RACHAEL-O-RAMA # 9 | SAM MORRISON BAND
December 25, 2020 by Rachael Contreras
For Rachael-O-Rama #9 we wanted to bring you a little something different for Christmas. This holiday we bring you the Country/Southern Rock rock group, Sam Morrison Band and their newest video, Alone Again on Christmas, brought to you here by their drummer, Bart Robley.
Bart is a very accomplished drummer that has been playing with Sam Morrison Band since 2000. When Bart was offered the position by Sam Morrison it was in the terms of, “I have a three-week tour in Europe and the gig is yours if you want it!” About a week later he found himself on a plane heading to Germany and says laughing, “I’ve been holding on for dear life ever since.” He continues, “We played military bases throughout The Balkans during the war. It was very surreal and very exciting. My experience with Sam actually started in a war zone. No kidding!”
Bart says even though he plays for a Country/Southern Rock rock band, his favorite band is KISS because, “I have so much respect for what they were able to accomplish. Musically my roots are in early rock and hard rock… the first concert I went to was Elvis. My mom was a huge Elvis fan… She took me to see him at the Denver Coliseum when I was 5. Shortly after that the famous concert “Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii” was on TV and there was a camera set up behind Ronnie Tutt’s drum set. I was hooked. I knew that’s what I had to do. From there I got into Kiss and Led Zeppelin and the list goes on.”
Even though Bart has been playing drums for 48 years, he still loves to play and help collaborate in the song writing effort for Sam Morrison Band. Although Sam’s name is in the title Bart says, “Sam is an incredibly fair guy and really wants the band members to shine.”
Sam Morrison Band’s new video, Alone Again for Christmas is entertaining and has a very heartfelt ending aimed towards the military. Without spoiling the ending, we asked Bart about the creator behind it, “That’s 100% Sam and the producer / director Jonathan Lawrence. They did an amazing job! Like I mentioned, my first tour with that band was playing in a war zone in Eastern Europe. Seeing first-hand the men and women over there protecting our country was life changing to say the least. We have a huge respect for the military and everything they do for us. (Because of that) One of the things we are involved with is The Patriotic Service Dogs Foundation. Tom Tackett and his team raise service dogs for veterans with PTSD. On average 22 veterans a day…A DAY commit suicide due to PTSD. Tom and his team donate these dogs to help save their lives.
Sam Morrison Band’s The Christmas Album came out in 2018 and it’s a holiday toe tapping good time! With fan favorite, To Heck with Ole Santa Claus, it’s such a shame that they were unable to play it live this year for the holidays. But with the availability that COVID brought them, they were able to work on a “new” album… they are re-recording their self-titled first album.
Bart said, “When we originally recorded our debut record, we had never worked with a real producer. So, the end result of the record was basically a demo. It had some fantastic material on it but the recording quality was extremely sub-par. In the last 20 years we’ve grown as a band and learned so much. In 2007 we were signed to Titan Tribute Media Records. The producer is Michael Vail Blum. He’s produced Madonna, Pink Floyd and the list goes on and on. We’ve learned so much working from him alone that we’re basically a new band. Sam has also become one HELL of a producer himself. So, at the beginning of the year when everything got shut down, he made the decision to re-record the album. I’m pretty sure he’s also going to add a few “bonus” tracks to the record as well!
Bart is a very accomplished drummer that just plain loves drumming. He says, “I’m a self-confessed drum nerd. I’ve written 3 books and done 3 DVD’s for Centerstream Publishing… In 2009, because of the efforts of my friend and video producer Trey Solberg (he was on the filming crew of the Alone Again for Christmas video) I won a Telly award.
With Bart’s experience he has picked up some endorsements throughout the years. Many endorsements, in fact. The list goes: Gretsch Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Aquarian Drumheads, Gibraltar Hardware, Vic Firth sticks, Trick Bass Drum Pedals, Audix Mics, The Kelly Shu, KickPort, Dauz Drums, Symphonic Snare Drums and Gorilla Snott. He’s also a member of S.E.N. “The Sabian Education Network”, The Gretsch Education Team, and The Vic Firth Education Team. A definitive list of long hard work throughout the years.
When he’s not spending his free time teaching students of all ages and stages to play drums over Skype sessions, he’s working on The Drummer Education Connection videos on YouTube as a founding member and says, “The Drummers Education Connection is really starting to take off. We live stream every Tuesday at 11am PST to our YouTube channel. Aquarian Drumheads has also been streaming us on their Facebook page. I’m also working on a new instructional book and I’m revisiting a book I wrote that never got published. I have a project that I’m working on with Aquarian Drumheads. I’ll have more info about that in the future, hopefully early 2021.”
Assuming life gets back to a somewhat “normal” state next year and we can be blessed with live music again, what does Sam Morrison Band have in store for 2021? Bart says, “We’re just going to roll with the punches and keep on keepin’ on!”
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SID 201223 | JIMMY ALVAREZ, EDITOR