Rob Thorworth
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Rob Thorworth

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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Local singer-songwriter Rob Thorworth's first solo release, "Dig it Up," packs such a punch that you may think you're listening to an industry veteran who had top engineers, producers and technicians at his disposal. The fact is, this disc is masterfully produced, and Thorworth did it himself. "Dig it Up" has a "ready for radio" quality about it, with enough variety and raw emotion to satisfy nearly any listener. This was no small feat for Thorworth to accomplish, especially when you consider the fact that up until a year ago this mainstream artist was best known as one of the country's hot young blues musicians, opening up for acts like Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, The Allman Brothers, Government Mule and Widespread Panic.
Thorworth hails from Mobile, AL, and became an area transplant a few years back when he relocated to Baltimore. His departure from the South has also brought about a departure from his blues roots, as he has spent these past few years focused on his songwriting and building a following with the new direction of his music. With four to seven live gigs each week and a keen sense of how to deliver a song to an audience, Thorworth has fast become a standout in the local music scene. Last year he came from nowhere to win the On Tap-sponsored singer-songwriter competition, which sent him to Austin, TX to play at South By Southwest, the nation's largest music festival. He also plays host to other singersongwriters each Tuesday night at the Austin Grill in Silver Spring where he helps promote
original local music.
Although Thorworth seems to be a newcomer on the music scene, his life in the music industry , minus that of any musicians who have paid their dues prior to getting the big break. He first gained attention as the frontman for Gravy, a high-decibel rock and blues trio formed in Birmingham, AL in 1992. After the band released its debut record in '94, Gravy received national radio and magazine attention, and boasted notable sales for its
independent label, the now defunct Kudzu Records.
"I knew things were getting crazy when we were playing a festival for about five thousand people. I was in the middle of a solo and I looked to the side of the stage and Carlos Santana was standing there smiling, giving me a thumbs up," Thorworth remembers with a shy smile.But like so many other musicians, Thorworth and his career quickly hit a bump. "My record
company folded, along with my management. The government notified me hat I could not use the name 'Gravy' because of an 'element of confusion' (someone else owned the
name), my bass player developed carpal tunnel syndrome, and my drummer quit and tied me up with legal issues for over a year."
Focused and unwilling to give up, Thorworth reformed his group under the name "The Rob Thorworth Trio." He included a new rhythm section and issued the disc "Life is Suffering" on
his own label. With good CD reviews and a national tour in the works, he soon found himself onstage in Boulder, CO, guitar in hand, waiting for his drummer to show up—who never
did. "It was the last straw in a series of events, and I had to let him go," says Thorworth.
Thorworth cancelled the rest of a western tour and came home with a new vision for his music and a desire to relocate to the Northeast. "I think the blues thing was indispensable in
my evolution as a songwriter. After all, blues really is the root of all popular music. This period also allowed me to develop and perfect my guitar style and skills. However, in my mind, I think claiming to be a bluesman is a stretch," Thorworth offers.
"Dig it Up" certainly proves that Thorworth's plan worked; He delivers a complex selection of songs that show off his seasoned guitar work and soulful, throaty vocals (think
Lyle Lovett meets Don Henley). The disc, set for an early December release (pre-orders available at www.thorworth.com), offers up a tight mix of blues-tinged ballads and powerful rock and roll.
You can see the musician has been inspired by current events and related stresses; The disc contains bookend pieces with a definite Middle Eastern feel. The first of these, "Tragic
Play," kicks things off with a "good versus evil" theme and examines current world conflicts by using Shakespearean references to represent the West, and "The Bard" as a metaphor to invoke images of the Taliban. The album's closing track, "Mystic Book," begins with
singing from nomadic children from the streets of Tibet. The track offers up a timely rant on the downfalls of religious fervor in which Thorworth invokes the idea that it's arbitrary
where you are born, and thus your religious beliefs are as well.
Between these two gems, Thorworth creates several standouts, each filled with emotion and energy. A powerful "Hornsby-esque" pop gem about true love, "Under our Nose" just
might be the first of his songs to reach the Billboard charts: "Though we've lost everything babe/ And I fight with bouts of shame/ You'd love the man standing i - Pat Christopher - On Tap Magazine


