"Music House" Reviews
"Roddan has dropped a stunning solo album. Showing himself to be one of the better songwriters in the business nowadays. Not that he is the master of writing pop tunes destined for the Top 40 or some iTunes list.
No, that’s not what his music is all about. Instead, Roddan writes some of the deepest, most gut-wrenching, heart-stopping, memorable, beautiful, and joyous music you will ever hear. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and on this deeply personal album in places, he especially bares his soul. You can hear it in his plaintive voice, and in the powerful lyrical content. That said, the emotional power of this album is just off the charts. Maybe it won’t rock your world, though there a couple of songs to do that too, but that’s not really what this album is intended to do. If you sit down and listen, really listen, especially to songs like “Cross To Bear”, “Empty Miles”, “Far Away” and “Rain’s Coming Down”, from the first half of the album, and let the lyrics resonate you can’t help but be moved.
Few albums have hooked me on a first listen as this one has. Every song tells a poignant story and is accompanied by the perfect music for every word. Roddan is a serious poet and musician who, in simple, stark and melodic terms, can convey ideas in a way that is accessible to every listener.
In the first 6 songs of the album presents a great collection of tunes recorded with a very subtle, warm tone and rootsy feel. These are very honest, revealing songs that evoke and express considerable personal emotion and reflection. “I Can’t See” breaks into a full band sound, while “Let Love Be Found” (ft. Patricia Vonne), sees Roddan immersed in a duet.
“Same Conversation” is an upbeat live recording, and “Whiskey, Pill’s and Pain”, goes back to the more introspective singer-songwriter template, where I feel Roddan is at his best. That’s of course before he switches to the Southern rock sound of “Crossroad Dues”, finally closing down the album with the acoustic-driven “Reconciliation”.
Between the upbeat, full band songs and the contemplative, more stripped down ones, this is an album that will get under your skin and stay there. It will burrow it’s way in and dance around a little every time you listen to it and you’ll find a different favorite song every few times you play it.
That is, of course, until you realize that they are all favorites. “Music House” captures the gist of what I love the most about singer-songwriter music."
- Robbie Tee, JamSphere (Sep 19, 2016)
“What I found I appreciated most about Roddan’s style was the slick-resistant performances he put into his music; let me explain. As much as I love many musicians, artists & bands that have made the trek to Austin or Nashville somewhere along the lines of their career…I’ve also heard it turn a ton of those same artists/bands/musicians into…well…everything else. Like it or not, when you head to these music-meccas, for all the benefits that there truly are, conversely, a lot of that influence ends up finding its way into the overall sound in such an ingrained way that it can end up setting a songwriter adrift & lost in the sea of sameness. But to be truthful – I felt like Roddan managed to truly retain his own sound, style and approach..understood his vision for the music and didn’t try to change that too much from what it was, just bring it to life around him.”
- Jer@SBS, SleepingBagStudios (Jan 08, 2017)
“Roddan is one of those rare artists who can actually create compelling and thought-provoking music with classy lyrics and world-class arrangements. His music is equally focused on lyrics and melodies, as shown through his recent release,”Bleed”. This song has a diverse approach that highlights Roddan’s unique style, while augmenting his songbook with yet another stunning piece with memorable melodies and infectious rhythms. “Bleed” features 6 brand new songs that showcase the artist’s diverse approach and ability to defy genre definitions with his music. On the opening number, “Never Meant to Be”, Roddan opens the record with a slightly melancholic and reflective vibe.“Patty Jean’ is one of my favorite tracks on this release - it is a folk-inspired number with some good old fashioned storytelling and vocal melodies that will immediately compel you to sing along to this talented artist.”
- Peter Vindani, TheBandCampDiaries (Jul 24, 2017)
“Roddan's “MUSIC HOUSE” succeeds in introducing Roddan’s own distinctive brand of lyrical confidence and good-time musical attitude. It does really show how comfortable this artist is in the studio, and with his own songs. The track also forges some great guitar work – both acoustic and electric – something that is constantly repeated throughout the album. The album is remarkably consistent without being ‘samey’, and a listen from beginning to end takes one through the entire alt country, folk and rock spectrum, from rollicking rock n roll, to heartfelt ballads, to stirring duets. What stands out overwhelmingly is Roddan’s sense of melody, and the love he has for his craft in general. More than anything, Roddan’s debut album is, instead of an honest and emotional record. It shows a huge emotional maturity for Roddan, as a songwriter, singer and a musician. “MUSIC HOUSE” without a doubt strikes a balance between musicianship and fantastic songs.”
