David Roth
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David Roth

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"David Roth: Come Home to Your Heart"

David Roth: Come Home to Your Heart
by Lisa Wersal
In 1979, Norman Cousins wrote a groundbreaking book in which he described how he used laughter to help reduce his pain from a debilitating joint disease. He watched “Candid Camera” classics and old Marx Brothers movies, and found that ten minutes of hearty belly laughing netted him a good two hours of pain-free sleep. Since then, medical researchers have been investigating Cousins’ assertions.

Now it’s 2005, and I’ve got my own little experiment going. Every night before nodding off to sleep, I listen to one of my CDs by singer songwriter David Roth. Why? Because my active intellect likes to have things to “mull over” during the day, and instead of searching for a “problem” to chew on, I’d rather that my mind have ample upbeat melodies and life-affirming messages to replay. Roth provides plenty of uplifting, soul-soothing, and at times rib-tickling songs. Here are but a few excerpts from various songs by David Roth:
“I heard somebody say
There’s nothing wrong with looking at the past
As long as you don’t stare”
(From “Digging through my Closet”)

“Be kind to yourself, be kind to you,
That’s what you’re here on Earth to do.”
(From “Be Kind to Yourself”)

“This is the chance to renew my commitment,
This is the time to be conscious and clear,
This is the moment for living fully,
This is the year, this is the year.”
(From “This is the Year”)

“I’m packing for my ego trip; I’ve got a lifetime membership;
I’m well rehearsed and well-equipped; I’m packing for my ego trip.”
(From “Ego Trip”)

“I won’t say who I voted for,
Or even if ’twas Gush or Bore”
(From“Gush or Bore,” a song commentary on the
2000 election)

“You’ve kept away from yourself from the start,
But you can come home now, come home to your heart.”
(From “Will You Come Home”)


David Roth is best known for his moving stories of hope, compassion, and the resilience of the human spirit; his offbeat perspectives; and his clever word plays and zany humor. A subtle undercurrent of thoughtfulness and understanding pervades his songwriting, and many songs directly address human values and spiritual principles: looking within oneself for guidance and direction; the connectedness of humanity and the Earth; our capacity to grapple with difficulties and challenges, yet maintain our integrity; and how, through grace and commitment to purpose, people can turn struggles into triumphs.

Roth is disarming and reveals so much about his own life experiences through his songs, that as you listen to his music, he begins to feel like an old friend that you’ve known since grade school -- someone with whom you shared secrets, dreams, and private jokes; the person who stood by you, even when you did ridiculous things. A good number of Roth’s songs demonstrate mutual support and a cooperative spirit, whether found among long-time friends, or strangers brought together through circumstance. For example, in the song, “What Can I Do,” Roth sings, “Just in case you were thinking no one cares, someone may prove you wrong….What can I do for you today? How can I help in some small way?”

Moreover, in his song, “Some Kind of Hero,” Roth confides that when he was a child, he just wanted someone to come up and tell him that “everything’s gonna be fine.” What he doesn’t explain, but what nevertheless comes through in his song writing, is that he seems to have taken on that task himself. An outlook of reassurance and trust in the process of life undergirds his music. His songs, taken as whole, provide a “safe harbor” – a calming, restorative space in which to kick back, replenish one’s spirit, laugh, and rejuvenate before launching out again into the adventures, storms, and unpredictable peculiarities and complexities of life. Roth’s music provides a gentle caress to life’s journey, or, to borrow an expression from Dr. Phil, “a soft place to fall.”

Make no mistake; Roth is by no means a “Pollyanna.” In some of his songs, he addresses head-on such distressing and painful issues as homophobia, racially motivated violence, bullying in schools, catastrophic illness, and loss. In each of these situations, Roth compassionately acknowledges people’s struggles and hardships, and highlights the actions of those individuals who have been able to overcome adversity, defy the odds, come to terms with their fears, and speak their truth, offering others the opportunity for healing, reconciliation, and hope.

A master of nuance, Roth balances his more “weighty” or inspirational numbers with selections that are zany, filled with raucous fun, and sprinkled with clever word plays. He’s a gifted storyteller, and his song lyrics are rich with vivid imagery, metaphors, ironic twists, and surprise endings. Once you’ve heard his telling of the day they “threw the book at Zsa Zsa” (because she threw a punch at a police officer), or the time cheese cake ma - The Phoenix, Minneapolis, St. Paul, MN


Discography

1993 Rising in Love
1994 Digging Through My Closet
1995 Nights at the Chez
1996 If You Can't Fly
1996 Another Side of David Roth
1999 Irreconcilable Similarities
2004 Think Twice
2004 Pearl Diver
2006 More Pearls
2008 Practice Makes Progress

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Bio

Born in Chicago to a show-biz family, David grew up in the shadows of Jimmy Durante, Danny Kaye, Mel Torme, the McGuire Sisters, Sophie Tucker, Sinatra, Bennett, Nat King Cole, and has been additionally influenced by Allen Sherman, Steve Goodman, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Simon, John Prine, Randy Newman, Jackson Browne, Cat Stevens, JT, Carole King, the Beatles, Marc Cohn, Bruce Cockburn, and the Paul Winter Consort, Greg Mortenson (author, Three Cups of Tea), the Dali Llama, and Barack Obama to name a few