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Live Lunch Break - Mister Roper

Mister Roper
Mister Roper Peter Huoppi/The Day Buy Photo

 

Well, hell! You forgot to watch The Day's inaugural Live Lunch Break for 2015, didn't you? (Even though we stream every Thursday at noon from the Telegraph Record Shop in New London.) We had an actual "road" act, too: Mister Roper joined us from Woodstock, N.Y. - one of the most music-happy communities in the known universe. Comprised of singer-songwriters Rick Schneider and Eric Squindo, Mister Roper performed eight fine roots/Americana-esque tunes - many from their recently released and self-titled debut album. Of course, we archive all of our "Lunch Break" episodes at theday.com, so dial it up and find out such things as:

 

• What it's like when Garth Hudson of The Band sits down and watches you perform.

• What's it's like when Aaron "Professor Louie" Hurwitz - longtime musical director for The Band - actually produces your album.

• Why a 17-degree temperature in New London qualifies as "balmy."

Here Is The Link to the Archived Live Webcast from 1/8/15. Noon.


Live Lunch Break hosts Mister Roper 

 

Those musician folks who live up in the Woodstock region of New York aren't kidding around. There's the whole Band/Dylan association. Todd Rundgren and his Bearsville Studios. Hendrix lived there. Pat Metheny lives there and so does Bonnie Raitt. Tony Levin is an indelible presence - when he's not touring with Peter Gabriel or King Crimson. And so on ...

Not to be overlooked in all of this is Mister Roper, a roots-folk outfit headed up by singer-songwriters Eric Squindo and Rick Schneider. Sounding like Rick Danko moved into Butch Hancock's cabin and they made stew together, Mister Roper mine the rich ore of Americana's past even as their recently released, self-titled album looks to the future.

Mister Roper appear Thursday as the first guests on The Day's 2015 "Live Lunch Break" calendar.

It takes place at noon, as always, in New London's Telegraph Record Shop.

- RICK KOSTER

Live Lunch Break, noon Tuesday, The Telegraph, 19 Golden St., New London; Mister Roper; free; theday.com.

From left, Rick Schneider, Eric Squindo


Mister Roper showcases new CD at Towne Crier
mister roper @

Mister Roper, the long-running songwriting and recording duo of Rick Schneider and Eric Squindo, make a sprightly and tender brand of folk/rock mixed up with a moody Americana of Biblical gravity and heft. It is, in other words, music right on topic in the land of Dylan and the Band; and it is written and executed with both reverence for tradition and the evergreen freshness of some quite capable true believers, helped out by a few A-list friends.

 

Mister Roper’s eponymous new CD begins with the jaunty, concise pot-stirrer “Sit Down, Kate,” which is elevated – as is much of this fine record – by the wispy organ play of local legend and Band-collaborator Professor Louie, who co-produced the record. But Schneider and Squindo don’t take long to introduce you to the other dimension of what they do. Track Two, Schneider’s “Take a Walk (Out in the Light)” is a two-chord soul-searcher that, without a single smack of a single drum, manages to elevate to the realm of the epic across its six moody, layered minutes.


Schneider and Squindo practice the subtle arts of folk narrative and folk symbolism, populating their songs with familiar, plainspoken language rich in evocative natural images and the universal personalities of the folk tradition. Through years on the circuit, both have evolved into earthy, confident and unself-conscious singers as they inhabit these timeless, yearning narratives.


The default vibe is spare, minimal and quiet, which only adds drama to such sonic interlopers as the slide-guitar-playing John Platania that haunts “Does It Hurt” and Professor Louie’s various subtle accents and atmospheres. Legendary rock drummer Gary Burke buoys three tracks here, and local scene stalwart Jason Sarubbi handles the bass with ease and taste, when required. But Mr. Roper unfailingly focuses the listener’s attention on the homely essence of the project – on the earthy, dual guitar-strumming and plaintive singing of Schneider and Squindo, who have stories to tell. Everything else is effortless and lovely folk milieu.

Mister Roper CD Release Party with the Jason Gisser Band, Thursday, October 9, 7:30 p.m., $10, Towne Crier Café, 379 Main Street, Beacon; www.townecrier.com.



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Mister Roper: Wishing and wanting captured on debut CD

POU 6:20 p.m. EDT October 2, 2014

Mister Roper features Eric Squindo and Rick Schneider - morning DJ on Red Hook-based WKZE (98.1 FM) - and the band has a new CD.


There isn't much that glitters or glows on the debut, self-titled CD release from the duo Mister Roper.

There isn't much that sparkles or shines, either. There is no shooting star, cataclysmic eruption or revelatory moment.

The opening track, "Sit Down, Katie," is a bouncy, upbeat railroad tune that will get your toes tapping more than it will get your foot stomping.

But this collection of songs from Mister Roper's Eric Squindo and Rick Schneider is likely to resonate with a lot of people, for the bleak landscape it paints, the indifference it weathers and the heartbreak it embraces. Imagine Neil Young's debut record, the one with "The Loner," on it. Imagine that dark side of Led Zeppelin given a raging pulse by guitarist Jimmy Page's slicing leads. Squindo and Schneider's vocals on this record ache, they yearn, they wish and they want. There is no salvation. And there is no self-pity.

"Clean of Thee," which closes out the record, is perhaps the best song on the CD. This tune sounds like it could have been plucked from an 1850s hymnal.

You can check out Squindo's strong vocals and the guitar licks laid down by Schneider — who is morning DJ on Red Hook-based WKZE (98.1 FM) — when Mister Roper performs at the Towne Crier Cafe in Beacon on Thursday. Squindo and Schneider, who both hail from Ulster County, will be backed by Andrew Shober on bass and Amit Shamir on drums.