- TUNEDLOUD (Apr 28, 2017)
“Roddan Makes Impressive Debut With ‘Music House’ Seattle Washington singer/songwriter, Roddan, is a talented acoustic and electric guitarist, who draws his musical influences from Folk, Americana, Blues, Rock, and Modern Country. Roddan has recently released his debut album, ‘Music House’. ‘Music House’ is eleven original tracks, recorded in Austin Texas, where Roddan worked with SXSW award-winning producer, Rick Del Castillo. No stranger to music, having been the lead guitarist with several artists in the Pacific Northwest, but this is his first venture into writing and singing as a solo artist – long overdue in our opinion! From the first song of the album, ‘Cross To Bear’, we are struck by how personal the songs are, and how passionate an artist Roddan is. With a sound that’s somewhere between Steve Tyler, The Eagles, CCR (with a touch of Crosby Stills and Nash), Roddan’s expert guitar and gravelly drawling vocals make this a very memorable album.”
- Posted by Lisa Hafey, Essentially Pop (Mar 31, 2017)
“Roddan has a very nice country/Americana voice. It is distinctive and does not really sound like anyone that I can put my finger on. Roddan’s voice is quite melodic but had some of that country raspiness and drawl that is a trademark of the genre. I definitely hear the originality in Music House. I also hear many many really fine songs that are well written and intelligent. I like songs, as you all know with great harmonies and good interplay between a male and female voice. My prayers have been answered with Bitter Pill. This is a really nice country song teeming with fiddles. The singing parts with Roddan and Patricia Vonne are magnificent. Vonne’s higher octave parts blend so nicely with Roddan hitting the lower notes. They blend together so well like the red and white in a Christmas candy cane. The two colors are distinct, but they create one flavor together. The song is about love gone bad, and the lyrics are wonderfully juxtaposed with the upbeat and uptempo music.”
- Harry Kaplan, TWANGRI-LA Country Music Utopia (Jun 01, 2017)
"Roddan’s poetic lyricism works wonders on the passionate “Reconciliation”. Highly thoughtful the introspection and ruminations on life feel reminiscent of Mark Kozelek’s most recent work with Sun Kil Moon. Quite clever the stripped down intimate approach adds to the overall power of the sound. Instrumentally varied, Roddan takes care in adding to the overall richness, with the accordion adding an additional expressiveness. Easily the heart comes from Roddan’s earnest and honest vocals, which reflect upon the way that life can unfold. Infinitely catchy the song and its message lingers in the mind long after it is over. Little flourishes come from the other vocalist whose efforts further punctuate the potency of the piece.
Not a moment is wasted as Roddan gets into a comforting, soothing groove. The wonderful way the accordion introduces the piece adds to the richness. Guitar work is deceptively simple: within that singular strong strum a great deal of emotion is imbued deep within it. By opting for this style, the many layers of sound come together into a brilliant blur of sound. Roddan’s voice guides the song forward, as the thoughtful lyricism further emphasizes what kind of joy can come from making good with others. Quieter moments within the song add to the view of the story that unfolds over the course of the track, of the happiness that comes with the acceptance of oneself.
With “Reconciliation” Roddan sings with the utmost of joy as the message is one that reflects upon the peace that reconciliation can bring."
- Beach Sl-Mar 22, 2017
“Roddan comes from, a wonderful modern take on the sound that has echoed from San Francisco coffee shops to London folk clubs for more than a life time, the sound of James Taylor, Neil Young, John Martyn and a list of other revolutionary acoustic guitar-slingers. But if you can see where Roddan comes from it is where he is going which is much more interesting. The references may be openly worn, and the template recognisable, but it is what he builds on it that is the joy. I’ve never really understood the term Americana but there is something inherently American about Bleed. Across just six tracks he travels through folk, country, blues, acoustic rock, balladry, reggae and torch song, often all within one song. Plaintive violin and emotive harmony vocals help tug the heartstrings and the result is a record that is emotive and soulful, built on the best traditions yet bringing something masterful to the table”
- Dave Franklin, Dancing About Architecture (Jul 25, 2017)
“Usually We Review a song or two To give Artists our honest opinion on their music, but when the artist is fully professional, sounds Great & has amazing song structure, we don’t mind reviewing the whole Album. First Off “MUSIC HOUSE” Is Great, & everyone in the Room gave a thumbs up on the Sound (Good Mix & Mastering) & we also Listened Carefully to the Lyrics (Great Lyrics). Roddan’s Music is Filled with Great stories & Real Life issues that everyone is familiar with & people could easily relate to these experiences which makes it appealing. The Artist Gives each Beat a Really Good Break Allowing them to resonate & become more heartfelt. This is Solid Work as the songs Tempo’s keep Changing without Interrupting the feeling of the Album, It Just Keeps Riding & That’s not an easy task to accomplish in production & Songwriting. (AWESOME) Great Job, Making great Music & Presenting it professionally So In This Review, I’ll Just Give a TWO THUMBS UP & A FIVE STAR***** GREAT WORK”
- Gareth Hay, Terra Entertainment Group (Apr 19, 2017)
"Roddan is a driven, passionate and charismatic artist from Seattle. His music strikes for a truly unique approach to his blend of country and rock. Roddan’s hometown is no stranger to quality music: this is the city that gave birth to artists as innovative as Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix or The Sonics, and Roddan’’s work definitely stands as a proof that the local music scene is still alive and well.
