WASILLA — Americana-folk singer/songwriter Roland Roberts recently participated in a question and answer interview to discuss his first studio album, “All About Timing” and how he moved up from the Lower 48 and started a new life in Palmer.
Q: Where are you from originally?
“I’m originally from Memphis, Tennessee. I went to school in Alabama. Then I was in Idaho for a brief time. Then I lived in Colorado and Denver for a few years. Then I moved up here three years ago.”
Q: When brought you to Alaska?
“I came up in the summer of 2017 on a tour, just a solo tour playing shows and camping out of the back of my truck and just hanging out for about a month. I just absolutely fell in love with it… I drove up in April of 2018. I’ve been here ever since.”
Q: What about Alaska drew you to move up here?
“Just the wildlife and the outdoors. I’m a huge outdoorsman. I spend as much time as I can hiking, camping, fishing, snowboarding, riding dirt bikes and snowmachines… There’s just nothing else like it on Earth. That’s what brought me up man. Every day I was just wake up and couldn’t believe where I was… On my way up, I stopped at Whitehorse to visit a friend of mine, a Canadian singer/songwriter named Gordie Tentree… He said, ‘I know you haven’t picked a town yet. I just wanted to make a suggestion. I would suggest Palmer. I think you’ll like it. There’s a lot of artists and musicians, and it’s close enough to the airport… Man, he was right because I never left.”
Q: How long have you been playing music?
“I’ve been playing for 20 years, performing for 15. I’ve been actually calling myself a songwriter for about five years.”
Q: Growing up, were you always musically inclined?
“I was always inclined. I just didn’t get the bug until I was teenager. My dad was a drummer and he did a lot of professional drumming when I was a kid. My mom was a singer and we all grew up in church. I learned to sing through my mom and through my director in church… So I was always around it… I’ve just never been able to put it down since.”
Q: What was it like getting your first album together?
“It was really eye opening… The first time I did it, it just felt like I was rolling this huge stone up this hill and I was never gonna see anything come out of it. Then all of a sudden, you’re at the top of the hill and you’re going downhill and then everything doesn’t seem nearly as hard as it was.”
Q: What’s the album all about?
“It’s called all about the timing, and it’s about that in particular. I feel like most people spend most of their lives making these grand plans and even more time trying to make sure everything goes exactly how they planned it. For me, that’s kinda how I started out. Once I got out of that mindset, and just started letting things unfold, things really started changing for me… I’m ready for album number two.”
Q: How’s it feel to be at this point?
“It feels great man. It really, really does. 2020 has been just one wacky year. It’s been a rough year for everybody. I lost my brother and my father this year… but I’ve also caught some of the biggest breaks in my life this year. So, you just gotta keep pushing forward knowing that with the bad comes the good, and you just gotta focus on the good in things and work towards the future. I feel like I’ve been through a lot. I came through it a lot stronger… To have all these efforts paying off, I can almost feel my dad and my brother smiling down on me.”
Q: What’s your take on the local music scene here?
“You know, it’s really, really cool. I just love how local Alaska is, how everyone sort of bands together to support each other… Alaska is far and above most other places. The only other music scene I’ve seen that even compares to Alaska, as far as local support, is Texas... All musicians are very supportive of one another… It’s just kind of that mentality, that we’re all up here together.’
For information about Roland Roberts, visit rolandrobertsband.com.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at email@example.com