“The voice, like a fledgling Willie Nelson, captivates” – UNCUT
“Echoes of a young Jackson Browne or Ron Sexsmith…Outstanding.”
– THE DAILY EXPRESS
“All the makings of a classic…timeless…a well crafted, stunning album”
– THE SUNDAY MAIL
Twenty-six year old Scotland native Roddy Hart’s mature, self-assured voice is in direct contrast to the songwriter’s youthful appearance. While it typically takes most singer/songwriters considerable time to shape their individual voices and their ability to write with a sense of self, Roddy Hart has done so at a noticeably young age and with relatively little live performance or studio time. One could attribute Hart’s remarkably mature songwriting to his propensity for assimilating his rootsy Americana influences, namely Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Kris Kristofferson, the latter of which has embraced the young songwriter and contributed to his debut release, Bookmarks. Although Hart was predestined to become a musician, it was not until after a five-year stint at law school (which resulted in a first class honors degree) did he focus his efforts on song craft. “I never had any intentions of doing anything other than music, but I just wanted to broaden my horizons – I felt I was too young and unqualified to write about things I hadn’t experienced yet,” Hart says. Like a fine wine, Hart waited to uncork his gifts until they had fully matured, a sense of restraint that is apparent in his vocals. “The first thing I did when I graduated was record eight songs on an old four-track machine, put together some homemade covers, and sent them off to anyone who would listen.” Despite instantly picking up management and attracting some record company interest, Hart opted to develop his stage craft first – “I felt relatively inexperienced, hadn’t sung in public before, so would just play to anyone, anywhere to get some idea of an audience and how best to play the songs live” – and embarked on a number of shows where he quickly built up a reputation as a promising songwriter and performer, landing him opening spots for John Prine, Ray Lamontagne, and Kris Kristofferson and collaborations with Ryan Adams, Brad Pemberton, and the Trashcan Sinatras.
For a kid from Glasgow, Hart has produced an incredibly fresh piece of American sounding music. Bookmarks, to be released spring 2007 on Compass Records, is colored with the nostalgia-inducing twang of the pedal steel, driven by the harmonica’s gutsy tones and filled with weathered yet inspiring melodies delivered in Hart’s tremulous and timeless voice. The first track, “The Life & Times of Joseph Rowe” is a tune of resignation, sustained by the harmonica-filled “She Is All I Need.” Kris Kristofferson and former Fairground Attraction vocalist Eddi Reader join Hart’s rich vocal timbre on the surefire hit “My Greatest Success,” an unabashedly naked confessional, bristling with truth. On “Suffocate,” Hart dips in and out of falsetto while delivering the lines “rip it up and tear it down/burn it to the ground/do you suffocate when you hold me/do you live for the day that I leave,” marking the song as one of the albums gems, and drawing comparisons to Ryan Adams. The final track, fittingly titled “Journey’s End,” echoes the first song, and helps to tie together the record’s prevailing theme of loss, renewal, and loss again, closing an album of memorable songs, stunning collaborations, and moments of rare musical beauty.
Roddy Hart currently resides in Glasgow, Scotland and is planning a tour of the US later this year once he completes a UK tour in support of Kris Kristofferson.