Local singer-songwriter Rob Thorworth's first solo release, "Dig it Up," packs such a punch that you may think you're listening to an industry veteran who had top engineers, producers and technicians at his disposal. The fact is, this disc is masterfully produced, and Thorworth did it himself. "Dig it Up" has a "ready for radio" quality about it, with enough variety and raw emotion to satisfy nearly any listener. This was no small feat for Thorworth to accomplish, especially when you consider the fact that up until a year ago this mainstream artist was best known as one of the country's hot young blues musicians, opening up for acts like Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, The Allman Brothers, Government Mule and Widespread Panic.
Thorworth hails from Mobile, AL, and became an area transplant a few years back when he relocated to Baltimore. His departure from the South has also brought about a departure from his blues roots, as he has spent these past few years focused on his songwriting and building a following with the new direction of his music. With four to seven live gigs each week and a keen sense of how to deliver a song to an audience, Thorworth has fast become a standout in the local music scene. Last year he came from nowhere to win the On Tap-sponsored singer-songwriter competition, which sent him to Austin, TX to play at South By Southwest, the nation's largest music festival. He also plays host to other singersongwriters each Tuesday night at the Austin Grill in Silver Spring where he helps promote
original local music.
Although Thorworth seems to be a newcomer on the music scene, his life in the music industry , minus that of any musicians who have paid their dues prior to getting the big break. He first gained attention as the frontman for Gravy, a high-decibel rock and blues trio formed in Birmingham, AL in 1992. After the band released its debut record in '94, Gravy received national radio and magazine attention, and boasted notable sales for its
independent label, the now defunct Kudzu Records.
"I knew things were getting crazy when we were playing a festival for about five thousand people. I was in the middle of a solo and I looked to the side of the stage and Carlos Santana was standing there smiling, giving me a thumbs up," Thorworth remembers with a shy smile.But like so many other musicians, Thorworth and his career quickly hit a bump. "My record
company folded, along with my management. The government notified me hat I could not use the name 'Gravy' because of an 'element of confusion' (someone else owned the
name), my bass player developed carpal tunnel syndrome, and my drummer quit and tied me up with legal issues for over a year."
Focused and unwilling to give up, Thorworth reformed his group under the name "The Rob Thorworth Trio." He included a new rhythm section and issued the disc "Life is Suffering" on
his own label. With good CD reviews and a national tour in the works, he soon found himself onstage in Boulder, CO, guitar in hand, waiting for his drummer to show up—who never
did. "It was the last straw in a series of events, and I had to let him go," says Thorworth.
Thorworth cancelled the rest of a western tour and came home with a new vision for his music and a desire to relocate to the Northeast. "I think the blues thing was indispensable in
my evolution as a songwriter. After all, blues really is the root of all popular music. This period also allowed me to develop and perfect my guitar style and skills. However, in my mind, I think claiming to be a bluesman is a stretch," Thorworth offers.
"Dig it Up" certainly proves that Thorworth's plan worked; He delivers a complex selection of songs that show off his seasoned guitar work and soulful, throaty vocals (think
Lyle Lovett meets Don Henley). The disc, set for an early December release (pre-orders available at www.thorworth.com), offers up a tight mix of blues-tinged ballads and powerful rock and roll.
You can see the musician has been inspired by current events and related stresses; The disc contains bookend pieces with a definite Middle Eastern feel. The first of these, "Tragic
Play," kicks things off with a "good versus evil" theme and examines current world conflicts by using Shakespearean references to represent the West, and "The Bard" as a metaphor to invoke images of the Taliban. The album's closing track, "Mystic Book," begins with
singing from nomadic children from the streets of Tibet. The track offers up a timely rant on the downfalls of religious fervor in which Thorworth invokes the idea that it's arbitrary
where you are born, and thus your religious beliefs are as well.
Between these two gems, Thorworth creates several standouts, each filled with emotion and energy. A powerful "Hornsby-esque" pop gem about true love, "Under our Nose" just
might be the first of his songs to reach the Billboard charts: "Though we've lost everything babe/ And I fight with bouts of shame/ You'd love the man standing i - Pat Christopher - On Tap Magazine


Discography

Dig It Up
Life Is Suffering
Gravy's "From The Hip"

Photos

Bio

Rob Thorworth – - frontman for the blues-rock trios Gravy and The Rob Thorworth Trio – moves from high-energy roots rock to the music that inspired him back when he was growing up in Mobile, Alabama. Dig it up, Thorworth’s third full-length release on his own Heapin’ Helpin’ records, shows an attention to detail. The detail of songs and songcraft.

After a playing the college circuit in the 80s, Thorworth set out to improve his music by studying its root -The Blues. Throughout the 90s he fronted the aforementioned power trios working on his guitar chops and songwriting in the blues form. He was signed to the independent label Kudzu Records and released Gravy’s From the Hip in ’94. After a series of member changes and common music industry pitfalls he released Life is Suffering under his own name and label in ’98.

Selling more than 15,000 copies of his first two records, largely on the strength the his live shows, Thorworth received attention from numerous publications including Billboard, Guitar World, Blues Access, Vintage Guitar Magazine and Men’s Journal. During the constant roadwork of the 90s, Thorworth had the privilege of touring and opening for blues greats Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Robert Cray, Jimmy Vaughn, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. "I think the blues thing was indispensable in my evolution as a songwriter as after all, blues really is the root of all popular music. This period also allowed me to develop my guitar style and skills. However, in my mind I think claiming to be a bluesman is a stretch”, Thorworth offers.

Although a student of the style, Thorworth never claimed to be a bluesman. In fact, his rootsy music crossed over enough to also land him shows with The Allman Brothers, Joan Osborne, and Widespread Panic. Carlos Santana gave him a “beautiful” thumbs up, and he’s shared the stage with Warren Haynes and the late Alan Woody of Gov’t Mule.

After touring behind Life is Suffering, Thorworth decided it was time for a major change. In 2000 he relocated from Alabama to the Baltimore/DC area to focus on his songwriting and build a following in the new direction of his music. Since then, Thorworth has fast become a standout in the local music scene. In 2004, he came from nowhere to win the ONTAP magazine (DC) sponsored singer-songwriter competition, which sent him to Austin, TX, to play at South By Southwest, the nation’s largest music festival.

Now settled in Baltimore, Thorworth plans to release and tour behind the new record. Dig It Up offers up a tight mix of blues-tinged ballads and powerful rock and roll. The record proves that Thorworth’s plan to depart from the South and his blues roots will certainly gain him new fans, but old fans won’t be disappointed.

After all, you can take the boy out of the South, but if you listen closely, you can still hear a Southern drawl.