When you walk onto a fresh blanket of snow.  How many sets of foot prints do you see?  You may see and think only one, but take another look.  You will soon find that God is with you no matter where you go. If you practice the art’s then you will too know that God is in all things in which we are called on to do. Check out what Ed Roman had to say during another Naylor’s Note’s Interview.

Tell us a little about where you are from.

Ed.  Thank you so much for having me today!!!

I am a Canadian musician named Ed Roman, and I write voodoo music way up in a little town north of the break ridge known as Melancthon.

“IT’S THE SECOND HIGHEST ELEVATION IN ONTARIO.”

  “I AM THE ORACLE ON THE HILL.” 

When did you start performing music?

Ed. I started on a small stool in a little farmhouse kitchen back in 1974. An old World Famous acoustic travel guitar and broken lamp stand for a microphone. I sang and played to anyone and everyone that would come into the kitchen; for my brother’s and sisters’ friends to my parents’ friends and my grandparents’ friends.

“I GUESS I WAS A HAM AT A VERY EARLY AGE.”

Which instruments are you most proficient with?
Ed. I fell in love with stringed instruments at a very early age.

“GUITAR WAS A NATURAL THING FOR ME TO GRAVITATE TO.”

I could see there was an old acoustic guitar in the cupboard that wasn’t being used.  I could take it everywhere with me and feel like it was mine.  Any opportunity I had between the age of 5 and 13, I dabbled in guitar and piano. When I got to grade 9 and started high school I had the opportunity to start playing electric bass. I always loved the sound of low frequencies and funky earthy tones of electric bass. A lot of great 70’s television shows had amazing bass lines that drew me in as a young kid. I can remember standing in front of a television set and dancing to themes from Sanford and Son, Barney Miller, Good Times and on and on. I fell in love with a lot of bands in my early teens that are predominantly fronted by bass players and/or music and composition from bass players both acoustic and electric. I was given a Jaco Pastorius record by a music teacher from a local high school; Bud Hill. Tobias, who I mentioned before were handed the records and told;

“GIVE THESE TO ED, IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT.”

Those two records changed my life in my direction as a young player from the moment the needle hit the Vinyl.

This whole time I kept dabbling in all forms of percussion such as congas, and drums like djembes as well as the classic drum kit.

“I’VE ALWAYS BEEN DRAWN TO THE TRIBAL ASPECT AND RHYTHMS OF MUSIC.” 

I also found it liberating to be able to sit behind a drum set from day-to-day and connect more to my body mechanics as I find it so meditative. There’s such an intimate connection between a drummer and a bass player and it seems only fitting.

“RHYTHM IS THE WHOLE DEAL.”

Describe your music interests and abilities.
Ed. I’m really interested in the artist’s condition.

It’s the modus operandi as well as the moment of epiphany when art starts to display itself. I am often asked about how I write songs and where songs come from, and to me there are never ending doorways and patterns for you to follow as you move along your artistic life. The important thing is that you take these open doors and look for the new patterns that are being shown to you. Our lives are amalgams of those moments and the innate ability for an artisan to encapsulate it into an idea.

I’m fascinated by the stories and the writing processes of artists all through the decades. The things that people know little to nothing about when it comes to the background behind the people and what defined them and made them who they were.

“MY ABILITIES ARE ALWAYS CHANGING AND GROWING.”  “ONE CAN ONLY HOPE THAT THEY DON’T STOP UNTIL I’M DEAD.”

I consider myself to be a wonderful teacher of music and I’m sure other things if I wanted to. Over the last 23 years I’ve been teaching music to kids and teenagers and adults for that matter. In the process of learning how to teach people in a multitude of different ways, which strengthened me as a writer and a player and if not for that then I wouldn’t have journeyed down the road of teaching for so many years.

What famous musicians inspire you?
Ed. I was greatly impacted by the music composition and dexterity of Jaco Pastorius. It was a huge influence to me at a very crucial time in my life when direction was necessary for my personal growth as a player. His music seemed to not only offer elements of what we today call or consider jazz, but it also had incredible earthy tones as soulful spiritualists and extreme moments of funk and soul, which was compounded by insanity when it came to bass playing.

“TO ME HE WAS A JIMI HENDRIX OF THE BASS WORLD.”

