Robert J.

Robert J.

BandAmericanaBlues

"A Beautiful Blur' is a marvelous thing to behold, a testament to a man who won't let anything steal his lust for life." "The Revenge of the Rowdy Prairie Dogs"...... "turn it on and don't worry about a thing for the rest of the hour."

Biography

Robert J. Conaway grew up literally "riding the rails," following the career of his father, an executive with the Canadian National Railroad. He didn't live in all the cities but experienced life in a few.....like Duluth, Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago, Buffalo, Vancouver, Toronto, and Detroit. During college, he worked as a "gandy dancer" on the railroad while finishing up his education at night school, and on the weekends he played in bands. When Robert graduated, he quit his railroad job, jumped in the "band van" and migrated to Colorado with a band called Happy Trails, living the spirit of a wanderer.

Like the mighty Mississippi River, Robert J.'s music flows from the many different genres that pepper the river's banks. From the spiritual origins of blues music, to its successor rock and roll, Robert J.'s music encompasses elements of blues, rock, R&B/soul, and heartfelt, floor-stomping country. Such a mix of genres gives his music its own unique flavor and has allowed him to share the stage with artists of all genres.

Since those early days, Robert J. has played thousands of shows with countless bands. He has written hundreds of songs. He's lived at least several lives, and throughout it all, Robert J. has always tried to make sense of life through song. His lyrics are direct, edgy reenactments of life itself, mirroring the will of a survivor.

2007 was a milestone year for Robert J. He recorded two new CDs, "A Beautiful Blur" and "The Revenge of the Rowdy Prairie Dogs," while continuing to develop acts for indie label PopBomb Records. He also played shows, solo, with label-mate Lucas Cates and with his roots rocking Americana band, The Moon Gypsies. In his spare time Robert J. placed some songs in a movie, wrote some more songs, helped to raise his young family, and.....had a heart attack while raking leaves in his backyard! When Robert J. heard the ER doctor say the six words that threatened to shake his foundation: "You are having a heart attack," all he could think about was his wife, his kids and the songs that he hadn't finished writing, displaying the soul of a songwriter.

Since that November day in 2007, Robert J. has gone through cardiac rehab, lost 24 pounds, written over 20 newly inspired songs, formed his new band, "The Rowdy Prairie Dogs," and has a new found respect for such basic principles as faith, commitment, family, health, humility, fear, hope, and compassion. Through that life-altering event, Robert J.'s transformation has begun.

In 2008 we are witness to a life transformation of a musician's heart and soul, a rededication of an already dedicated man. The soul of a songwriter, the heart of a musician, the spirit of a wanderer, the will of a survivor--all embodied in one man. Robert J's music tells the story, the story of triumph over adversity and the will of the human spirit. That spirit shines through his music and leaves a legacy of the man, the spirit, the wanderer, and the survivor.

Influences
Mostly, I've been influenced by the musicians I have played with over the years. After that, pretty much the basics...Elvis, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan The Beatles, CSN&Y,Little Feat, Springsteen and most everything in between and beyond.
Bios
"Anxious road songs, weary heart songs, monochrome self-portraits of mavericks trapped in a continuum of mental turmoil and unease." - Tom Laskin, The Isthmus, Madison, WI Mar. 2002

Biography #1.Robert J. has had a guitar in his hand since the age of 2. His early attempts at trying to be the next BIG "Singing Cowboy" sensation were layed to rest when his parents wouldn't buy him a horse. Instead, he entered kindergarten and pursued an education. His love for music, especially rock and roll continued to grow and grow. He saw the Beatles at Comisky Park in 1965. He saw the Grateful Dead open for Jefferson Airplane in 1967 (or was it '68). After graduating from college, he jumped in the band van and migrated from Detroit to the mountains of Colorado. The band's name was "Happy Trails"! Basically, Robert has been jumping in the band van and following the "Happy Trail" ever since.

BIOGRAPHY #2. Robert J. has lived all over North America; from Northern Minnesota to Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Seattle, L.A., and Colorado. He has called Madison, Wisconsin his home for the last 24 years. Robert has put out 4 recordings since 1986 and an anthology disc called "Rewind" was released on PopBomb Records in late 2004. Robert has received many songwriting awards and in 1999 won 1st place honors in the Billboard Songwriting Contest for his R&B song "A Million Miles Away". In 2003, Robert was given the Male Vocalist of the year award from the Wisconsin Area Music Industry(WAMI's) Robert has played shows with many acts including Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, Taj Mahal, The Subdudes, Buckwheat Zydeco, Delbert McClinton, Ellis Paul and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Lyrics

Island

Written By: Robert J. Conaway



We're on an island
A beautiful island
We're on an island
A beautiful island.

What we gonna do.......?

We're on an island
Mercury's rising
We're on an island
Ocean's rising.

What we gonna do........?

Love, love, Maybe it's time to try love
Love, love, love, love, maybe it's time to try love.

We're on an island
Fantasizing
We're on an island
Where no one's crying.

What we gonna do........?

Love, love, Maybe it's time to try love
Love, love, love, love, maybe it's time to try love.

Rebel Domino

Written By: Robert J. Conaway



I'm stepping out of this line
Can't keep following the blind
Can't keep up with this parade
Can't keep living this charade
Can't keep believing we got it made!

Domino! I'm your rebel domino.

You like your ducks all in a row
All lined up and sitting pretty for the show
But I'm not one for protocol
I'm not sacrificing all
I'm not ready to take the fall

Domino! I'm your rebel domino.

Tried to follow you but I got lost I
Seems our dreams were double crossed.
Love shouldn't have to be that hard
Can't abandon who we are
And be expected to play a part
Other than who we are!