You may not be up and dancing, but you are unlikely to be disappointed.

Mister Roper, with opening act, the Jason Gisser Band, plays the Towne Crier Cafe, 379 Main St., Beacon. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance; $15 at door. Call 845-855-1300 or visit www.townecrier.com for information.

Also: The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock this weekend will host some musical heavyweights. Tonight, Friday, Aimee Mann will perform with her latest musical project, the Both, with Ted Leo. And on Saturday, two musicians who performed with jazz legend Miles Davis — guitarist John Scofield and Bearsville resident and drummer Jack DeJohnette — will perform at the inaugural Woodstock Jazz Festival. Joining Scofield and DeJohnette will be John Medeski, Larry Grenadier, Ben Perowsky, Chris Speed and Uri Caine.

For tickets to either show, call 877-987-6487. For ticket questions, call 845-679-7600. Visit www.bearsvilletheater.com or call 845-679-4406 for information on the venue.

John W. Barry's column appears every Friday: jobarry@poughkeepsiejournal.com, 845-437-4822. Twitter: @JohnBarryPoJo


 

845 Scene

 

A Mister Roper CD release party takes place at 9 p.m. Sept. 28 at Uncle Willy’s Tavern and Kitchen, 31 North Front St. at Wall Street in Kingston.
Photo provided

The band Mister Roper will perform Thursday at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock.

John W. Barry, Poughkeepsie Journal 10:09 p.m. EDT September 2, 2014

The band Mister Roper will perform at 8 p.m. Thursday 9/4/14 at the Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker St., Woodstock. Admission is $10. Doors open at 7 p.m. Call 845-679-4406 or visit www.bearsvilletheater.com for information.

This show is a CD release party for the band's new, self-titled record.

Mister Roper is made up of guitarists and vocalists Rick Schneider of Phoenicia and Eric Squindo of Woodstock. In addition to being a musician, Schneider is morning host and music director at WKZE (98.1 FM) in Red Hook.

Joining Schneider and Squindo Thursday evening will be Andrew Shober on bass and vocals; Amit Shamir on drums; Aaron "Prof. Louie" Hurwitz on keyboards and accordion; and Marie Spinosa on vocals.

Both Schneider and Squindo recently took some time to field some questions about Mister Roper posed by the Journal. Here are their answers:

Rick Schneider

1 - What do you like about performing live music?

Performing live music is an incredible experience; a cathartic, powerful release of energy. It puts me in direct contact with the soul and heart of the audience. It's an experience that is shared by everyone in the room at the same time, a feeling of having something in common with everyone.

2 - How would you describe Mister Roper to someone who has never heard your music?

Real. Honest. Great songs. A lot of dynamics. An amalgamation of musical influences.

3 - Where did you get the name for the band?

The 1973 Bruce Lee film, "Enter The Dragon." Bruce Lee's American counterpart was Mr. Roper, played by John Saxon. And yes, we are aware of the TV icon from "Three's Company." There is a bit of Mister Roper in everyone - hard working individuals, making it through this lifetime.

4 - What do you enjoy about creative expression?

It's a way to share my gift; a way to share my thoughts and emotions through my art; another way to make human connections. People always have a reaction to creative expression. Some people love things that others dislike. I try my best to leave people with a positive experience after they have heard my lyrics and songs I have written, or any art I've created.

5 - What inspires you as a musician?

The learning. I am always challenged. I find inspiration in so many ways, at all different times - sorrow, joy. When inspiration strikes, I try to harness it wherever I may be.

6 - What are your musical influences?

Grateful Dead, The Band, Miles Davis, The Clash, Chuck Berry, Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, Rolling Stones.

7 - Can you describe the dynamic between you and Eric?

Eric and I are great friends. We know each other very well and are very comfortable discussing anything. When it comes to working together, we get along very well. One of us can bring something to the table, and the other can say, "That's great," "Needs this," or, "Dude, what where you thinking?" And we don't get offended. We encourage each other. It is great to bounce ideas off a confident songwriting partner I respect. We always have the "what's best for the band" mindset.

8 - Why does your musical relationship with Eric work?

We share a lot of the same musical influences. We have a lot in common. We work together for a common goal.

9 - Is there something you hope your audience takes home from your live performance?

A feeling that they just had an experience; that they were moved; something they can remember as a great night out; something that would make someone say, "I can't wait to see them again! That could've been one of the best live shows I've ever seen."

10 - How is your new record a reflection of that which drives Mister Roper.

We wanted to make an album that will stand the test of time.

Eric Squindo

1- How would you describe Mister Roper to someone who has never heard your music?

Someone recently described us as "The Band meets the Grateful Dead at a Bob Dylan concert while sitting next to Townes Van Zandt." I think that pretty much covers it.

2 - What do you enjoy about creative expression?

As a generally quiet person, it's the one simple way to get the thoughts out of my head. If people can relate, that's an added bonus.

3- What inspires you as a musician?

I'd like to say something poetic like the Catskill Mountains or an ocean sunrise. But it's mostly love and heartbreak. I've had a lot of inspiration.

4- What are your musical influences?

I grew up on 70s AM radio, so the songwriters of that time period were an early influence. However, as far as what I write, Woody Guthrie and Townes Van Zandt would have to top my list.

5- Can you describe the dynamic between you and Rick?

Rick's playing tends to be more jamband influenced, which adds a kick in the pants to my folk-rhythm style.

6-Is there something you hope your audience takes home from your live performance?

I just hope they have a good time. We appreciate how difficult it can be to go out and catch a live show these days, so we hope we make it worth the effort.