***WE NO LONGER KEEP OUR CALENDAR CURRENT ON SONICBIDS. PLEASE VISIT ROBDUSKEY.COM FOR CURRENT, ACTIVE TOUR CALENDAR, THANKS!***
“[Blank Canvas to Man] recaptures that ever-present rootsy sound of groups like Hootie and The Blowfish and Blues Traveler.”
-Janet Goodman, Music News Nashville
“Cleveland hasn't had a male/female vocalist rock record pairing as enjoyable as this in a long time.”
-Matt Wardlaw, CoolCleveland.com
“[Blank Canvas to Man] is about as authentic as it gets. A collaboration of impeccably tight musicians mixed with spot-on harmonies and lyrical hooks which stick with you for hours brings it all home.”
-Ann Thompson, AfterTheGig.com
“Rob Duskey’s strong voice sounds like a mix of Darius Rucker and John Popper.”
It’s been a life-changing year for Cleveland-based singer-songwriter Rob Duskey, who got his first taste of the “relentless touring” so many up-and-coming bands are quick to trumpet as an accomplishment. Following months of a seven-day-a-week working musician’s grind of everything from club dates to rib cook-offs to solo restaurant busks, Duskey felt compelled to capitalize on the regional success of his February 2012 sophomore release, Blank Canvas to Man, by embarking on his first package tour to parts West. “The reality of 12-hour van rides, day after day, wasn’t exactly what I had conjured up in my head,” Duskey reflects. “But it was an unbelievable blessing to have the chance to expose my life’s work to so many new audiences.”
Produced by Dave Douglas (the former drummer for Relient K), Blank Canvas was painstakingly conceived as a platform to showcase the strengths that have earned Duskey and his long-time backing band, The Rounders, their unwaveringly loyal and unusually diverse fanbase: accessible songwriting, dramatic boy-girl harmonies, and a solid musical foundation of alt-country, Americana, and straight-ahead rock. “From start to finish, the album takes you on a refreshing journey through reality” –Mandey Corsi, WJCU 88.7 FM / neorocks.com.
But Blank Canvas wasn’t purely a homegrown DIY effort: Duskey’s sound caught the ear of Blues Traveler’s John Popper, who kindly lent his trademark harmonica chops to the album’s fourth track, “Palo Alto.” With Popper’s cameo, the “90’s rock” comparisons in the press became almost unavoidable. But that ultimately proved to be a good thing—it helped carve Duskey something of a niche in an “indie” scene bogged down in a bottomless inbox of skinny-jeaned wannabe-Pitchforkers.
Within a week of its debut, a nationwide audience voted Blank Canvas’s jangly “Meet Me in the Middle” runner-up out of hundreds of entries in Ourstage.com’s Alt-Country new music contest. The album also garnered the attention of Cleveland’s news media, earning the band live spots on television (WKYC (NBC)’s “Good Company” and “Live on Lakeside”) and radio (WJCU 88.7 FM’s “NEO Rocks” and V107.3 FM’s “The Inner Sanctum” new music showcases). Several Blank Canvas tracks have also seen regular rotation on two of Cleveland’s AAA/rock FM stations and in multiple college radio markets nationwide.
The self-released Blank Canvas proudly rides the coattails of Duskey’s 2009 debut, Cautiously Optimistic (“A flat out, a good time rock and roll tale of many loves found and many loves lost.” -Matt Wardlaw, CoolCleveland.com).
2012 also saw big changes in the Rounders’ lineup, as singer-songwriter Megan Zurkey, pianist Rob Kovacs (Brooklyn's Return of Simple), and touring guitarist G.S. Harper were added to the mix. “Once I really committed to being a full-time performer, I got to play with so many amazing and diverse musicians,” says Duskey. “The sound I was looking for just came together one night… I knew we had something special.”
In addition to its regular headlining and co-bill situations in the Midwest, the act has opened for a number of nationals in the jamband and Americana/alt-country circuits (Railroad Earth, The Bodeans, The Clarks).
Stu Laven, Jr.
