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In the vaulted splendor of Grand Central Terminal, a sonic sorcery undercuts the shrieking trains and rushed din of travelers. The sound of Glenn Roth’s acoustic guitar conjures an oasis of peace and beauty amid the chaos. Glenn, a licensed performer in the MTA’s Music Under New York program, is not your typical commuter from Connecticut. His fingers work magic, creating a soundscape of compelling melodies that invite you to leave the cityrush behind on an aural escape.
Glenn’s playing is fiery but not flashy, with finger-picked compositions that are complex and melodically rich. With the exception of Loop, a multilayered construct in which each flat-picked stratum is built, in turn, on another, Glenn is purely a fingerstyle player, his thumb riding the bassline and the melody driving all. His compositions suggest multiple guitars, but it’s really just one guy, ten flying fingers, one instrument.
All instrumental, Glenn’s songs suggest moods and narratives that compel the listener to fill in the details. They can evoke bright, clean images—streams bubbling over sunglazed rocks in the cool, delicate Boulder Morning--or a darker beauty, as in the eastern-tinged edginess of Reincarnation, the elusiveness of Labyrinth. His three releases to date, Innovations, Busker, and Into the Unknown, display a range of influences with uniting threads: pure virtuosity and strong songwriting.
Like many modern guitar players, Glenn’s first influence was rock music: Iron Maiden, Tool, 311, Radiohead. Listen carefully and you can hear a hint of that in his compositions—a playful chug, an airiness, a strong sense of rhythm. The most direct nod to his rock and roll past, Glenn’s instrumental version of Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills, has garnered a half million hits on YouTube and won Glenn legions of fans.
A stint in the popular Connecticut-based jam band, Fountain Project, honed his improvisational skills, but it was a Tommy Emmanuel concert that provided Glenn with a roadmap and a vision. That road has led to interesting places, including shared bills with Monty Montgomery, Tuck & Patti, Gandalph Murphy, Don Ross, Antoine Dufour, and Vicky Genfan, among others.
Glenn plays regularly throughout the northeast and tours nationally to bring his music to new fans and locales. A new CD is in the works.
•Glenn hails from Orange, Connecticut, where he began playing guitar at age 7. Teachers included John McCarthy, creator of the renowned Rock House Method of guitar instruction.
•Glenn won the 2005 Podunk bluegrass championship, despite not playing bluegrass. (Not everyone was pleased.)
•Glenn plays regularly at venues throughout the northeast, as well as performing at fairs, festivals, vineyards, restaurants, and private events.
•When he’s not on tour, Glenn teaches budding guitarists at A Sound Choice in Branford, Connecticut.
•Endorsements include Batson Guitars, Stonebridge Guitars, Shubb Capos, Elixir strings, and Moody guitar straps.
•Fans of animated fingerstyle acoustic guitar will be impressed by Roth's ability to hold sway with sheer virtuosity . . . A gifted player on the rise... (20th Century Guitar)
•Delicate, accomplished solo acoustic guitar work (PLAY: New Haven Arts & Entertainment Weekly)
•Glenn Roth of New Haven, he's great!" (Ann Nyburg, WTNH News Anchor)