Something Good (Song review)
Bob's song "Something Good" Won 1ST PLACE in the 2019 GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST for the Folk & Americana category. The Contest Director wrote:
"Judges praised 'Something Good' for its "original and emotionally compelling lyrical imagery and solidly devised melodic structure."
Congratulations on your winning song, R.X. Last year's competition was particularly strong in your category, making your achievement all the more impressive. Nice job!"
–– Steve Cahill
Stronger not Bitter (Home/studio 4-track LP)
Jason, Editor at Smother.net
Like the coffee on the album cover and the album title suggest, this is a strong album that doesn't leave a bitter aftertaste. Bertoldi plays Americana and roots rock with a firm notion that catchy hooks are allowed to cover over and play for as long as they'd like. His songs have a rustic attitude but a modern approach. The vocals are sugary but have a distinct flavor that sets them apart from so many other artists. While you may find yourself at home listening to this on the wrap-around porch in some Southern home, you'd also find comfort with this blaring through your car stereo as you go on a day-long road trip.
Jason, Editor at Smother.net
Strong Roots & Readings
Danny Mccloskey, Alternate Root
R.X. Bertoldi learned many years ago how to express his feelings in a song. The lessons came at a young age and followed a path fairly familiar to musicians. R.X. found music he liked, figured out a way to copy what he heard, and then used his guitar to write some songs of his own. Strong Roots and Readings, the recent release from R.X. Bertoldi, goes back to the singer/songwriter’s formative days, tributing artists that inspired his younger self, and re-working the tracks as a thank you to musician mentors. Many of the cuts on Strong Roots and Readings are familiar with R.X. Bertoldi keeping the memories on course with honest audio reenactments of the melodies, offering tunes such “Ooh La La” (The Faces) and “Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins) true to origins while he delivers J.J Cale’s “After Midnight” with its Tulsa groove giving a foundation to a fresh take on the track.
Bob Dylan has a firm hold on Strong Roots and Readings with his name attached to three cuts on the album. R.X. Bertoldi unearths an outtake from Dylan’s Infidels release with “Lord Protect My Child” and borrows a track Bob Dylan wrote for Eric Clapton with “If I Don’t Be There by Morning”. The album revisits a forgotten chorus from Bob Dylan that became the cornerstone for a career when Ketch Secor added verses in “Wagon Wheel”, the tune becoming a signature song for Ketch’s band, Old Crow Medicine Show. Tom Waits gets double tracking on Strong Roots and Readings as R.X. Bertoldi climbs into “Ol’ 55” and cruises down “(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night”. While the songs are familiar enough to be included as the fabric for many lives already, R.X. Bertoldi breathes new life in the tracks with a vocal warmth and a blast of energy as he covers Randy Newman (“You’ve Got a Friend in Me”), John Hiatt (“Slow Turning”), and doubles down on The Rolling Stones, giving an Americana makeover to “Beast of Burden” and “Get Off of My Cloud”.
Frame Work Revisions
Great Folk/Blues CD * * * * * author: Diane and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
R.X. Bertoldi serves up some great modern Folk/Blues music on his latest CD, “Frame Work Revisions.” Bertoldi is a one man show as he plays acoustic guitar and harmonica and brings it all together with his vocals. Although this album was recorded live at an intimate bar setting, you can hear a nice dynamic balance as the production is crisp and clean with warm and friendly ambiance. The opener, “Guiding Light,” is a testament of Bertoldi’s terrific musicianship as he draws you in with his sincere and heartfelt voice. Generous helpings of Blues on the songs, “Built for Comfort” and “Natural Fools” are dished out as Bertoldi confidently alternates between strong and solid vocals and catchy harmonica solos. If you’re looking for modern acoustic Folk/Blues music with originals and well known covers, then you will really enjoy the compositions on, “Frame Work Revisions.”
Step Up to The Present
Professional critic Justin Kreutzer (formerly of ReviewYou.com)
Hailing from Everett, Washington, veteran singer-songwriter R.X. Bertoldi just self-released his long-awaited sophomore studio album, Step Up To The Present on November 25. His rootsy style of country and folk inspired Americana is influenced by the off-kilter folk narratives of Tom Waits and Bob Dylan along with original blues legends such as Robert Johnson and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Where his debut album, Stronger Not Bitter – released in 2005 - was a purely solo effort recorded on a four-track recorder, Bertoldi steps it up on this new album with the aid of a full studio production and a host of expert Seattle-area studio musicians that helped to shape his musical vision.
“Miracle To Me” opens the album with a sweet and touching love song that references Jesus’s miracles and is set to swells of church-worthy organ and a laid back acoustic guitar-driven groove to start the album off on a high note. That love doesn’t seem to last though as, Bertoldi asks to get off of the “Broke Down Carousel” on the next song, which follows with cascading acoustic guitars, close-knit vocal harmonies and a harmonica solo. Bertoldi’s introspective and honest lyrics about love and life are universally relatable and the memorable melodies he ties them to will stick in your head well after you have finished listening. Switching it up a bit, “Step Out Of The Way” is a rollicking and fun blues rock tune that comes complete with a melodic guitar solo. “My Closest Friend” stands out with some classic country & western ornamentation like a shuffling drum beat and aching pedal steel melodies that set the scene as Bertoldi’s smooth vocals are matched up with a female vocalist whose honeyed voice complements his quite well.
Also included on the album is a pretty faithful cover of the Faces’ easy going classic rock song, “Ooh La La”, though to make it his own, Bertoldi replaces the original’s honky tonk piano riff and rousing beat for harmonica and a gentler, loping beat to great effect. The nostalgia-inducing “Feeling So Fine” is an upbeat yet bittersweet tribute to a long lost loved one that pulls on the heartstrings alongside accordion and flickering mandolin figures for another standout moment. Once again Bertoldi breaks out his old school country croon on “Dark Shadow (On The Cold Hard Ground)” which is a saloon-worthy Hank Williams-like, “tear-in-my-beer” sing-along that could be a radio hit anytime in the last forty or fifty years.
Another standout track, “Heaven Bound” is propelled by a driving acoustic guitar rhythm with a confident blues rock swagger. Next, R.X. Bertoldi best showcases his lyrical prowess with the stories of faith he weaves on the uplifting “Till The Morning Light” with such poignant and thought-provoking lines like, “Don’t ya think you put too much distance between Heaven and earth”. “Playing Games” features cyclical acoustic guitars that mingle with swampy slide guitar melodies and harmonica as he cleverly calls out someone who is unaware of their deceptive ways. As the epitome of “roots rock”, “Repaired And Found” finds Bertoldi tracing back his ancestral roots with a thankful heart set to a soundtrack of old world style instrumentation and the catchy, repeated refrain of “I can feel the traces…”. The twelve-song album closes out with “Bridge To Everything Good” and its feel good message and foot-tapping rhythm that will leave the listener wanting more.
The professional recording and full band treatment that R.X. Bertoldi gave to his new album, Step Up To The Present brought out the best in his songwriting for his strongest and most cohesive album yet.
Artist: R.X. Bertoldi Album: Step Up To The Present Reviewed by: Justin Kreitzer Rating: 4 out of 5 stars