Eli Lieberman hits sweet spot of white boy reggae rock

Eli jpgEli Lieberman would like to save the world if he could, but really, he just wants to party.

The former South Lake Tahoe resident is back in town to help music fans get their groove on at the FNCTN Winter Music Series concert at Lake Tahoe Golf Course on Friday, Feb. 20.

Currently residing in Bend, Ore., Lieberman has been making music and riding his snowboard all over the Western U.S. for more than a decade.

“I have a few different bands that I play with,” he said. “I started Strive Roots in Denver in 2004. We moved to San Diego together as a band. We toured for a while, and then we moved to South Lake Tahoe, again as a band, and produced two albums.”

That was his second stint on South Shore; Lieberman first moved to Tahoe after graduating high school in 1996, riding competitively at Kirkwood for several years before moving to Colorado in 2000.

Lieberman’s roots are in reggae, in a variety of forms. Strive Roots had a heavy, driven metal sound with under-currents of reggae. The band was primarily a power trio, with a horn player added in at times.

“Kind of like 311 or Sublime, but a lot harder,” Lieberman said. “We call it a ‘power-groove,’ kind of like old school Metallica or some System of the Down, you know, more harmonious and melodic.”

Strive Roots wound down in recent years, as band members had families and became unable to commit to the demands of a touring schedule. With this change, Lieberman moved into solo performing as a one-man band, with guitar, tambourine, trap kick and a looping pedal included in his arsenal.

With this setup, Lieberman has been touring the Western U.S. in recent years, playing his own brand of reggae. He’s now at work on his first solo album in this style.

“I’m excited to release this new acoustic album and really start promoting acoustic American reggae, which I think is a really sweet spot in the world of white boy reggae rock,” he said.

One advantage to the solo performer’s lifestyle is the convenience of traveling, versus hitting the road with a multi-member band and all the necessary gear and luggage. He has converted his touring van to run on vegetable oil, and runs solo tours, visiting the many pals he’s made over the years.

“It makes it so fun, all my tours are like these fun vacations,” he said.

For Friday’s show, Lieberman will be joined by some of these old friends, in South Lake Tahoe’s Seth Hall on saxophone and Chris Pollock on percussion.

Eli Lieberman

with: 40 Watt Hype
When: 8:30 p.m. Friday, February 20
Where: FNCTN Winter Music Series, Lake Tahoe Golf Course
Tickets: $10



About Josh Sweigert

Josh grew up on the California coast with a deep appreciation for bluegrass and string band music as well as the great outdoors. A guitarist and singer, he plays solo acoustic gigs in South Lake Tahoe.

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