Going with the flow: Alex Radus’s ‘Tributaries’ debuts in Zoellner concert
BY DAVE HOWELL
Special to The Press
Alex Radus will be looking over his entire career in a CD release concert for his first live solo release, “Tributaries.”
The Alex Radus Trio is in concert, 7:30 p.m. April 7, Baker Hall, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, 420 E. Packer Drive, Bethlehem. Opening the concert is Pyrenesia.
“Tributaries” expands Radus’s singer-songwriter roots to include rock, R&B, Americana and gypsy swing (“We Can’t Play Like Django”).
In varied tempos and moods, the album’s 14 tracks share the thoughtful wording and range of emotions that characterize Radus’s music.
Radus prefers to play his music in venues where audiences can listen.
“I try to get away from the bar scene. My audiences want to hear the lyrics,” Radus says.
“Tributaries” was recorded live at Godfrey Daniels, Bethlehem.
“When you are live, anything can happen,” he says.
“Godfrey’s has nice, quiet audiences. When I listened back on the recording of the show, only a couple of the songs didn’t make the cut for the album.”
Radus, who moved to Pennsylvania in 2005 after growing up in New Jersey, has performed at Godfrey’s many times. He has played at Musikfest; World Cafe, Philadelphia, and the former CBGB’s, New York City.
The lyrics of Radus’s songs, although sometimes based on personal experiences, have a universal appeal.
“They are general enough that anyone can take something from it. They are not too specific. Everyone can see something of their own experience in them,” Radus says in a phone interview.
“Cassini,” which is on the album, is about NASA’s Cassini research spacecraft, which reflects Radus’s interest in astronomy.
“I read an article a couple of years ago that the orbiter was about to run out of fuel. They didn’t want it to crash on one of Saturn’s moons and contaminate it with terrestrial microbes. It made one last visit to Saturn’s moon Titan for a ‘goodbye kiss’ before it burned up in the atmosphere.”
“Monongahela” is a river and a city near Pittsburgh. “It’s about where my grandparents grew up. The song is envisioning what it was like for them, about their generation, raising kids, and their prospects in a boom and bust steel town. In some ways, it was my home town. I spent a lot of time there as a kid. It is near and dear to my heart.”
The album’s title, “Tributaries,” is a play on the word tributes, referring to the album’s songs, and because the songs have roots in Radus’s career.
Radus, whose day job is that of an attorney, lives in Durham Township, Bucks County, with his wife and two daughters, each of whom has a song dedicated to them on “Tributaries.”
“Leaving NYC” was inspired by the duo, duende, which Radus was in from 2000 to 2005.
The concert at Zoellner is expected to include songs from two yet-to-be released albums recorded in Forest Lake, N.H.
Opening group, Pyrenesia, is a gypsy-swing-jazz-folk quartet. The band plays on two tracks on “Tributaries.” Another track includes the group’s violin player Daniella Fischetti. Pyrenesia upright bass player Daniel Manchester is a member of the Alex Radus Trio. Also in the trio, along with Radus, is drummer Charlie Heim.
Members of Pyrenesia are expected to perform with the trio on some of the songs in the concert.
In 2021, Radus and guitarist Dave Cahill released the first album of their rock project Hot4Robot.
Tickets: Zoellner Arts Center, 420 E. Packer Drive, Bethlehem; www.zoellner.cas.lehigh.edu; 610-758-2787