His recent single, Bitter Pill, is an earnest, introspective and emotional track that blurs the lines between genres as diverse as rock, country and pop with an elegant and understated production. One of the most striking and distinctive features of the song is definitely the beautiful melodic patterns of the strings, with an amazing fiddle riff making for a very uplifting introduction. The beat is basic, yet driven, and sustain, adding a spark to the song. Ultimately, Roddan’s vocals sit in the mix really well, showcasing a warm, yet bright tone with honest lyrics.
The song is featured within Roddan’s recent studio effort, “Music House”. Find out more and stream!"
- Peter Vidani, The Band Camp Diaries (Sep 19, 2016)
"Bleed 432" Reviews
‘Bleed 432’ is the brilliant follow up to ‘Music House’ from American singer-songwriter Roddan, whose vivid music illustrates an experienced life wisdom with its honest lyrics, classic alt-country/folk arrangements, and an array of sub-genre influences which hit a very sweet spot, sonically speaking.
The EP which is 6 tracks long touches upon many different subjects, shifting between themes of complex love memories and circumstances on the revealing opening tracks ’Never Meant To Be’, and also on its follow up ‘Exit 38’, as Roddan unleashes his song-writing genius in true Americana style.
The vocal deliveries are also sublime throughout, as Roddan’s voice embodies transcendental wisdom and pain all at once, while beautifully supported by the penetrating voice and charisma of Gina Chavez, in the superb ‘love-is-war’ styled ‘Bleed’ – with incredibly piercing lyrics such as “Can’t you see, oh can’t you see, it’s your love, that makes me bleed…” cutting deeper than a knife.
Patty Jean’ is also another great listen with its mellow arrangement and lighthearted lyrics paying tribute to the extraordinary singer-songwriting legend Patty Griffin, while ‘Love Horses’ highlight perhaps those missed opportunities that haunt us forever, such as not spending enough time with a loved-one, when you had the chance to – kind of thing.
A couple of the things that really stand out the more we play this ‘Bleed 432’ EP have to be its brutal honesty and pure simplicity, along with the effortless way in which they intertwine together, to create a roller coaster of emotions and insights which permeate the soundscape with color and expression… So too summarize it – we were really impressed with the whole project. It’s emotionally charged, masterful and highly-recommended!"
- Between Gaps-Up and Coming Artists (Oct 29, 2017)
“Bleed 432” is an attractive core combination of guitar, piano, bass, drums, interesting lyrics and soothing vocals. Nothing transcendental, but stunningly engaging. The reason being that Roddan lets the music belong to the songs, and not the other way around. Roddan has the thematic range of a contemplative and visionary artist. Here he takes an observant stroll through intimate human experiences and emotion. There is so much insight, intelligence, and passion in the songs that Roddan’s use of references seems like an opening rather than a closing of mind. Roddan doesn’t waste words, and when he does give himself over to emotion, it’s usually in an honest fashion. Granted, he has songs about tortured loves and people on the bad side of decisions, but to listen to him sing most of these songs is to hear joy in the creation of a song, of bringing something from nothing. That ‘nothing’ though, sounds like it comes from real, concrete experiences and memories.”
- Jacob Aiden, Jamsphere (Sep 08, 2017)
“Roddan’s “Patty Jean” offers a straight from the heart message to those whose music has changed lives. Over the course of song Roddan’s poetic lyricism reflects upon the tireless efforts of Patty Griffin and her inspirational work. By choosing a straight-forward, stripped-down approach Roddan lets the earnestness of the sound ring true. The song’s intimate nature unfolds makes it positively shimmer and shine. The optimism of the song lets this joy flow through, with every thoughtful reference adding to the overall temperament. Roddan’s vocals are delivered with pure passion, as the story unfolds with great pacing. Indeed, much of the song’s appeal comes from how Roddan allows the song to move forward at a gradual speed, letting every detail add to the tapestry of sound. Representing the best of Americana, Roddan dives deep into a glorious stream of sound. The song blooms into a celebration for a person whose work has had such a profound effect on so many.”
