Big Water
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Big Water

Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1993 | SELF

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1993
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Big Water drops CD"

Big Water (R.C. Selvaggio) is an artist, educator, producer, songwriter and most of all a singer with a voice like liquid gold. As a one man show or backed by his band, his original music is a gift of heart and soul that blends folk, country, and blues with beautiful melodies and grooving rhythms. Four CD’s, LOOK, LISTEN, AND FEEL (2001), LIFE ON EARTH (2005), IN THE GARDEN (2007) and recently released WHUT!? (2015), all let you in on how this man views the hope and the hurt of the human experience. Big Water calls Portland, Oregon his Base Camp and has toured and traveled carrying love, music, and fun to all generations everywhere he goes. From sometimes ‘singing for his supper’, to playing festivals with other artists or doing creative writing workshops with kids in schools, this artist is dedicated to his craft and to the shared experience between performer and audience. Big Water is a solid and seasoned artist to keep your eyes on with his ‘get under your skin and into your heart’ song writing style. This latest 15 Track releases “The Moment the Whole World Goes…WHUT!?” in 2015. WHUT!? stands for “World Human Unanimous Thought.”

The CD kicks things off with “Standing” an upbeat intro piece that serves up classic Americana-Rock-Pop vibe with slamming rhythm guitar, driving rhythm, rich harmonies and infectious vocal melody from Selvaggio. Track 2 “I’ll Be Waking You” keeps it rocking with its rock steady groove, warm and melodic musical overtone that showcase Big Water and company as a moving grooving unit. Track 3 keeps things moving with smooth as silk “Everything’ll Be All Right” an impressive melody with walking bassline served up against infectious vocal feel and heartfelt lyrics that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. This CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 solid tracks in a row. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts like Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, Todd Rundgren, James Taylor, David Lindley, J.D. Souther, The Grass Roots, Traveling Wilburys, Marshall Crenshaw and older material from The Eagles. The music itself is an amazing blend of classic rock, Slamming R&B, Rocking Blues and a dash of rocking pop popular in the 70 and 80.s. I would not classify this music as its more melodic rocking blues. Make no bones about it, Selvaggio and the gang bring some impressive talents to the table. He’s a great Acoustic guitarist, singer/songwriter and has a very appealing baritone and warm musical personality that sucks you in. His voice goes down smooth and his deep rich vocal delivery. You will notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere, from impressive solo guitar licks, Banjo, Stand-up Bass, Violin, Lap Steel, Harmonica, Hang Drum, Flute, well placed harmonies, keyboards/organ, Electric Piano, Piano, impressive rhythm guitar, sporadic percussion and thick as a brick rhythm section. But the most impressive thing about this CD is the amazing wit, songwriting prowess and infectious charm from Selvaggio, All musical touches are brilliant and extremely melodic, the drummer pushes the natural accents perfectly and the silky rhythm section clearly gives this production a solid backbone. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board. “The Moment the Whole World Goes…WHUT!?’ by Big Water delivers 15 classic tracks all providing deep, thought provoking wisdom with messages that are uplifting and extremely positive. Selvaggio takes many impressive vocal risks throughout the catalog indicating a strong and confident vocal ability. Selvaggio showcases an impressive baritone, power, falsetto and soulful finesse, and enough Soul to go around. All engineering aspects check out. CD possesses thick low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. The amazing lyrics to some of these songs truly personify the “love” human condition – mostly carefree subject matter that is highly entertaining. “The Moment the Whole World Goes…WHUT!?” works extremely well in this old school soul-blues-rock setting song for song and track to track. From rock steady “!,000 Mile Heartache” and “I Hold On” to soulful “Heavy Load” to jump “Let it Rain” to heartfelt “Release Me” to grooving “Stop & Boogie Down”, I Just Wanna Have a Good Time” and “Relax Your Mind” to psychedelic “Conversation With Self” this CD has something for just about everyone. CD ends with Track 15 “WHUT!?” the perfect finale.
This paragraph is dedicated to any weaknesses found during my listen, and I don’t have much to write about. CD tends to sound a tad bit dated reminiscent of rock bands popular some 20+ years ago. Though adequate it’s not the most modern sounding mix I’ve ever come across. Some of this effects the CD’s overall modern day marketability. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.
From start to finish “The Moment the Whole World Goes…WHUT!?” by Big Water pulls out all the stops and is a barn burner of a release. The music is consistent, genuine, uplifting, and extremely entertaining. More importantly it captures everything you would want from a vintage Bluesy-Soul-Rock n’ Roll performance, Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of one R.C. Selvaggio A/K/A Big Water and his band are rock solid. The lyrics are catchy, the melodies are well crafted and hooky and the musical charisma of Big Water is cut from the cloth of blues-rock legend.
9/10 Stars
Cyrus Rhodes - Rock N' Roll View

"Sept 2015 Winner Best Album Americana"

’WHUT!? Is an eclectic mix of sounds and experiences that evoke a wide range of emotions - its tracks range from the hard-hitting 'Stop and Boogie Down' to the laid-back 'Everything'll Be All Right' - each rich in clever lyrics.’ - The Akademia Music Awards

"Big Water comes to the desert for Radio Room show"

Rob Selvaggio —also known as “Big Water” — won a $3,500 HD28 Martin guitar at the 1999 Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and his world was never the same.

