In 2013, Boston musician Adam Michael Rothberg was diagnosed with a rare and potentially life-threatening cancer. The treatment and fallout from his illness has resulted in his introspective new CD, Soul Of A Man.
The moody title track was performed by Blind Willie Johnson in 1930. The percussion by Fabio Pirozollo nicely complements Rothberg’s haunting vocals. “I’ve traveled different countries/Traveled to the furthest lands/Couldn’t find nobody could tell me/Tell me what is the soul of a man,” Rothberg sings.
“Gonna Be Fine” is about the lonely life of a musician on the road. Rothberg’s lyrics brilliantly capture this theme. ”Too many motel rooms sucking down diesel fumes/we all smelled like locker rooms/too much love on the phone.”
“Only Human” is about the sometimes frustrating struggle to find true love.
“Crazy For You” was clearly inspired by the works of Paul McCartney and Randy Newman. It’s a romantic jazzy composition and a throwback to a more innocent time. It’s the best McCartney tribute you could ever hope to hear.
Another highlight is “The Guitar Song,” an upbeat folk tune featuring a banjo and mandolin. “Take my vintage Cadillac car/but don’t you touch my guitar,” Rothberg sings.
“Postcards from the Moon” is an intriguing look at what God thinks of humanity. “I’d like you to walk in my shoes for a mile/I made the world in one week/But so what/Cause I watched you destroy all I made.”
“Lullaby” and “Shirley’s Gone” close out the album. They are a pair of contemplative songs about death.
Befitting the title of his album, Rothberg sings with a tremendous amount of passion and soul. These songs are imbued with heart and stir the emotions of the listener with genuine feeling. The backing musicians also do a spectacular job.
Soul Of A Man can be purchased at CDBaby.com. Some of Rothberg’s songs can be found on iTunes. Rothberg is currently touring around Massachusetts to promote the album. For a full list of dates, go to his website: amrsounds.com.