If you like a little rock and funk with your dinner rolls — or with your crab cakes or shrimp for that matter — look up Bobby Soto or his band The Ramble.
Bobby is a man of many talents, but when he chose the music profession, he landed in the right spot. A powerful voice, solid songwriting chops, a deft touch on guitar and of late, laying down firm bottom end as the bassist and lead vocalist of one of the Outer Banks’ acclaimed power trios, The Ramble.
Now on stage alongside founding members guitarist Patrick Wayne Goller and drummer Myles Wood, Soto was enlisted to play bass after a membership shakeup. One might think by stripping a band down from six to three members, that something might be lost, besides warm bodies. Not in this case. Given Soto’s previous experience as a lead guitarist/vocalist/songwriter in his trio, “Fixture”, he knows exactly what’s required of a great bassist — and he provides it with alacrity.
But…there is another side to Mr. Soto. One that’s a bit less electric and a lot more wooden…when he does his solo acoustic gigs. I caught up with Bobby, and I posed a few questions to him.
Q: How would describe your music?
A: I like to think my music — or I suppose it’s style and/or genre at any given moment — develops from the connection between me and my instrument, as well as all of the friends and personalities I surround myself with. I’m a very rhythmic player, and I like to pull from listening to those around me to augment their sound with my own.
Q: What is it about music that touched you?
A: The first time I ever played “In the pocket,” I was probably singing in choir in middle school when I first felt it. But, it’s just like being wrapped in a blanket of sound and rhythm. It is beyond comforting, to say the least.
Q: What was the first concert you attended? Did it light a fire under you to be a musician yourself and get up on stage?
A: The first concert I ever saw was a Beach Boys reunion with Brian Wilson. It was just great because the first cd I remember owning was their “Endless Summer Greatest Hits” album. I didn’t really have a desire to play on stage at such a young age. It wasn’t until I was older and in high school that I really started thinking I could potentially make music for a living some day.
Q: What’s your favorite venue to play on the Outer Banks? To listen?
A: My favorite venue to play may actually be Fishheads in Nags Head, down on the pier. Mid-summer, you can get a real nice crowd, and the weather can be amazing. The other big, fun stages would either be The Brewing Station, or New York Pizza Pub.
Q: If you could perform with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: It would probably have to be Victor Wooten, he is just one of a kind and possibly the funkiest dude on the planet. I’m a big fan of putting on one of his songs and just playing along with the track.
Q: What one song have you heard that you wish you’d written?
A: “Rosanna” by Toto…or maybe “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Q: If you could choose a time period in which to perform music, what would it be and why?
A: I think I would go with the early-’90s. There was a lot of really good songwriting coming out of that Grunge scene. Or the early-’70s. That would just have been a sweet era to be a part of.
Q: McCartney or Lennon?
A: McCartney. I would love to have seen what Lennon could have done with more time on this Earth though.
Q: Where were you the first time you performed onstage, and how old were you?
A: Probably in a choir in like sixth or seventh grade. I wasn’t in a band on stage until I was in probably 10th grade. Maybe like 11 or 12 in a chorus, the first time I sang lead in a band on a stage I think I was 15 or 16 years old.
Q: Do you prefer solo or band gigs? Why?
A: I always prefer playing in a band over solo shows. The energy between bandmates is so much more enjoyable than just playing alone. Although, it’s always fun to play, whether I get to play with friends or just my guitar.
Q: Is there anything you get out of band gigs that you can’t get out of a solo gig?
A: I love writing with other minds around and gaining influence from my friends. Then being able to perform our collaborative works live is always a joy.
Q: How do folks find out where can you be heard this season?
A: I will be playing all summer long with The Ramble, and you can get all our information at artistecard.com/theramble. We will also be putting up posters around town with all of our summer dates here on the beach.
Q: If you were me, what question should I be asking you?
A: Maybe, “What other hobbies do you have aside from music?” I am a huge fan of board and card games, as well as table top strategy games, and comic books. As far as games go, I have an awesome group of friends and we like to play all kinds of different games from more classic things like Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons to more modern games like Zombicide.
Transplanted to the Outer Banks from the wilds of the L.A. area, singer-songwriter Scott Sechman has shared stages with Bill Medley, Tom Rush, Al Wilson and the Grass Roots during his ongoing music career. He has contributed to Mojo and various online outlets. His column, Beyond the Music, appears Fridays in Coast.