Rowland Salley
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Rowland Salley

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


""Killing the Blues" Top 10 Song of 2005"

Joel Selvin

Sunday, December 25, 2005

HIGH: Stadium rock is back At SBC Park, both Green Day and the Rolling Stones delivered high-impact rock shows for stadiums full of fans. Flashy technology helped, but Mick Jagger and Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong each treated the cavernous arena as if he were working in his living room. Spectacle is the way to go, but the attention to detail is what made the stadium rock.

LOW: The summer concert season The same names trudged once again through the amphitheaters, which are looking a little crusty around the edges themselves. The whole experience has been devalued and the cultural boat that sailed in with the '80s to build these huge piles of earth in the first place seems to have headed back out to sea. The exceptions: the boutique Greek Theater at UC Berkeley was built more than 100 years ago and Shoreline already looks older.

TOP 10

Los Lonely Boys "Crazy Dream" (from the album "Live at the Fillmore").

Sonny Landreth "Broken Hearted Road" (from "Grant Street").

Solomon Burke "I Need Your Love in My Life" (from "Make Do With What You Got").

Delbert McClinton "One of the Fortunate Few" (from "Cost of Living").

Rowland Salley "Killing the Blues" (from "Killing the Blues").

John Prine "Crazy as a Loon" (from "Fair & Square").

Robert Plant "The Mighty Rearranger" (from "The Mighty Rearranger").

Sinead O'Connor "Throw Down Your Arms" (from "Throw Down Your Arms").

Paul Anka "Jump" (from "Rock Swings").

Chris Michie "Cherry Blossoms" (from "Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" soundtrack).

E-mail Senior Pop Critic Joel Selvin at
- San Francisco Chronicle


2003 Album: "Killing the Blues"


Feeling a bit camera shy


Rowland Salley grew up in the Mississippi River Valley area in the State of Illinois. He was introduced to the piano and to music in general by his grandmother. At the age of ten he was playing the French horn and within a few years had switched to bass. Radio broadcasts from Chicago and other Midwestern stations allowed him to hear music ranging from Steven Foster to country, blues and rock and roll, all styles that have found their way into his musical foundation. By the age of sixteen he had taken an interest in simple direct songs and began to write some of his own, an interest which has held forth to the present.

His "Killing the Blues" was recorded by John Prine on his "Pink Cadillac" album and also by Shawn Colvin on her "Cover Girl" album. "Killing the Blues" was also voted by Joel Selvin of the San Francisco Chronicle as one of 2005's Top Ten Songs.

His career as a musician includes Maria Muldaur, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Shawn Colvin, Ian and Sylvia, Bobbie Gentry, Joan Baez and many others.

Today Rowland is recognized as the long standing bassist with "Chris Isaak and Silvertone". That group shot their Showtime television series "The Chris Isaak Show" for three consecutive seasons in Vancouver, British Columbia. In this environment "off the road", Rowland recorded a dozen original songs on a new record called "Killing the Blues". In addition to singing, he plays bass, guitar, and ukulele on this collection of songs with a classic backing band.

In addition to being a musician, Rowland has drawn and painted all his life. He takes his easel with him when the band is on the road and goes where ever he can to paint as often as he can. "It's like crop rotation when I finally get the chance to paint. There's often plenty to do musically and there always comes a time when it is time to balance one with the other" he says. "Watercolor is the perfect medium for traveling because it dries fast and it's portable."