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Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato

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Album Review

Rocky Votolato's first solo record — an album that was a big influence on Dashboard Confessional — is a stripped-down and subtle acoustic folk set. Like early Elliott Smith, Votolato is able to convey so much emotion with simple instrumentation, hushed vocals and lo-fi production. If Smith was simplifying his work in the punk group Heatmiser by turning to folk, Votolato goes one step further, taking Smith's singer/songwriter style and making it calmer, always threatening to simply float away. From the breezy "Intro to ACGF" to the more somber "Victims" and "A Painting of a Song", this debut is always reflective, simultaneously evoking the quieter picking of Leonard Cohen and the internal outpouring of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks. Vocally, Votolato carries on the sound he developed in the softer moments of his rock band Waxwing, something akin to Bright Eyes without the waver and warble. The album ends with "I Remember Music", one of Votolato's best songs and the record's most buoyant — a mythologizing nostalgia trip that is both intimate and touching like a fading photograph.


Born: 1978 in Frost, Texas

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato was born in 1978 and spent his childhood on a 50-acre horse farm in rural Frost, TX (population 647), located 100 miles south of Dallas. Growing up amidst a backing soundtrack of Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, and Johnny Cash, he had a semi-unconventional upbringing, as his father was a member of the Dallas-based motorcycle gang the Scorpions (rivals to the Hell's Angels). Rocky's mother moved the family to Seattle in his early teens, and he was soon inspired to start...
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Rocky Votolato, Rocky Votolato
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