Rusted Root

Rusted Root

Rusted Root is a band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania known for their fusion of Grateful Dead style bluegrass rock with a strong percussion section that draws from African, Latin American, Native American, and Middle Eastern influences. Rusted Root is often lumped together with other bands under the jam band label, though they have somewhat rejected this categorization.


Rusted Root formed in 1990 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and made their indie record debut in 1992 with Cruel Sun, which was rereleased in 2002. Their major-label debut album was 1994's When I Woke, a hit on college radio and a platinum record. The album hit the top 40 in early 1995, peaking at #33. Along with their increasingly well-known live shows, Rusted Root began working on contributions to the movies Twister and Home for the Holidays. Their next studio album was Remember (1996), followed by Rusted Root (1998) and Welcome to My Party (2002). Welcome to My Party was much criticised by fans, who are affectionately known as "Rootheads". Many felt the band's departure from tribal grooves to a "poppier" feel was an attempt to "sell out". Remember reached the Top 40 in the US, while Rusted Root found its sale buoyed by the use of the band's cover of The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on an episode of Ally McBeal. A live double album followed in 2004. Their greatest hits album was released in April 2005 by 20th Century Masters Collection. They have released three EPs, Evil Ways, Airplane, and Live, which came packaged with a documentary video cassette.

Rusted Root's "Send Me On My Way", which hit #72 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995 is their most commercially popular song. It was used on the soundtracks of Matilda, Ice Age, the 1996 film Pie in the Sky, YTV Canada's Are We There Yet?: World Adventure, and the Boy Scouts of America, Order of the Arrow Philmont Trail Crew promotional video that was released in the late '90s. Their music has also appeared on the television shows Party of Five and Homicide.

Although the band continues to tour, their hard-touring days appear to be over as they are devoting more time apart to pursue solo projects. Michael Glabicki has released a solo CD (Uprooted) as have Liz Berlin (AudioBioGraphical), Patrick Norman (Digital World), and Jenn Wertz with her band Isabella (also of Lovechild) and current release Shotgun Sessions. Former percussionist Jim DiSpirito released Big Silence in 2003.

On his own, drummer Jim Donovan has released 5 highly acclaimed solo CDs as well as 4 instructional drumming CDs. His newest releases include "Drum the Ecstatic International", "The Yoga of Drum and Chant" and a hand drumming instructional series called "Rhythmic Foundation Volumes 1 and 2". Fulfilling his desire to share the power of rhythm, Donovan has built a series of educational drumming workshop programs that he teaches across the US and Europe at universities, festivals, schools, corporations and specialty venues. Donovan has recently became a full time instructor of music at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA and is the current director of the Saint Francis University World Drumming Ensemble. Donovan is also a featured monthly columnist in Drum! Magazine.

Rusted Root performed at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee on June 16-18, 2006. They also played the Molson Canal Concert Series in North Tonawanda, New York on September 1, 2006, and toured throughout September. For the 2006 tour, Jason Miller, a drummer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, filled the position of drummer Jim Donovan. He is most notably a drum set player; a position he fills when performing with this band. He is currently a percussion instructor and the drum line instructor for the Mt. Lebanon High School's Mount Lebanon Percussion and teaches percussion lessons at the school as well.

Current members




  • Live (1995)
  • Evil Ways (1996)
  • Airplane (1998)

External links

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