With that same breath, Jimi Hendrix was also a huge influence on me as a young player. He was known to be the showman extraordinaire, humping his amplifiers and setting his guitars on fire but there is far more going on in Jimi’s music than just the over-the-top attention-getting. Jimi’s writing as a lyricist was fascinating, poetic and etheric. He was one of the people who turned me onto Bob Dylan as he was so in love with Dylan’s writing and lyrics. This is the reason why Hendrix covered All Along The Watchtower and Like a Rolling Stone. Hendrix was listening to Dylan and when people wondered why, he would say listen to what he’s saying… Jimi’s ideas transcended color and genres and illustrated once again to me that music was universal and the truth in it could be found anywhere.

Name your best musical memory growing up or professionally.
Ed. Kingston Jamaica, District 3, Port Royal.

Many people told me not to go to Kingston when I visited Jamaica.

IN ADDITION, “WE ARE THE KIND OF PEOPLE THAT WHEN TOLD NOT TO DO SOMETHING WE INEVITABLY END UP DOING IT.” 

Another one of my big influences in music is Bob Marley and it is essential for me to visit and make a pilgrimage to all Bob’s haunts and the places that he lived, wrote and recorded at. Kingston Jamaica is the home of Tuff Gong studios where Bob Marley and the Wailers and many other incredible reggae artists recorded their music. Bob was very instrumental in making Tuff Gong what it was. A record label was started to help Bob’s music as well as other artists compete in the international market along with so many other musicians. Bob himself, after making money from his own recordings spent his own money to buy pressing equipment and mastering equipment for all the artists from then on to be able to use. It’s an amazing place filled with earthy mystique and you can’t help but feel it oozing from the grounds.

As I moved along on my journeys I had an acoustic guitar that I bought at a local store, with plans to later gift it to a young kid before I left. While we were on one of our many walks into Kingston I was waiting on a friend and I pulled my acoustic out of the car and began to play Small Axe, the longtime Bob Marley composition.

Within minutes I had a crowd of people in the hundreds, all clapping and singing along with me. At the end of it I broke into one of my new numbers Coming My Way from my new CD, “Letters From High Latitudes,”  and all in attendance, in what seemed to be like a movie set, were all singing and clapping along to myself. It was at that moment that I had realized that all peoples’ speculations and worries about where not to go were wrong. I never felt more alive and close to people in those 8 to 10 minutes . While I was at the studio I got to play my acoustic in the very room that Bob Marley and the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and so many more have recorded. For me the day was more something like a religious experience and vindication in human connection.

Is there anything new in the works?
Ed. I’m always writing and I’ve been planning on a new record. In the spring of 2015 I plan to set aside two or three months to record all the beds and vocals, squeaks and whistles and send it into the very capable hands of Michael Jack for his mixing and mastering magic.

Do you have any publications to reference?

Ed. I’m happy to say I will be performing at the Millennium Music Conference in Harrisburg PA on February 20. This is a wonderful event promoting independent music from all over. It is a great privilege for me to be able to play a showcase. The band and I will be in Austin, Texas during SXSW for the Red Gorilla and Tinderbox Music showcase on March 18. SXSW is a huge deal; I’m excited to  play with the band and strut our Canadian brand of musical insanity. Headed  with us will be Antony Cook on drums and Chris Taggart on guitar. I’ll also be in New Jersey at the end of March for the incredible Cape May Music Festival.

How do you balance your music with family and friends.
Ed. It seems to me that most of my friends are artisans and musicians. Our lives are very busy and we are complex people. You never really get a chance to have a break because art is really a part of your life. My family has learned over the years that I sacrificed much time, holiday and special events in order to do what it is that I do. The life of a musician is life itself. I’m so fortunate to have a loving wife who herself is an artist that understands how difficult and time-consuming music can be. My mom has always been incredibly understanding and so supportive of everything that I’ve done. Without these two amazing women in my life I think I would be drowning. I always try to find time to do things with my mom, Brothers and sisters and of course my wife. One of those things for all of us is gardening and growing food.

Do you get nervous before a performance?
Ed. I don’t really get nervous before a performance about the songs I’m going to play or how the band is going to perform that night. Any nervousness would be brought on by complications due to technical problems. When people come to see you play the evening is an event that they’ve taken the time to come and participate and the last thing I want as an artist is to say the performance can’t happen because the building is flooded. I always try to spend 15 minutes to a half an hour before I reach the stage in a form of personal meditation. There’s so much going on before a show I find it essential and calming to remove myself from the hustle and bustle and everything that’s gone on over the last day in preparation for the event.

