Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Roger Salloom: Profiles from the Illustrations

Roger Salloom, 2013. by Travis Simpkins

     After learning the banjo, acoustic guitar and showing a talent for songwriting, young Roger Salloom performed his first "big" show in his hometown of Worcester, MA, opening up for Jose Feliciano. Thus began a relatively quick route and ascent in the music business, perpetuated by his move to attend Indiana University, where he met Robin Sinclair, a fellow student and singer and a band called The Mother Bear. After the release of a couple local LPs, the group, now known as: Salloom, Sinclair and the Mother Bear were signed to Chess records, out of Chicago in 1968, a label they shared with a then unknown band, Creedence Clearwater Revival. San Francisco was the place to be in the late 1960's, so Salloom, Sinclair and the Mother Bear headed out that way and played the Fillmore many times with acts like Santana, The Band, Van Morrison and B.B. King... just to name a few. Their huge success seemed imminent...

Salloom, Sinclair & the Mother Bear- "Marie la Peau"

     But success proved elusive, and the bottom fell out when their backer, Marshall Chess left to work with the Rolling Stones. Problems with the band led Salloom, Sinclair and the Mother Bear to call it quits, though Roger and Robin did stay together for a while and released a couple albums as "Salloom & Sinclair." Though the band had dispersed on the verge of success, Executives had not forgotten Roger's talent for songwriting, and sent him to live in Nashville, TN. There Roger fell in with a group of well known songwriters including Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell. Though Roger liked his new home, success and a big hit still seemed hard to find, though just around the corner. He did have a regional hit in his birthplace, however, with his put-down anthem, "(Gotta Get) Out of Worcester."

Roger Salloom circa 1975

     A brief return to the West Coast to search out a new recording contract was short lived. Roger and his wife had a divorce, and Roger was given custody of his two young children. Deciding to focus on parenting, Roger Salloom gave up music and moved back to Massachusetts in 1980, settling in Northampton, where he remained musically silent for twenty years. He met his current wife, Donna, in 2000 and through her encouragement, Roger decided to give music one last try. Filmmaker Chris Sautter decided to document the process in his 2004 film, So Glad I Made It: The Saga of Roger Salloom, America's Best Unknown Songwriter. The film chronicles Roger's struggle in trying to return to the music business after two decades away from it. Roger still performs and is still writing songs, but now he seems less concerned with finding the success that escaped him for so long. Now he does it just for the love of the music.

Roger Salloom- "In the Snow"

Documentary about Roger Salloom

"So Glad I Made It..." trailer

For more info, visit:

Roger Salloom, 2012. By Travis Simpkins