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Former local finds musical success on a whim
by Krystal Bick
Apr 30, 2009 | 571 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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You could say Amber Rubarth has a little bit of an impulsive side.

Rubarth, a one-time northern Nevada resident and now up and coming indie-rock musician, signed up for a wood sculpturing program one day when she was 17 years old. Suddenly, the soon-to-be college student shifted her focus from academics, packed her bags and, without looking back, moved from California to Carson City to be in the program.

“I saw that flier and thought ‘That sounds so much cooler than college,’ ” Rubarth told the Sparks Tribune with a hearty laugh. “The next day, I unregistered for classes and a few weeks later, I had a chainsaw in my hand.”

And she kept at it for the next three years, until another impulsive move found her a new path, thanks to a little advice from one of her mentors.

“He told me that it’s not just important to do your favorite thing, it’s your obligation,” Rubarth said. “I knew I always wanted to do music, I had just never done it before. That night, I quit wood sculpture, I got a guitar and started writing songs.”

Rubarth, who had never formally learned the guitar before, began teaching herself, drawing from her musical experiences as a child when she used to play the piano.

“For the most part, it was all self-taught,” said Rubarth, who then soon moved to Reno and frequented the coffee shop open mic night circuit. “I would just throw something in my head and find out myself on the guitar.”

Since then, Rubarth, who hasn’t officially signed with any record label yet, has learned quite a bit, touring extensively both nationally and internationally, and even has The Boston Globe saying, “You will leave with a crush on her.”

How does she feel about it?

“I’m kind of the lamest person I know,” Rubarth said, exuding uncanny modesty. “I like traveling a lot and I like playing music a lot. I still don’t know how to do it somehow, I guess.”

Today, with a couple of EPs and one full album, “New Green Lines,” Rubarth started out making the MySpace route work in her favor. With a combination of word of mouth, online friend requests and booking shows herself around the west coast, Rubarth has taken off — although she doesn’t like admitting it.

Named by Hollywood’s Music Connection as among their Hot 100 Artists, Rubarth said she takes it in one day at a time, indicative of her songs and her material.

“I think I have a dose of humor in my music, mixed with some sadness,” Rubarth said. “That’s my natural way of dealing with things — finding some humor in it. A lot of the songs are really personal.”

Sounding like a cross between Patsy Cline and Feist, Rubarth has a personal style of music, discussing anything from a break up, love interest or something random like dealing with prescription drugs that weren’t filled on time, she said.

“It’s really anything that comes into my head that I have a strong feeling on,” Rubarth said. “It’s extremely vulnerable and truthful. And I would hope that people would walk away and feel like they’re more vulnerable and more honest with themselves.”

Her ultimate hope, she explains, would be finding herself at 65 years old with a great collection of songs and some mark on the musical world.

“I would feel really great if I had a ton of songs and I could still play them out,” Rubarth said, citing one of her greatest musical influences, Tom Waits, as her inspiration. “And I hope people could go throu. But she still fondly remembers driving around at night on McCarran Boulevard.

“One of my friends and I would go around the McCarran loop and he would show me different albums,” Rubarth said, before adding with a laugh, “and we would always stop to get milkshakes.”

As far as what’s ahead, Rubarth is along for the ride.

“If I have a huge decision, I usually don’t think about it, I just go for it,” Rubarth said. “All the big things in my life, you just know intuitively what you’re going to do.”

To learn more about Amber Rubarth, visit her Web site a www.amberrubarth.com.
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