Domino! I'm your rebel domino.
I'm your domino. I'm your rebel domino.

I'm stepping out of this line
Taking my blinders off I’m gonna lose my own way this time
Can't keep up with this parade
Can't keep living this charade
Can't keep believing we got it made, domino.
Can't keep up with this parade
Can't keep living this charade
Can't keep believing we got it made!

Domino! I'm your rebel domino.

A Beautiful Blur

Written By: Robert J. Conaway

I'm staring down the headlights that shine me on this road
Reliving all my past lives, wondering how many more to go
I'm in the middle of the road. In the middle of the road!

And I'm counting my blessings that I made it this far
I caught myself confessing to the dashboard of my car
I'm in the middle of the road! In the middle of the road.

I was doubting the road map
Second guessing every turn
Now it's time to forget about all that
And just let this engine burn!
It's a beautiful blur! In the middle of the road!
It's a beautiful blur!

So where does the time go? It races by me like light
But these paths that I follow, have led me to a place
Where it seems my dreams have turned out alright.
In the middle of the road!

I was doubting the road map
Second guessing every turn
Now it's time to forget about all that
And just let this engine burn!
It's a beautiful blur. In the middle of the road.
It's a beautiful blur! .........It's a beautiful blur!

Yea it's all here in my hands and right beside me at the wheel
I have all a man needs to have,
I have my wife and my kids and my songs and my automobile!

I was doubting the road map
Second guessing every turn
Now it's time to forget about all that
And just let this engine burn!
It's a beautiful blur. In the middle of the road!
It's a beautiful blur. .........It's a beautiful blur!

Diamonds

Written By: Robert J. Conaway

He's my little super hero
With a milk mustache
Saving the world from all the bad guys
He likes me to call him "Flash".
She's my little fairy-tale princess
They say that she's an "old soul"
She's off on another expedition
Riding her unicorn.
They're diamonds, diamonds in the sand. They're diamonds in the sand.

She's got an arm like Joe Montana
We like to play catch
Now she's become a beautiful young lady
But she'll always be my little quarterback.
They're our little rock and rollers
They're the next band
They're our little stars shining brightly
They're diamonds in the sand.
They're diamonds, diamonds in the sand. They're diamonds in the sand.

Now we're still building our sand castle
The home of our dreams
And we're still fantasizing
About who these little kids will be.
So hail to the next generation
Give them all we can
Hail to the next generation
There diamonds in the sand.

They're diamonds, diamonds in the sand. They're diamonds in the sand.

©2007 Robert J. Conaway/PopBomb Music Publishing

Rita's Story

Written By: Robert J. Conaway

She was on the run when I first met her
Rita said the whole world was out to get her
Talked drank coffee, I said, "things are gonna get better"
Put her head on my shoulder and she cried on my sweater.

Rita's first love didn't turn out so great
She ain't seen that boy since she told him that she was late
Parents told Rita they had it all arranged
Go away for a few months and act like nothing's changed.

Mama won't, Daddy don't, People don't no they won't listen
Mama won't, Daddy don't, but I will, I will listen.

Rita had her baby on a cold winter day
Part of her died inside when they took him away
She never got married, now she's got 2 jobs and a cat
Spent all these years wondering where her son was at.

Mama won't, Daddy don't, People don't no they won't listen
Mama won't, Daddy don't, but I will, I will listen.

I will listen...................

Was a little nervous when I first met her
Never thought she'd ever return my letter
Talked drank coffee I said, "Mom, things are gonna get better"
Put her head on my shoulder and she cried on my sweater.

Mama won't, Daddy don't, People don't no they won't listen
Mama won't, Daddy don't, but I will, I will listen.
Now we're here, at this rendezvous
I've waited my whole life just to look at you
Now we're here and we've got so much catching up to do.
And I will listen.......

Page 43 Again

Written By: Robert J. Conaway

Page 43 Again

Hey David you don't know me
But I've known you since Page 43
Like you I've been 8 miles high
Stared into the space where grown men cry
But I've survived since then
Looking back I'd probably do it all over again
I survived like you my friend
Well deja vu, I 'm listening to "Page 43" again.

Back in college I heard you and Graham play
Your stories and those harmonies blew the room away
We snuck down to the orchestra pit
Where a guy from backstage brought us bongs to hit
And I survived.
I learned the chords to “Woodenships” that night
I survived! Sailing into the light
Diving in before this life........... Passes me by.

Hey David, with all that you've been through
You still don't let the world get the best of you
When I need someone to look up to
Your words are the ones that still ring true
And I've survived since then
Looking back I'd probably do it all over again
I survived and "life IS fine" my friend
Well deja vu I'm listening to "Page 43" again.
Well deja vu I'm listening to "Page 43" again.
Deja vu I'm listening to "Page 43" again.

©2007 Robert J. Conaway/ PopBomb Music Publishing

Discography

Boys Town - 1986
I'm Yours(single) - 1986
It's You(single) - 1987
Hey Amanda(single) - 1989
Dixie Highway - 1992
No Brakes, No Choice, Co Exit - 1994
We Knew Love - 1996
Family Tree - 1998
The Moon Gypsies - 1999
Slip(The Moon Gypsies) - 2002
I Ride A Hog(The Moon Gypsies) - 2003
Rewind (Anthology) - 2004
A Beautiful Blur - 2008d
The Revenge of the Rowdy Prairie Dogs - 2008

Set List

In Robert's solo act, he plays mostly original tunes but can throw in covers in many styles including R&B, R&R, Blues and Country. He covers artists like, CCR, CSN&Y, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, James Taylor and Little Feat.