Heralded as a musical genius with a songwriting talent compared to Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, Salloom has honed his lyrics into stories to which everyone can relate. Still, to compare a voice or style to a more famous one does injustice to an artist, setting an audience up to listen for a familiar sound. Salloom’s craftsmanship combines blues, roots, Americana and soul in a repertoire that evokes emotion – genuine, original and pure. He’s said to be self-deprecating and humorous onstage, downplaying a typical rock-star ego for a persona that speaks to the audience on a level that few entertainers achieve.
He was around in the ‘60s, playing the Fillmore with Santana, Van Morrison, B. B. King and Procol Harum. After moving to Nashville in the ‘70s to pursue songwriting, Salloom disappeared for 20 years, during which time he raised a family as a single parent and drew a syndicated cartoon. The story of his departure from a relatively wild and crazy life in the business – where he went, what happened, how he has gradually-but-surely constructed a return – is the stuff of a documentary, So Glad I Made It: The Saga of Roger Salloom, America’s Best Unknown Songwriter. From self-imposed exile and obscurity to a sane and solid comeback, the film reintroduces Salloom to a new generation of listeners.
It was directed by Chris Sautter and has been critiqued as “more than a backwards look at the ups and downs of the music business” (Kristy Eldredge, GloriousNoise.com). Rather, it examines how success is really measured and what makes for a well-adjusted human being –success of another kind. Winner of no fewer than six awards, So Glad is slated to be aired on the Documentary Channel on January 23.
Meanwhile, Salloom is celebrating the release of a new CD Last Call, featuring Charles Neville, Bekka Bramlett and Kathy Chiavola. More breaking news: He was just placed on the 2011 Grammy ballot in two categories. And the best news for local music-lovers: Roger Salloom will appear at the Colony Café in Woodstock with his six-piece band and Evelyn Harris, formerly with Sweet Honey in the Rock. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show this Saturday are $10, and can be purchased at (617) 492-769. The Colony Café is located at 22 Rock City Road in Woodstock.