Video ("Meet Me in The Middle"):
Stu Laven, Jr. - Drums
Rob Duskey - Vocals, Guitars (multi)
Brian Hardman - Bass
Mike Paciotti - Banjo, mandolin
G.S. Harper - Guitar
Megan Zurkey - Vocals, Guitar
Rob Kovacs - Piano
Blank Canvas to Man (2012) (self released)
Cautiously Optimistic (2009) (Slanted House)
Album Review: Rob Duskey and The Rounders' "Blank Canvas to Man"
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Blank Canvas to Man is an exceptionally fitting title for Rob Duskey and the Rounders’ brand new alb...Blank Canvas to Man is an exceptionally fitting title for Rob Duskey and the Rounders’ brand new album I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of through Eric, John and mine’s interview with Rob on Monday September 12, 2011 in the WJCU studios. From start to finish, the album takes you on a refreshing journey through reality. Track 2, Meet Me in the Middle, sets the tone of the album with an upbeat story of compromise and a sense of grounding. Rob and the gang surprise us with track 4, Palo Alto, featuring John Popper with an insane harmonica solo about ¾ of the way through the song. I would have to say after listening to the album a couple of times over, Twenty Six, track 9, is probably my favorite (and I agree with Rob when he says he loves the acoustic “whoas” at the end). It brings out a lot of what Rob and the Rounders want to get across on this album and really showcases the passion that was put into making the man from the blank canvas. Rob and the Rounders don’t forget to sneak a couple slower songs in there with track 5, Sunshine, and track 8, Dance For Me.
When we asked Rob how he felt about the album overall, I think he says it best. “When you put your heart and soul into something and it turns out to be good, yeah, you can feel good about it.”
With its impressive blend of instruments in addition to the smooth vocals and lyrics (and of course that killer harmonica), Blank Canvas to Man really comes together to create a sound I haven’t heard many do well since the mid 90s. The more I listen, the more I love it.
Find out more about Rob Duskey and the Rounders at robduskey.com or check them out on Facebook. The album is set to release NATIONALLY February 14, 2012!
Listen to Rob's visit to the WJCU Studio's here: Rob Duskey's Visit to WJCU September 12, 2011
Cleveland's Rob Duskey Makes His Music Available For All To Discover
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You'd think that someone who writes about local music here in Cleveland would know all the players. ...You'd think that someone who writes about local music here in Cleveland would know all the players. After all, it's not like we're New York City. I'm not ashamed to admit that there's plenty of local music I've yet to discover. In fact I find it quite thrilling. So many people are making such good music in my town and that's why I feel the need to let everyone know about it.
Take Rob Duskey And The Rounders as an example. His latest release, "Blank Canvas To Man," sounds like it could easily have been written, performed and produced in Nashville. Instead, he uses the treasure trove of talent we have right here in Cleveland to create a polished and accomplished album. Well, except for the appearance of John Popper (Blues Traveler) who plays harmonica on a tune.
Blues Traveler is a fine comparison to Duskey's music. It carries the same rootsy rhythyms and a voice that is reminsicent of Popper's own. The added highlight is Jodi Dobos's vocals, which help create something that is uniquely their own.
The fact that music's new delivery model is streaming isn't lost on Duskey. He's one of the first musicians I've seen who's embedded the album on the band's Facebook profile which I linked to above. You can also find his 2009 debut, "Cautiously Optimistic" on Spotify.
Rob Duskey and the Rounders at Brothers Lounge
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Compared to everyone from the Doors and Van Morrison to Counting Crows and Rusted Root, local roots-...Compared to everyone from the Doors and Van Morrison to Counting Crows and Rusted Root, local roots-rock act Rob Duskey and the Rounders are looking forward to its sophomore effort, a follow-up to 2009's "Cautiously Optimistic."
"With the first album we were trying to figure out what kind of band we wanted to be, and I was trying to figure out what kind of songs I wanted to write," said Lakewood resident Duskey, a 2001 Avon Lake High School graduate.
"This record, it's nothing but pure honesty. There are people who have come up to me after reading the new lyrics and said, 'How could you say something so honest about yourself?' I just felt like if you didn't have something honest to say then it's probably not that important."
New songs already in the mix include the upbeat love song "Good Gets Better" and the ballad "Sunshine." As far as songwriting is concerned, Duskey has a simple process in mind.
"I basically create a skeleton, and the band fills in the rest," he said. Along with Duskey on guitar and vocals, the band includes Stu Laven Jr. (drums), Jan Bautista (guitar), Brian Hardman (bass), Mike Paciotti (mandolin, guitar) and Jodi Dobos (vocals). "Basically it's coming from a songwriter's standpoint, and we kind of turn them into rock 'n' roll songs focusing on serious and close relationships."
Rob Duskey and the Rounders have a 9:30 p.m. show Friday night at Brothers Lounge, 11609 Detroit Ave., Cleveland. Cover is $5. Call 216-226-2767.
Cautiously Optimistic (Rob Duskey and The Rounders)
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Cautiously Optimistic Rob Duskey & the Rounders Slanted House Somewhere out there, someone is b...Cautiously Optimistic
Rob Duskey & the Rounders
Somewhere out there, someone is breaking someone else's heart. And that is something that we should all secretly be a bit grateful for. Cautiously Optimistic, the new album from Rob Duskey and The Rounders is a shimmering example of at least one positive side effect of the emotional wrecking ball. Without it, I'm not sure that we'd be hearing tracks with names like "Woman Overboard," "Used To It," and "The Negatives." Duskey certainly has come a long way since I first saw him perform at The Winchester's weekly open mic last year -- an evening in which he impressed with a solid performance that immediately registered him on my list of Cleveland locals to keep an eye on.
