The Almanac Story

South Fayette educator and coach has the music in him

Rob Eldridge is more than a teacher and soccer coach

“I’m absolutely a goal-oriented person, whether it’s developing a strong soccer program that is competing for WPIAL or state titles or leading a group of musicians in creating art and producing a finished product that we can be proud of,” said Eldridge.

I have a strong competitive spirit and sometimes that needs to be calmed,” he added. “I do that by reading, songwriting and through my music. For me, it’s the yin and yang of life. It works well together.”

Throughout his life, Eldridge weaved sports and music together successfully. A Vermont native, he started skiing at age 5. He began playing soccer at 7 and evolved into an All-American while excelling on the Johnson State College team that competed in the national championships. While earning his masters degree in education, Eldridge helped coach the James Madison University men’s soccer team.

At that Harrisonburg, Va., school, he met his wife, Kim. When she took the lacrosse coaching gig at Duquesne University, the Eldridge family moved to Pittsburgh, where Rob took the assistant coaching job with the Dukes men’s soccer squad in 1996.

In addition, he joined the Beadling Soccer Club as a head coach, directing teams to multiple state championships and one regional title. Between 2002-07, he served as Peters Township head coach, guiding the Indians to three section banners, one WPIAL championship and two district runner-up titles.

Since 2007, he has been at South Fayette, claiming several COTY laurels in consistently guiding the Lions to the district and state playoffs. The Lions won a WPIAL title in 2015.

Music has been with Eldridge every step of the way. Raised in a “classical formal tradition” as maternal grandparents, Elizabeth and Herbet Kenyon, were a concert pianist and opera singer, respectively, Eldridge taught himself how to play various instruments, including piano, bass and electric guitar, which he plays on stage. “Never took formal lessons,” he said.

Eldridge said he started playing because he had written songs – he has more than 100 published pieces – so he decided to learn the instruments to “be in a position to write better what I wanted to sing.”

While his mother, Roxy, is a classical vocalist, his father, Bob, introduced him to the sound he prefers and performs.

“He exposed me to all the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s music,” Eldridge said. “I caught the rock ’n’ roll bug from him. He’s an artist, painter and illustrator. He designed the cover for the release.”

“Toro Toro” features six songs written by Eldridge. The CD was recorded by Mike Ofca from Innovation Studio in Steubenville and Eldridge at his in-home studio, dubbed Sonic Planet Studios.

Eldridge is the lead vocalist. He plays guitar, keys and banjo. His next-door-neighbor, Sam Baldigowski, excels on the mandolin and lap steel. Ron Castelluci (percussion and noise makers), Jerry Courtney (bass guitar and backing vocals), Eric Drake (lead guitar and back vocals) and Bruce Virtue (drums) complete the band, which Eldridge started three years ago in Pittsburgh.

“We’ve had a couple of different lineups but it’s mostly made up of professionals and buddies, all accomplished musicians. I know they were auditioning me as much as I was auditioning them,” Eldridge said of the players, most of whom hail from Weirton, W.Va.

Featuring a blend of genres, Eldridge described the CD as rock ’n’ roll with blues elements. The six-piece ensemble delivers the swagger of bands from days gone by while echoing its own influences. If it has a sound similar to British blues and the Rolling Stones, there is good reason: Mick Jagger and the boys are Eldridge’s favorite.

“I only wish I could perform like Mick,” he laughed. “Usually I have a guitar around my shoulder, so I am unable to move around the way he does.”

During his youth, Eldridge moved around a bit. He started with The Warehouse Band playing music from a range of bands like the Hollies, Stones, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Led Zeppelin, The Cult and Tom Petty. He moved on to the Voodoo Dolls, which included one member that currently plays bass for the “Jersey Boys” production in Las Vegas. The Voodoo Dolls covered more redent bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Jane’s Addiction and supported national acts like Gov’t Mule, the Jayhawks, Blue Rodeo and Edgar Winter. One of his biggest groups was the Spring Heeled Jacks.

Eldridge’s experiences have included encounters with Mick Taylor, who replaced founder Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones after he mysteriously drowned, along with Bob Dylan, Frankie Vallie and Gov’t Mule frontman Warren Haynes, who also played with the Allman Brothers and Phil Lesh and Friends.

“I met a lot of awesome musicians,” said Eldridge, “and it’s been wonderful but not my real desire.”

As he aged, Eldridge said his goals changed. While he has released a solo record on vinyl that can be heard on Pandora and Spotify, written background music for independent films and documentaries, and provided soundtracks for a local outdoor adventure show produced by Joe Rossi of Peters Township, Eldridge’s main focus is his family.

He is a father to three sons. His eldest, Ray, plays football. Heading into his senior season, he already has 15 Division I scholarship offers.

“He’s a self-made kid, good student, hard worker,” said Eldridge. “He did all the right things and followed Joe Rossi’s ground rules, and that had a big payoff.”

Eldridge’s two other boys – Gavin, a sophomore, and Chad, a freshman – have followed in their father’s footsteps and play soccer.

“I have been driven by raising my sons,” Eldridge said.

Through his music, he is driven to expose others to the art of writing songs and performing. Eldridge says that there are other things he wants to do but sharing is foremost on his list. While he’s excited about his CD release and calls it a “celebration and culmination” of the process, he is “pushing” for newer endeavors.

“I have an opportunity to help other artists,” he said. “You know, it only takes one song.”