Do you have any advice for artists’ just starting out?
Ed. The best advice I can give the artist starting out is to believe in yourself and to consider what you’re creating to be as good as anything that has inspired from it.

“HARD WORK AND DILIGENCE TO YOUR CRAFT IS ESSENTIAL.” 

Hard work and diligence to your craft is essential. Many hours must be put into your labor of love to allow yourself to be at one with your instrument and your music to flow from you. Amalgams even the craziest thoughts into concepts and ideas.

“DON’T BE AFRAID OF ANYTHING.” 

How might you handle mistakes on the big stage?

Ed. If there is a big mess all over the driveway you may as well point it out. Sometimes an audience can really feed off of the human aspect of an imperfection of an artist. If an artist can laugh at themselves then there’s no need for anybody else to. Mistakes happen continually on live shows; the musicians can be the most critical of what those hidden blunders are than most audience members. Don’t get me wrong, but things need to be tight.  I’ve seen everyone from Dizzy Gillespie to Stevie Ray Vaughn have a small catastrophe in front of an audience.

Who is your biggest supporter?
Ed. I have to say my biggest supporter on a personal level would be my mom. My mom is the kind of lady who is multi-talented and has common sense that far exceeds your average person. When I was a kid diagnosed with a learning disability, my mom refused to allow the school and diagnosing physicians to put me on medications like Ritalin. I had trouble reading and writing, as I am a dyslexic, my mom spent hours and hours night after night and year after year helping me pronounce words and learn to read them correctly. All this time she was always encouraging me to tell my stories and because I like to play music, singing songs was something she was very supportive of. When I wanted to go to college to study music it was my mom that spent a lot of time convincing my dad that the idea was a good thing. I was really passionate about it. To this day my mom is always calling me wanting to know how things are moving along and if I’m having a tough day. She is always there asking me how she can help.

“I CALL HER BIG MAMA.”

You know she’s only hundred and five pounds and five foot seven. Dynamite comes in small packages.

What is your most favorite song to perform and why?
Ed. I don’t think I have a favorite song to perform because I like performing all my songs. The human condition is filled with ups and downs and so is the music that I write. From moment to moment we subtly change emotionally and none of us are always hyper happy unless of course we are on pharmaceuticals. It’s not good to be depressed all the time either, but it’s important to reflect the troubles that have occurred. With that said, I love the emotional roller coaster between song to song and it becomes really hard for me to define what song I like to play the most.

Where can we follow your career at?  
Ed. You can always visit me at my website which is www.edoman.net There you will find all of my social networking buttons, latest news articles, videos, tour dates; anything that I happen to be up to.

Another fantastic way to stay in touch with me is by getting the Ed Roman App for free at iTunes.  I’ll always be in your pocket for whenever you want to know what Ed is up to. When you’re listening to me, then you become an Ed Head.

“I’M IN YOUR BRAIN DUDE.”

Tell us about this video you are sharing with us.
Ed. First off, let me say thanks for having me today and it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. The video that I’m sharing with you is from my latest album Letters from High Latitudes. The track is called I Found God. It is a philosophical and spiritual look into the concepts of the Earth Goddess. The very planet that we walk on, that feeds us, cares for us and stops us from flying off into oblivion is like God itself. So much dogma in the world dictated by organized religion has promoted a fence like mentality around common sense, human compassion and empathy. It’s important for me to share the idea that what we do to ourselves, we do to each other. What we do to ourselves, we do to our world. These concepts are nothing new and some may call them Gia or neo-spiritualism but in reality they are the very same concepts and mentalities that aboriginal people all over the world have been sharing. The video I Found God is calling to the listener in a fashion which says “hey hey” like you were calling to a friend who is running into a problem. I summated the concept in the lyric I Found God by stating “you’re standing on it”. This is an important tune for all of us at this moment in time and has the ability to bring people together when it comes to how they feel about this spinning ball we all live on.

About Johnny Naylor:
author-naylor-smJohnny Naylor is the founder and owner of 1st Shot Music and a feature writer for Jammerzine. His work can also be found on 1st Shot Music and Naylor’s Notes. You can also get his latest updates on his facebook page.

 

 

 

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