In that time, Duskey continued to develop his songwriting, formed a band under the name of The Rounders, and secured a record deal in January with the Boston dance-techno label Slanted House – despite being neither "dance" nor "techno."
Cautiously Optimistic is flat out, a good time rock and roll tale of many loves found and many loves lost, played out in eight tracks over 34 minutes. Chris Hanna (Jack Fords, Chris Allen) adds heaping helpings of luscious Hammond organ fills and solos throughout the album that help to fill out the band sound of The Rounders. Stretching out, Hanna and guitarist Jan Bautista trade solos for nearly a minute and a half on "When I Go," providing one of the many highlights of the album. And just when you expect the band to kick back into full gear and another verse from Duskey, the track ends with a serious sneak attack of an ending. Duskey and the Rounders take a similarly economic approach on several other tracks that are very likely expanded in the live setting, but appropriately abbreviated on the album.
Duskey's vocals on Cautiously Optimistic will remind music lovers of Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows, Ben Harper, and even a bit of Rusted Root, thanks to the additional vocals of Jodi Dobos. Cleveland hasn't had a male/female vocalist rock record pairing as enjoyable as this in a long time, since perhaps the much loved alternative rockers The Waynes in the early 90s. Duskey and crew have songs, are ready to travel – and with any amount of justice, the world will become very familiar with Rob Duskey and the Rounders before the end of 2009.
Rob Duskey, Mike Paciotti Opening for Bodeans at House of Blues
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Full Rob Duskey and the Rounders band will perform at The Garage Bar after an acoustic trio comprise...Full Rob Duskey and the Rounders band will perform at The Garage Bar after an acoustic trio comprised of area musicians Rob Duskey, Mike Paciotti and vocalist Jodi Dobos is opening for the Bodeans at the House of Blues Saturday, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m.
"We've been wanting to play at the House of Blues for some time now. We've contacted them in the past, but this time they approached us," Duskey said.
"They wanted an acoustic set. Normally, we're a rock and roll band," he added.
Duskey and Paciotti are members of Rob Duskey and the Rounders. Their full band will be playing at The Garage Bar in Ohio City later the same evening.
"We're basically performing two different shows in one night," Duskey said.
A 2001 Avon Lake High School graduate, Duskey is a songwriter and performer by profession. Paciotti, a 2002 Avon Lake High School graduate, works at Channel 3 as a directing assistant. Brian Hartman, the band's bass player, is a 2000 Avon Lake High School graduate.
Duskey said the set at The Garage Bar will include several songs from the Rounders' new CD, "Blank Canvas to Man."
He said the album also features Grammy Award-winning artist John Popper, who Duskey describes as, "the greatest harmonica player of all time."
Tickets to the House of Blues show are $20 in advance. Phone 216-523-2583 or visit www.houseofblues.com. Admission to The Garage Bar is free. Call 216-696-7772 or go to www.thegaragebar.net.
Cruise-On-In to Paradise at Ohio's Largest Car Show
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The annual walk into the past will be taken by tens of thousands on Saturday, June 18th as Ohio’s la...The annual walk into the past will be taken by tens of thousands on Saturday, June 18th as Ohio’s largest car show will again transform Downtown Massillon, Ohio into a wonderland of nostalgia!
The 22nd Annual Cruise-On-In & Dance Party will feature hundreds of classic and antique cars from throughout Ohio and surrounding states. The juried show will award some forty-nine trophies, including the Progressive Chevrolet-A Chevy Network Dealer “Best of Show.”
As the spectators view the automotive sights, their ears will be treated to the sounds of vintage music from the 60’s to the present, featuring Something Old and Something New: Jimmy Buffett Tribute PARROTS OF THE CARIBBEAN, Indie band ROB DUSKEY AND THE ROUNDERS, and 14-year-old guitar sensation Elliott Didur and his band, RECESS, “America’s Youngest Rock Stars.”
Considered by many the #1 Jimmy Buffett tribute act in the country, the Dayton-based Parrots are led by Jimmy Buffett look-alike and sound-alike Dave Albrecht, and have thrilled audiences from the Midwest to the Caribbean. PARROTS OF THE CARIBBEAN will christen Massillon, Ohio the “Cruise-In in Paradise” on the Eagles #190 Main Stage, Saturday June 18th at 8:30 pm.