Read full article here

The Magpie And The Muse

New song by Rob Eldridge

Price Of Your Toll- RIE  7.9.14

words and music by Rob Eldridge

dont even know whats right or what’s real

if you add all the years you start seeing cracks in the seal

but the look in your eyes- don’t say wrong

so you do your sidestep- and walk along

ya got your shield up like tough boards on a barn

walking through life leaving hearts ragged and torn

maybe one day you’ll take a look behind

and keep tough in your pocket and dole out a little kind

 

yea the price of your toll this time cost you one (2xs)

 

one step in your woods felt like ten

got called home for dinner not knowing when

I got sore legs climbing north to south

i thought i finished up strong but you put cotton in my mouth

ya got your shield up like tough boards on a barn

hiding your nest with a magpie spinning yarn

maybe one day you’ll take a look behind

and keep me in your pocket and call it one of a kind

 

yea the price of your toll this time cost you one (2xs)

A Man With Three Names

I’m really excited about this song making the “Reverse The Sun” EP.  It was a late addition and was written and recorded very quickly on Christmas morning 2013.  Basically, the perspective is from a woman who is in a relationship with a gentleman with multiple personalities. Lyrics are below with a rough audio sample. Hope you dig.

preview-2

Update On The New EP by Rob Eldridge

Through the past few months I’ve clutched a unique instrument that has reciprocated the devotion generated through our relationship. The instrument was a Craigslist find. Stella was a brand of guitars owned by the Oscar Schmidt Company and was founded around 1899.  Notable users include Kurt Cobain (used one on the tune Polly), Ben Gibbard- Death Cab For Cutie and Lead Belly.  Stella was acquired by the Harmony Company in 1939. The brand was dissolved in 1974, and has since been reintroduced by M.B.T. International, who are now the Harmony Company’s corporate parent.

photo

I purchased a 1965 Stella for $60 bucks.  This guitar has a unique sound and through my research I learned that it’s often used as an old blues box.  I tuned mine in the open E tuning started to discover some amazing sounds when played with a finger-picking style.  I also added some slide techniques and immediately started to write a batch of songs.  The songs came quickly and the guitar sounded phenomenal mic’d up with a fairly low budget Rode NT1a.

I pulled out some old and new lyrics that I had lying around and started to arrange an acoustic based group of tunes.  I’ve always written songs in batches so to speak.  These collection of songs could best be described as very subtle and soft.  The arrangements were complex in nature but simple sounding.  I wanted to limit the tracks.  I set a goal to not go beyond 8-10 tracks and let the songs breathe.  All songs were tracked in my home studio. (Logic X – the drummer feature is amazing by the way).  When completing each song I started to create simple melodies to weave throughout.  I mostly compose melodies by humming or playing electric piano.  In the end I had 4 songs sitting at 80% completion mainly due to the fact that I made the personal promise to myself not to over edit by stacking tons of instrumentation/midi.

During this time I was communicating with Steven Foxbury at Yellow Couch Studios.  I knew in my heart that Steven was going to be part of this project.  Steven is a very talented musician, arranger, singer and mostly listener.  For me songs have to elicit emotions.  A simple vocal change or instrument choice can change the mood of a song.  He is very aware of this and understands where I was heading or where I went to get there.  I remember singing these songs and recall the feelings I had so I was adamant about maintaining the feel.  I trusted Steven and when we holed up in Yellow Couch Studio it all started to unfold.  There were magical moments that made us laugh, smile and understand.  The vocal arrangements took shape and became the fingerprint of the project.  So when you eventually get the chance to truly listen these songs the lyrics should hopefully place your ear in an uncommon space.

Usually when I dive into the recording process I don’t write new songs.  That hasn’t been the case recently.  I wrote and recorded 3 songs while mixing the other 4.  Two of these songs ended up on this EP.

I am really excited about the completion of this project called “Reverse The Sun”.  The songlist currently stands at:

Reverse The Sun, Man With Three Names, Reign Of Rain, Life’s Commercials, Feed The Wolf and White Off Rice.  I am really proud of the lyrical content on this EP.  I really believe that the dichotomy between the music and words gives the EP a quiet strength.

The EP will be mastered by Rueben Cohen, at Lurrsen Mastering in Hollywood CA.  He has mastered albums, singles and/or compilations for artists such as Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros, Incubus, Bruno Mars, Far East Movement, Skylar Grey, Snoop Dogg, Tyrese, Skylar Grey, Little Feat, Dev, Rob Zombie, Ingrid Michaelson, Marc Cohn, and Scott Weiland. Soundtracks include, Slumdog Millionaire, Pitch Perfect, Despicable Me 2, Disney’s Tangled and Cars 2, Across The Universe, Identity Thief, and Bridesmaids.  I am very thankful to my friend Jimmy Hoyson for making this contact a reality.  Jimmy is a very talented Producer/Engineer and is in high demand and has worked with artists such as Michael Jackson, Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, James Taylor, Lou Reed, Goo Goo Dolls and many more!

Another Rough Cut Idea

down my neck with melted specks… comes days once new…words they come and often spew…i look for wood bearing bronze strings…to start the fire to reach candela….not too bad for an old fella…sip and sound and swoosh around….a cup of up and half full down…no time to share as i often do…the advice from me arrowed to you…the tension of bow the sky so blue…some days so different… the weeks the same….pulled all together… by the reign of rain

your feelings are mine… and geostrategic…feeding my hungry and curing my sick…i sit in a chair and you in another…telling you tales of my heartsick brother…weight off the chest…the blankets inside…warming the wood is what you provide…for that i am grateful…better than dead…i’ll pass you the key to our joint owned stead…worried about… a certain vaccine…there is no disease.. there is no mean..some days it’s different…today its the same….pulled all together by the reign of rain..