To many of us, 27 is still young. In the music business, it might feel like something closer to middle age (with apologies to Janis and Mssrs. Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Jim Morrison, etc., etc.).
For Robby Overfield, its the perfect age to take his music career to the proverbial next level.
Its called The Breaks because thats what Ive been trying to catch my whole life, Overfield said of his new EP, which hell debut Saturday night at the Henry Strater Theatre. Im also luckier than anyone Ive ever known, because I can sing and Id probably be half the person I am if I didnt have that ability.
The Detroit-area native has lived here for about six years and has immersed himself in the community in many ways. Hes become one of the busiest and most booked performers at local venues and also is active in a host of sports. His day job as sports director for the Stillwater Foundation is a position that allows him to mentor kids in both of his own passions. Stillwateris a Durango-based nonprofit that teaches people music and sports. Hell donate a portion of ticket sales from Saturday show as well as CD sales to the foundation.
Its kind of a perfect job if you have to have a job, he said.
But if The Breaks finds its way into the right hands or ears day jobs may soon be a thing of the past for Overfield. Durango is a town full of musicians with above-average talent, but Overfield has one instrument that none of his peers can match a serious set of pipes. Its one of the great intangibles of music, and theres no substitute for a powerful and unique voice.It sets Overfield apart from the field. Its at a lower register than most rock and blues singers but doesnt quite dip into the baritone/bass range.
I noticed at an early age that I can sing, and Ive always thought of the voice as an instrument. Thats how I convey my music, Overfield said.
All vocals on all six tracks of The Breaks are Overfield, expertly layered by Scott Smith at his Scooters Place studios. He had a lot of help on the record outside of Smiths technical wizardry. In addition to Overfields guitar, Zack Jones played saxophone, Oregonian Ben Scharf provided the keyboards, and Mary Elizabeth Holby came from Quebec to play violin on Northbound Gospel Train.
Each guest was on a track for a specific reason, Overfield said.
For his core group, which often performs as the Robby Overfield Trio, he is joined by Neil Hemphill on drums and Jesse Ogle on bass.(Dave Rodriguez was the in-studio drummer for The Breaks.) In Ogle, with whom he also works at Stillwater, Overfield found his creative complement as well as one of his closest friends.
And Jesses the best bass player Ive ever met, he said.
Overfield and his band have been branching out and receiving good press coverage in competitive music towns like Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Flagstaff, Ariz. The Breaks is the bands first opportunity to spread the word further. Its a high-quality sample that combines quality musicianship with personal and genuine songwriting in a professional package.
It gives people a taste of whats to come down the road, he said. I look at my life and this town as an opportunity, and I cant wait to see whats next. A lot of people are afraid of the future but I embrace it.