Rob Heath
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Rob Heath

Cochrane, Alberta, Canada | SELF | AFM

Cochrane, Alberta, Canada | SELF | AFM
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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It's always a nice surprise when you put on a CD knowing and expecting nothing. Edmonton based singer songwriter Rob Heath was unknown to me until this album. But boy from the opening lines of "Dear God", Heath had me fascinated with the songs he presents, constantly offering up lyrical tidbits that will stick for a long time. "When you're a kid, you see a trick, and you think it's magic/Then you grow up, you see magic and you think it's just a trick."

"What Jenny Draws" is a particular stand out where Rob uses the many meanings of the word draw, unexpectedly and creatively, to craft a poignant wonderful story. This is a terrific collection of songs. Besides having well-crafted and intelligent lyrics, the songs are melodic, memorable and haunting in their sounds. - By les semieniuk
- Penquin Eggs


“… think Michael Johnson meets Gary Fjellgaard. … there’s plenty here to be enjoyed. The songs range from positive vibes in the excellent Dear God, to a haunting message in Til’ Death Do Us Part, and a whimsical look at things in I Wanna Go Again.”
- Country Music News


Easily one of the most versatile and talented songwriters to come out of Alberta is Rob Heath. You can buy it just to enjoy, but if you are a songwriter then Couple of Times Round The Sun, eight years in the making, is a must-have in your music collection.

- Canadian Cowboy Country


When a professional Nashville songwriter who saved his best material for himself finally gets around to sharing it with the public, there is a typical reaction: Man, with songs like this, why aren't you a star?

- Edmonton Sun


Solid singer-songwriter fare from one of music’s craftsmen. Warm, welcoming, comfortable, familiar even, seldom brash or edgy, plenty going on and a few wow moments that make your heart stop in wonder.

ONE MORE DAY ABOVE GROUND is an optimistic set of songs that takes its cue from the slightly sardonically named title track. Heath’s barmaid asks: ‘Life ain’t fair boys/so what’s your second choice?’ and elsewhere he does a fair job of demonstrating that nobody really needs one. Love songs (Mystery of You, Watching) sit alongside who-can-deny-it philosophy (Why Not Stand Out) and a hymn to the power of music (Flying Machine).

Heath is too good to let the listener get too comfortable though. The callous and indifferent cops who drive a drunk out of town to die in the snow in Starlight Tours (probably based on the true story of Neil Stonechild) and the veteran’s nightmare that is To Come Back From His War jar the senses at the amount of sheer cruelty and horror in the world. This is an optimistic album in general though and never more so than on the final track, What If They’re Right? Again probably founded in truth.

With a voice as warm as a winter fire and a finger picking guitar style Heath sounds exactly like what he is: a song craftsman and a mighty good one at that. Sometimes we forget that craft should be esteemed as highly as art, if not higher. People like Rob Heath remind us. JS, Maverick Magazine (UK) - Maverick Magazine


Rob Heath admits that on a routine night, odds are he wouldn’t consider stringing the songs found on his new album One More Day Above Ground in succession.

Not that the 11 pieces aren’t some of Heath’s strongest and most engaging slices of insight and storytelling to date. It’s that there’s a heavy and at times ominous tone that drapes most of the songs, which were recorded over the past year with significant help from producer Louis Sedmak.

“I guess I have a tendency to write some dark songs and had collected this war chest of them over the years. Songs that aren’t commercial,” admits the local tunesmith, who breaks out this batch of well-crafted numbers for fans and friends this evening at Queen Alexandra Hall, in a concert produced by the Northern Lights Folk Club.

Heath, who can quickly tip the focus away from any kind of gloom with his sincere smile, successfully projects a concerned and understanding global citizen approach with songs like “Flying Machine,” Yours Truly…,” “Starlight Tours,” and “To come Back From his War.”

He draws strong melody lines, one of the reasons he’s had success placing songs with artists in Nashville and Los Angeles, and there’s little question this collection marks the most cohesive and sympathetic production his songs have found.

“The approach was the reverse of how the process usually works. Instead of recording the basic tracks with a rhythm section and having me conform to what the players have done, Louis and I had me record voice and acoustic guitar first. Then, via modern technology, we had an Internet session with musicians and singers hooked up in Nashville, Edmonton, and Vancouver,” says Heath, who had a crackerjack crew that included Music Row and regional heavyweights.

Nashville’s Larry Paxton is heard on bass, while Pat McGrath, who has worked with the Dixie Chicks, added guitar to some tracks. Ex-Edmontonian Gaye Delorme makes a cameo appearance on slide guitar, Ian Tyson associate Gord Maxwell shaded in at he background vocals and Van Wilmott provided his arrangement skills.

While he’s pleased with the overall results, he hasn’t been able to stand far enough away to give it a complete critical evaluation. But one of the songs he is extremely pleased with is the album closer “What if They’re Right?” The piece is a story of hope inspired by a heart-warming chapter in the longstanding Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

“Lyrically I am really happy with it, and it’s one that has been kicking around for awhile. I also like the groove we got on “Yours Truly…” and like what it says.”
– Peter North, Edmonton Journal
- Edmonton Journal


Discography

One More Day Above Ground
released October 28, 2008

Couple of Times Round the Sun
released June 24, 2005

Play On
released 1988

Digital Distribution
Puretracks.com www.puretracks.com
iTunes www.apple.com/itunes

Photos

Bio

Edmonton-based singer/songwriter Rob Heath is first and foremost a storyteller. Nothing human is alien to Heath; hence he has a keen eye for observance of the human condition and an ardent ear for putting it all to music.

Heaths songs speak of the lessons- good and bad- he has obviously learned during his life. Emotionally, he resides in a borderless world. His songs run the gamut from: whimsical, sceptical, explosive, introspective, hopeful, heart-rending, brooding, clever, and at times simply about true love and all of them brutally honest.

The concept of being concise does not escape him, and he presents astute assessments of life in a three to four minute format. Delivery as well is succinct, and approach is what makes Heaths vocals noteworthy. His phrasing allows the lyric to shine.

Theres myriad subject matter and musical styles, yet there is a tie that binds. Its that Heaths music is relatable poetry, supported by listener-stickable melodies.

The quality of Heaths songwriting has been widely recognized. Over the years accolades for his songs have been many: won first place in the Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Contest, won the New Folk competition at the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival, and won a Canadian Radio Music Award for Songwriter of the Year, nominated for Canadian Folk Music Awards Songwriter of the Year; over 200 radio stations on six continents have played his music; hes been on songwriting panels for AMIA, WCMA and SAC; plus hes had publishing deals with Glen Campbell Music, Don Goodman Music and Criterion/Atlantic Music.

The good news is, the best is yet to come, March 2 in fact, when Heath releases his fifth album The Trick, a treasure trove of timeless tunes. While the lyric content of the recording appears to be the soundtrack to Heaths own life, his poetry reveals truths of the shape all our lives have taken in todays increasingly complex world.

The title tune is arguably his finest work to date. The story take us back to youth, with the first chorus, When you are young you see a trick/You think its magic. The second adds this line, But you grow up you see magic and you think its just a trick. By the end of the tellers life, the song, and the last chorus, its But you grow old and you realize the magics everywhere/ The trick is just to see it there. Brilliant.

On these new songs, Heaths energized and unfettered. Musical depth and artistic creativity abound on this album.