- ALLFIRE MEDIA (Apr 10, 2017)
“Seriously good Americana music. Incredible song writing and composition by Scott Roddan, the driving force behind Bleed 432. Roddan is the fulcrum of this project, but nothing gets done alone. It truly does take a village. Roddan’s village consists of Gina Chavez, who sings absolutely stellar backing vocals. Two things together that actually create something completely elevated and unique. In this case, one plus one may equal three or four. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Credit is also due to Phoebe Hunt on fiddle and vocals, Michael Ramos on keys, Phil Bass on percussion and vocals, and Rick del Castillo on guitar, bass, keys, and vocals. They really make these songs shine like a flawless diamond. No song exemplifies these components better than the opening track, Never Meant To Be. This song totally gives me chills. It touches me at the deepest levels possible. Bleed is steeped in perfection. Heartfelt, and poignant lyrics that Roddan does successfully.”
- Country Music Utopia (Jul 16, 2017)
"Embodying the best of folk is Roddan’s straight from the heart delivery on “Music House”. Besides folk, elements of country, southern rock, the blues and classical help to create a rich vibrant sound. Right at the center of it all are Roddan’s careful, articulate lyrics that express the joys and tragedies that come in life. Vocals are pure, pristine, and delivered with the utmost of passion. The careful arrangements feel reminiscent at times of Lambchop’s luxurious, intricate pieces. Unlike that group, Roddan goes for an even more eclectic sound letting a variety of instruments that go far beyond the usual folk trappings. Exploration of texture is done with true finesse for Roddan is one who ensures that experimentation and memorability work hand in hand.
“Cross To Bear” opens the album on a high note, with glistening organ and rollicking rhythms. His vocals hint at a bluesy quality as a song of hope for the downtrodden. Patricia Vonne adds to the overall loveliness of “Bitter Pill”. Featuring incredible soloing, the whole of “Bitter Pill” is delivered with great power. Stripping things down to the essentials is the raw intimacy of “Far Away”. Deeply comforting is the dreamy-eyed work of “I Can’t See”. Easily the highlight of the album is the ambitious work of “Same Conversation” whose meditative instrumentation only adds to its sense of other worldliness. Hard rock defines the fantastic “Crossroad Dues”. Serving as a thoughtful end to the album is the graceful “Reconciliation”.
Quite satisfying in scope, Roddan creates an entire aural universe on the spacious “Music House”.
"Don't Be Troubled" Reviews
Singer-songwriter, Roddan’s third and current release, “Don’t Be Troubled” is a follow-up to his 2017 EP, “Bleed 432”, and his 2016 Album, “Music House”. The recording features organic instrumentation, including guitar, piano, violin, cello, piano, and some beautiful vocals and harmonies from Eliza Gilkyson. Roddan tells his story in a meticulous format and makes the lyrics all the more important. He sentimental writing shows throughout the record, while juxtapositions are commonplace in a recording that is original, enticing, and mesmerizing to experience. All songs mesh together and aid in the overall emotional trek. The first song and title track, “Don’t Be Troubled”tells three different mini stories, according to the narrator. Eliza Gilkyson wraps us into the song’s wistfulness with a haunting and intoxicating backing vocal.
“Judyann”, the second song is a tribute to Roddan’s mother who passed away as he was working on this record. He was able to find some recordings of her with her family, and added them to the end of the track. The intricacies that make Roddan’s songwriting both pleasant and meaningful remain fully intact here. His ability to make a song sound intimate and personal, is only brought into a finer light with this track. He portrays love, loss, and heartbreak in a way that eschews oppressive morbidity. No matter how fleshed-out the production is, every song finds its basic structure in the guitar. In this foundation, the album never forgets Roddan’s introspective, reserved manner, and he makes sure that he never loses sight of his own personal integrity.
The third song, “Leaving Today” is a duet with Eliza Gilkyson, which affronts the theme of a relationship beyond repair. As if the brilliant music composition and lyrics were not enough, Eliza and Roddan add a complete second and third dimension to the song with their complementary vocal styles, bring the complete package to the track.
The last song, “Can’t Feel A Thing – Live” features Roddan playing rhythm on a Gibson 12-string, while Rick Del Castillo plays lead on a six-string Taylor acoustic. Recorded live in Austin, TX, this is a stomping acoustic blues track about being ‘emotionally numb in a relationship’. This is a song with a strong upbeat vibe that sounds deceptively positive but it’s a grueling affair. The two players set a powerful tone in an impeccable performance. The marriage here on a musical level, is inspired. As is true of all great songwriters who write from a personal place, to love Roddan’s music is to relate to him. “Don’t Be Troubled” successfully enhances and humbly strengthens the despair, passion, and sentiment in Roddan’s songwriting for this set.
- Independent Music News 24 - Jeena Johnson (October 2018)