Back in 2013, while living in Lee Vining, musician Bobcat Rob fulfilled a lifelong dream: Recording a solo album. He’d been a musician for years. Originally from New Jersey, he moved out to California and moved around from place to place. He’d had bands, and even released some records, but this one was different.
“It’s something I wanted to do, I had full control over it and I could do whatever I wanted. I took my time with it,” Rob says. “I love writing with a band and I love playing with a band. But that’s just something I wanted to do before I moved back to the full band aspect.”
That solo record, which is a mostly acoustic, gritty Americana-inspired record, led to plenty of solo gigs, and eventually a love for the city of Santa Cruz, where he relocated to roughly four years ago.
In Santa Cruz, he had a band for a while called Abalone Grey, which, as of last summer, is on an indefinite hiatus. With no band again, Rob has had the time and focus to work on his follow-up record, A Different Horse, which will be released this summer.
“I was accumulating a lot of the songs that are on this new album. They were written while I was in or right after I was in that band,” Rob says.
This new record is a different horse. It’s got a full band sound, a lot of energy, and unlike the first record, all the instruments are not played exclusively by him. The country and Americana roots influences are still intact, but now the music is much more urgent and busting at the seams with immediacy and emotion. As of late he’s been consistently playing with a backing band, The Nightly Howl.
“The material has grown from where I was at five years ago,” Rob says. “It’s a big jump from what I’ve done before.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, June 16. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.