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Sam Roberts Band at Saint Andrews, 5 Things To Know

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Sam Roberts certainly can't be faulted for lacking a work ethic.

Since 2002 the singer, songwriter and bandleader from Montreal has released six albums -- including last year's "TerraForm" -- and four EPs, and he and has band have maintained a rigorous touring schedule. The effort has paid off -- especially in his homeland, where Roberts has lodged all six of his albums in the Canadian Top 10, along with hit rock singles such as "We're All In This Together," "I Feel You," "Human heat," "If You Want It" and, for our purposes, "Detroit '67."

The "TerraForm" campaign will keep Roberts and company on the road much of year, but you can bet it won't be too long before something new rolls out from the Great White Northerner...

With a few months' perspective on "TerraForm," which came out during October, Roberts says by phone his prevailing feeling is "breathing a sigh of relief we can actually play the songs on stage. That's step one. There are no guarantees; Plenty of songs over the years we've sort of put aside because we could never find a way to adapt them to playing live. So I'm glad."

Then again, Roberts, 42, says it's been a priority to record songs that work both in the studio and on stage. "The last couple of records specifically we've recorded them primarily live off the floor, at least the foundations of the songs," Roberts explains. "The initial bed tracks of the songs are always played by all five guys at the same time. That gives you confidence that you can get up there and actually pull this off on stage and have it feel like we're tapping in the heart of the songs."

While the album's title refers to Terraforming, the process making other planets inhabitable for human life, "TerraForm was a kind of renewal for the Sam Roberts Band. "We find ourselves excited and trepidatious in equal measure when we sit down to write," Roberts says. "We don't know what's going to come out and we don't know where it's going to take us. There's very little predictability about the kind of life we've chosen to life, and the songs feed directly into that. They either help you to move along or they can close doors, too. You have to learn to live like that."

The group recorded "TerraForm" at the Bathouse Recording Studios, operated by the Tragically Hip near Kingston, Ontario. "It's a special place to record music," Roberts says. "Obviously the Hip's spirit is in the place; That's part of what you were tapping into. But the nature of that house, that 150-year-old house perched on the edge of the lake that you look at out the window every day. And also you live under one roof, so you inhabit your record in every sense of the word. There's no escaping it. It's just there with you the whole time, so there's never an excuse not to be thinking about it and not to be working on it in some way. We enjoy that kind of immersion in a recording project, just completely obsessed and consumed."

Roberts immediate concern is to "survive touring" for "TerraForm." But he's already thinking about what the band will do next. "I want to keep making records as often as possible right now," he says. "It's not necessarily a feeling of urgency, just feeling of wanting to write songs as often as I possibly can. Even in down time over Christmas, when I usually shut it off altogether, I wrote a song -- something I've never done before. It definitely spoke volumes to me that there's something starting to bubble and I'm going to need an outlet at some point, probably soon."

Sam Roberts Band and Hollerado

Thursday, Jan. 26. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.

Tickets are $27.95.

Call 313-961-6358 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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