EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 6, 2014

Musical influences, the mysteries of songwriting and God

JB: What were some of your earlier influences musically?

RS: My first favorite song was “Daydream Believer,” the Monkees’ version. How’s that for guilty pleasure? I loved that song when I was 8 or 9 years old and I still love it. Of course, there was Dylan, we always had Dylan in the house all the time. We had Gilbert and Sullivan. We had the Beatles. Kingston Trio, Pete Seeger. For me, it was mostly the Monkees and the Beatles. Shortly thereafter, the Allman Brothers, and then shortly thereafter Genesis and then shortly thereafter Bruce Springsteen, which caused a horrible riff between me and my ‘art rock-prog’ friends. They couldn’t understand Springsteen. The early stuff really is probably Dylan and the Beatles.

JB: When did you know that music could really be your career?

RS: It was in Hartford, Conn., right after my first record came out. I still had some doubts if this could happen as an actual career. I went to a gig at WWUH and afterwards I sold $325 worth of CDs, which to me at that time was a ridiculous amount of money. After the gig they said this is the money for your CDs. I just not could believe that they’d give me $325 for 22 CDs. I thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened. Right then and there, a little switch went off in my head, “aha. I like this.”

JB: If you weren’t a singer-songwriter, what would you be?

RS: An editor.

JB. For those who don’t know your music, which one song would you recommend?

RS: “There Goes Mavis.” It’s the one I most enjoy playing in a live situation. I just have a really soft spot for that song. I think it ends hopefully, which is not something that happens in a lot of my songs ... It’s a good story and I think it’s a kind of interestingly weird story. It’s a song that took a little leap lyrically. And I particularly enjoy that leap.

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