Who is Al Rose?
Al Rose is a striking songwriter and musician with a unique and powerful vision that continues to jell and focus on his sixth and latest release (2012), “Sad Go Lucky”. His previous albums have received extensive airplay on AAA and Americana stations throughout the US along with a bevy of critical praise. He is a mesmerizing transformer when performing live as a solo or with any number of his band, The Transcendos, in any configuration. This drives the songs each night, but the songs have always been what drives the musicians in what The Chicago Tribune has called “one audaciously entertaining ride”.
Al’s musical soul rose early. Studying flute from 4th grade until losing interest in high school, he picked up an old guitar collecting dust in the basement and became obsessed, not as a guitarist, but as a songwriter and singer. Soon came the college coffeehouse gigs and rock bands including a critical and personally satisfying stint as co-leader of Chicago based Buffalo Trout. With fevered pitch and hearty focus, Rose formed The Transcendos: his true point of embarkation. Flexibly powerful, from dada gospel to caffeinated pick; explosive rhythm to sparest hush; swampy improv groove to country shine, the ‘Cendos nail them to the wall.
The songs bloomed with Rose’s stream of metaphor lyrics connecting our disjointed artifacts of life. A slice of life in a traffic jam. Raindrops on the basil baked on the setting sun with a slow low rise style. His word sculptures enlighten the random moment telescoping and microscoping a personal sky where the knives wait to cut and eyes adjust to the dark, open wide.
Rose has always approached the recording process by serving the song and, working with Grammy-winning co-producer and engineer Blaise Barton, Al has previously released five stunning discs: Information Overload (1994), Naked In A Trailer (1996), Pigeon’s Throat (2000), Gravity Of Crow (2003) and My First Posthumous Release (2008). Each stands alone. In series they expose Al’s evolving habit of craft. It’s so easy to hear the time and care, the patience and skill, the garlic and wine that went into the work. Listen.
Al’s wild ride spontaneous live shows, whether solo, full band, or configuration in between, coast and roll you inside out. You know the way a surprisingly loud crackly fire manages to give off a warm, steady glow? Yeah.
Who are the Transcendos?
Click on photos for information about your favorite band member!
Steve Hashimoto: I first saw Hash playing at the Get Me High Lounge and later at the Green Mill. When I decided to start my own band, I thought it would be cool to find a bass player like Steve, a complete pro with a childlike wonder. I thought, “Where can I find someone like Hashimoto?” Genius that I am, I asked him where I could find someone like him to play in my band. He’s an original and, as far as I’m concerned, a lifetime Transcendo. He avoids playing the root of the chord at all costs. Steve leads his own band, Suenos and plays in the great Marc Smith poetry band, Pong Unit.
Laura Blye: Another original Transcendo, Laura also sang with my previous band, Buffalo Trout. Laura and I have a friendship and a singing connection so deep, we have been known to sing the same incorrect lyric at the same time totally locked in. It’s that scary. She listens so well and seems to read my spontaneous musical mind. She was raised in the woods near Cleveland by Baptist preachers.
Carter Luke:I met Carter through Hash. He first recorded some tracks for “Naked In A Trailer”. He is a rare keyboard player – a great player who actually believes that he doesn’t have to play with all his digits and extremities at all times. So, the wonderful parts he chooses to play enrich the band’s sound in an exciting and dynamic way. He responds well and riffs quite accurately to any Trogs bootleg references.
Steve Doyle: I met Steve in 2001, I think. I was searching for a guy like Doyle for a long time. He plays a great electric and cooks on slide. The big bonus is his dobro playing. I could listen to him play dobro all night. He’s a great musician who plays the song first and foremost. Steve writes his own songs and occasionally bangs them out with the erstwhile band, Space Rhino. He used to be quite clean cut until he joined this band.
Sarah Allen: I’ve known Sarah for years, but the opportunity to play together only came up in 2000 after “Pigeon’s Throat” came out. She’s a very low key person with a dry sense of humor, but she can beat the hell out of the drums. She also knows when the drums have had enough, letting them heal briefly when the song calls for it.
Maury Smith: For me to write a “blurb” about Smith is like describing my left arm or the back of my head. Musically, I would describe Maury as a spiritual math teaching former Zen high school baseball coach who likes to laugh and dance. We go back. Way back…back against the ivy. I learned guitar by getting stoned and laughing while we jammed. We’ve been setting musical fires under each other for so long that the glowing embers give me chills. We consider ourselves next door neighbors even though we haven’t lived in the same town for twenty years. I never miss a show when he and I play together. That’s all I’m gonna say.