The East Stage will also be the site of the first-ever regional appearance of recording artists Rob Duskey and the Rounders. Following their 2009 release “cautiously optimistic” on Boston’s Slanted House label, the Cleveland-based band has been building a sizable following throughout the club scene of Cleveland, drawing comparisons to Rusted Root, Counting Crows and Blues Traveler.
The Cruise-On-In & Dance Party is an annual festival in downtown Massillon, Ohio featuring food, fireworks, entertainment and hundreds of classic and antique vehicles from over five states. Each year an estimated crowd of over 100,000 attend the festival. Admission to the event is free.Entry fee for show cars, trucks or motorcycles is $15.
Partners ESPN 990 and the Downtown Massillon Association (www.downtownmassillon.net) produce the event. The Massillon Area Car Club oversees the car competition. For more information, including entertainment schedules and car registration details, see the cruise website at www.espn990.com or call (330) 837-9900 x. 25.
Thousands Cruise In to Party in Massillon
The Inner Sanctum Playlist 11-08-09
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We had such a great time Sunday as we welcomed back Bill Stone from Paranoid Lovesick who showcased ...We had such a great time Sunday as we welcomed back Bill Stone from Paranoid Lovesick who showcased songs from two new releases ‘Tuxedo Avenue Breakdown’ and ‘Suburban Pop Allegro’. Paranoid Lovesick will be participating in this weekends International Pop Overthrow at the Beachland for a one time only Reunion/Farewell spectacle.
We also got a chance to meet Rob Duskey and the Rounders who dropped by to feature songs from ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ their incredible first effort to be released at the Brothers Lounge on the 19th!
Brothers Lounge Battle Update
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Brothers Lounge’s Battle of the Unsigned Bands has been going strong for the past six weeks. Every T...Brothers Lounge’s Battle of the Unsigned Bands has been going strong for the past six weeks. Every Thursday, three bands compete in front of a panel of three judges; one band wins and advances to the semi-finals. Last night, the first of two semi-finals took place. The three bands competing came from all over the state and included Columbus’ Josh Krajcik Band, Cleveland’s Rob Duskey and the Rounders and Alliance’s Townhouse Suite.
Josh Krajcik kicked things off with a stellar set. The unkempt Krajcik looks like he could use a shave and a shower, but he’s got a great, soulful voice and can play the heck out of a guitar. Clearly influenced by classic rock, he plays with enough passion to overcome the traditional nature of his blues-based material.
Next up, Rob Duskey and his band delivered a solid set that got better the longer the band played. Clearly the audience favorite of the night, Duskey and his Rounders came off as a good jam band, capable of delivering harmony vocals and jingle-jangle melodies that have rightfully drawn comparisons to Rusted Root.
Townhouse Suite played last and cleared the room with a loud, aggressive set. At their best, the guys recalled the refined metal of a band like System of a Down. They occasionally settled for a rote nu-metal sound, but their musicianship was distinguished enough to make them worthy competition for Krajcik and Duskey.
Though it was a close call, Krajcik ended up winning and will return to play the club on May 28 against next week’s winner.
Album Review: "Blank Canvas to Man"
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90s folk rock is back for a spin, thanks to the new release by Cleveland band, Rob Duskey an...
90s folk rock is back for a spin, thanks to the new release by Cleveland band, Rob Duskey and The Rounders. This retro-feel sophomore CD of nine self-penned songs recaptures that ever-present rootsy sound of groups back then like Hootie and The Blowfish and Blues Traveler; BT’s John Popper’s sparkling featured harp performance on “Palo Alto” makes that official.
Jodi Dobos adds resonant, velvety female harmonies to Duskey’s emphatic vocals for a welcome, ear-opening balance, and along with their bright and hopeful melodies, and fine keyboard playing, carry the record throughout. Single “Meet Me in the Middle” is one of the most memorable offerings here, and more surprises like the refreshing, Hammond-laden reggae break on “It Takes Time” could have taken this record to new levels.
Duskey’s lyric style is poetic, and themes often hover around relationship woes. Final track “Twenty Six” may be his finest moment of storytelling, from which he titled this album: “Woke up the other day/And I saw my life slipping away/You see it’s not supposed to be like this/At least not for me at twenty six/And I know life doesn’t go as planned/But I won’t fold when I’m dealt this hand/And now I’ve gone from blank canvas to man/Calling you all in on a rags to riches plan.”
by Janet Goodman
Music News Nashville
July 22, 2012
We play original sets, all family/kid/radio friendly. We can play anywhere from 40 minutes to more than 3 hours with a 80-20 breakdown of original/cover material as venue may request. Act is also available as a coffee house acoustic duo.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.