Roz Tate Releases Album on Bongo Records

By Ned Kulka

The Grand Convention Center in New Albany was the site for the September 7 release of the Roz Tate debut album "What About It..." on Bongo Records. Bongo Records is a recently established Louisville independent label. A crowd of about seventy-five people were on hand in the converted movie theater.

Tate, a New Albany native, has been writing and playing for ten years. A mix of Midwestern rock with blues overtones, his songs are reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen and fellow Hoosier, John Cougar Mellencamp.

The crowd danced all night to a twenty-song set of originals and a few covers. Only a power failure and the threat of a tornado emptied the floor during Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac."

Tate is a down to earth musician / songwriter who is driven by his desire to create original music. He is frustrated at being a musician in Louisville because most bars are looking for cover bands and few showcase original material.

Dale Cashon, co-owner of Bongo Records, shares Tate's frustration. He believes that Louisville is a hotbed of original talent but says it is difficult for a musician to get noticed by a record company.

"To become a famous musician, you have to move away," Cashon noted.

He started Bongo Records to remedy this situation. Hoping to capitalize on the talent, he would like to turn Louisville into a music center. Cashon points to the growing popularity of "Open Stage" nights at area bars and the recent success of the American MusicFest as proof that there is a market for original music in the city.

The album features "It's My Turn," an autobiographical piece about Tate's struggles in the music business. In the songs "Spirit of Rock & Roll" and "Do You Really Mean It?", Tate outlines his views toward music and how it should be played. "Storm Chasin' the Wind" is scheduled to be the first single off the album. The tune has the feel and drive of Mellencamp's "Lonely Ol' Night."

Overall, the album is dominated by Tate on guitar, harmonica and vocals. Jim Elliott handles drums, Paul Nevitt is on keyboards and Todd Smith is the bassist, occasionally doing some additional keyboard chores. Alycia and Senitha Hughes provide background vocals. The overall recording quality is excellent, boding well for the future efforts of Bongo.

Roz Tate is the first, and so far, only, artist on Bongo Records. With the album released, Bongo is concentrating on legal matters, public relations and the all-important distribution. The company is also working with a promoter from Florida, arranging a tour of southern college campuses for the Roz Tate Band.