Rich Fabec: True Blues-- and a New CD, Too!
Something happened the first time that Rich Fabec picked up a guitar.
He was just a youngster, picking up a hobby. He figured if his friend was taking lessons, then he should, too. It seemed like, at the time, there was no harm in trying. And one touch was all it took to change his life forever.
"Something just clicked," Fabec tells Nightlife. "It was like that scene in The Wizard of Oz-- one minute it was all black and white, the next, Technicolor."
Fabec may now see the world in multiple shades, but musically, it's all blue. Hailing from Anna, the musician and his band will release their third album, RFB III, at a CD release party Saturday, April 30 at Walker's Bluff. Fabec will also perform Friday, May 6 at the Trail's End Lodge and Friday, May 27 at the Palace Pizzeria, both in Cobden. In addition, Fabec plays solo sets every Wednesday at the Blue Martin in Carbondale.
At the tender age of fifteen, Fabec was trying to find gigs in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His career in blues was cemented when Stevie Ray Vaughan came to town and played at the same club in which Fabec regularly performed.
After moving to Southern Illinois, Fabec played in hot-country band Wild Horses and contemporary Christian band Calling Twelve.
Blues, however, remained his primary love, and in early 2005 Fabec released his debut blues album, Talking to Shadows. On his first effort, many of the instruments were overdubbed in the studio.
A year later, the followup, Name Your Poison, saw much growth in Fabec's lead vocals, used his live band, and seemed more authentic as a result. Fabec previously told Nightlife that compared to Talking to Shadows, Poison was "more bluesy, but not traditional blues."
Fabec says that part of the charm of blues is that it lays the foundation for artistic interpretation. The music allows musicians to place personal touches and styles into each bend of a guitar string. He said that blues is the basis for nearly every genre of music-- country, bluegrass, and rock 'n' roll in particular owe their existences to the blues.
"It's simple music," he says. "I mean, musically, there is not much to it, really-- three chords, maybe some harmonica. But it's what you can do with it. You can do so much with it."
Fabec gains his inspiration from just living. He admits that much of his earlier material tended to touch on darker topics like politics and governmental officials' lack of respect for fellow humans, particularly regarding the 2005 devastation to New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina.
With RFB III, Fabec says, his approach is different. Fabec's new songs are more about coping with problems instead of wallowing in them.
"It's not like things aren't bad now," he admits. "But it is a different way of looking at it.
"It's more of helping people through it, giving them something to listen to and persevere through all of it" he continues. "If you are stuck in a wet mud puddle, all you are going to do is just get wetter and muddier."
In addition to the new album coming out, the Rich Fabec Band underwent some changes earlier this year. Fabec says that personal issues led to the split of his former bandmates, which ushered in new members Phil Carstens on bass and Cody Middleton on drums. While personnel changes and many other obstacles stood in the way, RFB III and its impending release are right on schedule.
"The important thing is we got it out now," he says. "And we are ready to have people listen to us."
Whatever coming attractions or curves lie ahead on the road of life, Fabec says will be ready for them. He says he knows he chose the right career path and cannot see himself as anything but a musician.
"I always say that I didn't choose music," he says. "It chose me."
For more information about Fabec, check out <http://www.RichFabec.com>.
who: Rich Fabec Band
what: blues CD release party
where: Walker's Bluff
when: Saturday, April 30