Ed Roman is a folk singer whose album Letters from High Latitudes is now available on ITunes and Amazon; here is a link to his website:
Q: What do you hope to express though your music?
A: Music for me is the art of defining the rhythm of the times. The music that I make is very reflective of much of what people don’t talk about in the main stream. I tend to look for information that greatly effects all of us and information that people need to hear. I also use sarcasm and humor to point out the infinite amount of contradiction that is around but people refuse to talk about.
Q: Who are some of your folk heroes?
A: Well I’d say Dylan is a big one. I’m always amazed by the sorrowful intent in his writing and his incredible sense of honesty. Another huge folk icon to me was Richie Havens. The first time I saw Richie was on the film Woodstock. I know I fell in love with so much of the music from the film and era however Richie has the incredible
spiritual fortitude and ability to be the music. His interpretations of covers like Black Bird reignite new passions in an already great number. I really love Michael Hedges. It’s a terrible shame he passed away so young. I saw him for the first time along with Leo Kotke at Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto and I was gobsmacked. That performance along with countless listening sessions really affected me as a young musician. I had never heard anybody do anything so unique as of that time.
Q: What is the overall theme of Letters from High Latitudes?
A: I could not see the forest for the trees in front of me…
Letters from High Latitudes has many songs that ask questions as to how and why we live and function as people in this modern age. Questions like where does our food come from, why such political and civil discourse, who is really running the show, did you know your family is like a garden and why fight about god when we are actually standing on it.. I’m asking people to take a broader look not only at the world but themselves, their lives and the things going on all around them. It can be so overwhelming and difficult to navigate though the 21st century as it hurdles along with technology that it can be very dangerous to forget about the most quintessential things in life like food..
Q: What has been your greatest triumph as an artist?
A: I have learned that my life in art and the pursuit of knowledge and growth is my greatest triumph. I feel so vindicated after every song I write and every performance that I play. I feel so lucky to be able to do it.. I try not to put my achievements in the forefront of my mind as I feel that moving forward and not putting a watermark on what I do is healthy and essential. I would say that my cover of The Spirit Of Radio was a great achievement. I had a wonderful time putting the song together; getting permission from Rush and meeting with Alex was like the icing on a cake for a young musician who followed a band and became a better musician as a result..
5. What has been your greatest disappointment?
A: As a musician it is very difficult to find your space in the world and make it work. The trials and tribulations can really knock a lot of wind out of your spirit, body and heart. I’d say the times when a band breaks up and the relationships go sour. A great deal of work goes into a band and years of work, blood and sweat seem to melt away into oblivion. The people I play with are very close so it’s almost like a marriage failing.. I’m not too good with that…
Q: What is the story behind your song “I Told You So”?
A: “I Told You So” reflects what is going on in the subconscious of many people today. It suggests a satirical interpretation of the day to day metaphors that we succumb to but fail to release ourselves from.. I had been really thinking a great deal about the commercial enterprise that seems to infect our daily lives and after a brief stint of watching some great films like Brazil and Network, coupled with books like a Brave New World and Atlas Shrugged found myself mossy and ripe for subject matter such as this.. You never miss your water till your well runs dry… “I told you you so” is not to say in a negative way, that is to say rubbing it in ones face, but more so the idea that we may come to lament the things that we take for granted..
Q: What is your favorite backstage story?
A: I’m a bit of a practical joker and I had convinced this guy I knew that the guest host was requesting Rocky Mountain High as the opening song performed by him to start the night. Well as the day went on he worked all day on the tune which we could only get on an old cassette from the hotel lobby and he could not use a lyric sheet so he was doing his best and sweating bullets until the very last moment when I told him I was just B.S.ing. 🙂 now he knows the tune..
Q: What would you change about the music industry?
A: There has always been issues with the industry, like making too much money, over marketing, bad role models and on and on but I will say this… Technology as amazing as it is has created a great deal of apathy with not only attendance at show but the lack of respect of the art form when it comes to purchasing. It becomes very difficult for an artist to stay alive and make work into a living when many people share and rip music for free. I came from a time when it meant something to collect artists records and support what they did from tour to tour and album to album.
My motto is to buy the living and tape record the dead; at least you are supporting the artist while they are alive and help them to continue to do what they do. Many times it’s just publishing houses and catalogs that own artists work that are now pushing up daisies…
Q: How would you define folk music?
A: It’s music that is free thinking and moves the commonsense to the foreground of one’s conscience. It is deeply rooted in simple truths that reinvigorate love for life and the pursuit of what is right..
Q: If you could share a cloud in heaven with Pete Seeger or Woody Guthrie who would you pick and why?
A: Woody Guthrie. I love Pete and don’t get me wrong but I come from more of a Jack Kerouac, Woody Guthrie, Tom Waits, dirty street cloud and seem to relate to the silver lining that even good sophisticated dirt can bring.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)