. “Songwriting is an emotional process. Getting to the place where the words and music came pouring out honestly is what I call success.”
solo acoustic, acoustic duo, acoustic trio, 4-piece electric (no keyboards), 5-piece (with keyboards)
Robert Hazard - rhythm guitar
Larry Broido - lead guitar, mandolin
Todd Erk - upright bass
Fred DiTomasso - electric bass
Ken Bernard - drums and percussion
Michael Vernaccio - keyboards
Troubadour (Rykodisc) - Street date: Oct. 9, 2007
The Seventh Lake (Bad Dog) - 2004
Blue Mountain (Bad Dog) - 2004
Howl (Heroic Music) - 1998
Darling (RHA) - 1986
Wing of Fire (RCA) - 1984
Robert Hazard and the Heroes (RCA) - 1982 (EP)
Everybody's Talkin' about
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"He has grown into his own skin with songwriting more personal and singing more natural than ever be..."He has grown into his own skin with songwriting more personal and singing more natural than ever before. ... Robert Hazard has found a new powerful voice in the songs and performances on these two new albums."
- Sing Out!
“At times, he sounds like Scarecrow-era Mellencamp, tapping a wide range of folk and roots styles to spin his yarns.”
– Philadelphia Inquirer
“The Seventh Lake is a perfectly paced, perfectly pitched tour of Americana.”
– Allentown Morning Call
“Reflective charmers like ‘Everybody’s Talkin’,’ ‘Route 666’ and ‘Whole Lot of Water’ make a case that he’s doing some of his best work.”
– Wilmington News Journal
“Hazard’s new music establishes him as a poetic, sometimes autobiographical songwriter and a soulful singer. His music still rocks at times, but his blues and country influences are more obvious.”
– Newark Star-Ledger
“A convincingly gritty acoustic singer/strummer.”
– Philadelphia Daily News
“(The Seventh Lake) is full of literate, moving roots rock.”
– Asbury Park Press
“Hazard draws comparisons to Springsteen in an acoustic setting, a stripped-down John Hiatt or a roots rocker like Jay Farrar of Son Volt. … A sensitive lyricist with a gift for affecting vocals in a stripped-down setting.”
– Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
“He sounds like a less political but no less edgy Steve Earle.”
“The songs evoke … Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. The Seventh Lake ... broaches similar subject matter, too, addressing ordinary people with broken hearts and broken lives.”
– Princeton Packet
“Robert Hazard has loads of fun.”
– Syracuse Post-Standard
– Philadelphia City Paper
“(Robert Hazard is) responsible for some of the most heartfelt, inspired, acoustic-tinged music you'll find out there. … The Seventh Lake is full of the gritty, roots-rock that's been time tested by people like Springsteen and Mellencamp.”
“The Seventh Lake is a collection of 11 tunes that are so emotionally charged, they may send a chill up your spine.”
– Advance Newspapers
“Robert Hazard … put on the sleeper hit of the night (at Bridgeton Folk Festival), with a set of songs reminiscent of Bob Dylan or Tom Petty.”
– Bridgeton News
“The Seventh Lake showcases his numerous abilities as a folk and roots rock songwriter, as well as his versatility as a musician.”
– Citizen’s Voice
Robert Hazard signs with Rykodisc!
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The big news just became official. I've signed a major new record deal with Rykodisc, an eclectic an...The big news just became official. I've signed a major new record deal with Rykodisc, an eclectic and innovative label that embraces my music and artistic philosophy. I've been looking for a home for my new sound for a while and I've found it with the great people I've met at the Ryko offices up in New York City. Yes, I've been very busy - writing songs, talking to producers, and going over all the details of the contract and preparing for the recording sessions ahead. This record has been a long time coming. But it will be worth the wait. Now, with Ryko's support, I can make stronger records. And the best part is that my music will be played on radio stations and be distributed in stores and on the internet all over the country and for that matter, all over the world. I am trying to tell you all this in a cool, unaffected way, but there's a guy in my skin jumpin' up and down with a tasseled lamp shade on his head! I feel great.
I couldn't have done this without the people who have constantly supported me in this endeavor. This endeavor to make music and sing songs in the places people gather to listen and share and go home with something to keep. My new friend, Gary Jay, came down from New York to the Tin Angel in Philly when me and the band played there in January, 2006. It was a full house that night and Gary saw a good show, which led to my new relationship with Rykodisc. If you were there you probably remember the night. You were the heart of it. You made it happen. I can't thank you all enough for being there, at all the shows, the big ones and the small ones, the palaces and the dives. They've all been magical to me and always will be.
Stay tuned to this site, the Robert Hazard website (www.roberthazard.com) and my MySpace page (www.myspace.com/roberthazardmusic) for more information and continue to leave me messages. I really appreciate your input, and I listen to whatever you have to say. We will also be giving the websites an update soon.
See you on the road.
Live Review @ Godfrey Daniels - Bethlehem, PA
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Eight days ago, Godfrey Daniels became Robert Hazard country. Joined by an acoustic trio, and suppo...Eight days ago, Godfrey Daniels became Robert Hazard country.
Joined by an acoustic trio, and supported by his wife and their two sons, the Philadelphia native
turned the Bethlehem coffeehouse into a calm, cruel, captivating crossroads.
Hazard concentrated on songs from his 2004 records, ''The Seventh Lake'' and ''Blue Mountain,''
both tuneful, finely tuned examples of Americana. ''Shanty Town'' was a perfectly lazy, alert tour
of a poor but rich place, where ''the landlord needs his money but all the stars are free.'' ''Open
My Heart'' was a tender invitation to start a love affair, with a melody as sweet as Tupelo honey.
''Route 666'' was a roaring, tingling twist on the hellhounds of blues fame, with the narrator
spinning his wheels in the mud of the devil's highway.
The performances were engagingly relaxed and appealingly tense. Hazard's singing was lowslung,
keen, knowing. Drummer Kenny Bernard, a member of Hazard's '80s band, the Heroes,
played a catchy high-water backbeat.
Guitarist Larry Broido elasticized arrangements with liquid fills and lyrical leads. All the planets
aligned in the railway rockabilly tune ''Everybody's Talkin','' which had the prison-break fever of
Hazard encored with ''Escalator of Life,'' his early '80s new-wave trip through a hellish mall of
consumer greed. ''Rearranged to fit old people,'' it came off as a winning combination of
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Roy Orbison and cowboy opera.
- Geoff Gehman
There are no upcoming dates at this time.