Since the early 1990s he’d been playing on a cheap $200 guitar.

“Winning that was a major affirmation and push for me to pursue my dream,” Selvaggio said.

The singer-songwriter adopted his name Big Water from Lake Tahoe, where he lived during the 1990s. Tahoe is a Washoe Indian word meaning big water.

Big Water was named the best local band there in 1996.

Big Water has produced three CDs — “Look, Listen and Feel,” “Life on Earth” and “In the Garden,” and has toured in Europe and the United States, playing in places like the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the First Yarmony Grass Bluegrass Festival in Bond, Colo.

Big Water has opened for and shared the bill with artists such as Honkytonk Homeslice, Railroad Earth, The Radiators, Sonia Dada, Dave Mason and Merle Saunders.

Last September at the Yarmony Festival, someone stole Selvaggio’s beloved Martin guitar from backstage.

Although it was a loss he still hopes to recover, it hasn’t soured Selvaggio on the town itself. He’s planning to return in August for the next Yarmony festival.

“It’s a great festival, really amazing,” Selvaggio said.

“I went to the Martin factory and picked out my new beautiful friend — Audrey. She’s amazing. I’ve already written new songs with her,” Selvaggio said.

“My dad died when I was a kid. You learn a lot. You grow up fast. You figure out what you need to hold on to. I had to let it go,” Selvaggio said.

Selvaggio, 45, said he grew up in the disco zone, and was heavily influenced by music of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Two of his greatest influences are James Taylor and Earth, Wind and Fire.

For the past seven years Big Water has been teaching writing and poetry to fifth-grade students in Columbus, Ohio.

“I got invited in as a writer. It’s kind of like a karaoke, coffee house thing for kids,” Big Water said.

Kids choose or write a poem and get up in front of the class and present it.

“It’s super cool. They learn how to speak, how to listen,” and be “creative thinkers,” he said.

“As I travel around I try and go to as many schools as I can,” Big Water said.

For more information visit or

“We are so excited to be able to bring a musician of this energy and talent to our Radio Room audience,” said Radio Room Manager John Anglim. “His blend of folk/Americana combined with a big spirit and a big talent is perfect for the intimate confines and acoustic qualities of the Radio Room.”

Reach Sharon Sullivan at
- Grand Junction Free Press

"A Festivarian Remembers"

Sunday, June 20, 1999. It is early afternoon on the last day of the 26th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival and I am standing by the fence in Town Park Campground with a view of the mountains, the stage, the crowd, the vendors - the whole event. With peanut butter and jelly in hand, I go over the week in my mind: the land rush for camping spots, the people, the place and the music - that moment when Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Emmie Lou Harris sang One Cool Remove and made me cry; listening to Leo Kottke from my tent with the patter of rain on the trees as his rhythm section; the late night jam sessions that filled the air into the late dark of night. I am pulled back to the present moment by the announcement of the Festival's annual raffle. Grand prize - this year a Dreadnought HD28 custom Martin guitar! We all watch as this 8 year old angel reaches up into the case. A moment of drama...then...MY NAME! I am rooted to the ground with arms and fists straight up in the air, screaming my head off! It takes a moment or two to calm down when you win anything, let alone a $3,500 Dreadnought HD28 custom Martin guitar! I have to walk around and into the venue, then up to the stage to claim my treasure.
A beautiful brand new Martin guitar and a sweet case! I get some information about my new friend, have a quick chat with the radio folks and walk away with this marvelous instrument that immediately changes my life. Blown away am I!
Things have never been the same... As a guitar playing singer/songwriter/performer, I had just received the greatest gift and hugest blessing. I knew right then the value and meaning of the moment, bit I didn't know where it would take me from there and how much value and meaning it would add to my life. I played it the day I got it and then spent three weeks just smelling the wood, looking at the workmanship, holding my guitar before I played it again. Since then, I've taken it everywhere I go and play it all the time. I have since been inspired to follow and fulfill a dream: through a grass roots effort, my music has reached across the US, Europe and parts of the East; I began recording my latest cd in December 2003 and am shooting for a June 2004 release. This guitar is one of my best friends, it is my writing and performing partner, it is my calm when I am stressed, it is my mentor and healer and much, much more. The future is uncertain, but what is certain is that my guitar was meant for me and I was meant for it and, together, we can join in healing the world. I wanted to share this story with all of you to remind you that miracles are happening, every day! This one happened to me on this day five years ago at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Let music heal the world! Breathe. Smile. Be. Robert Selvaggio - Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2004 Program


Robert Selvaggio

Robert has quite a story. It all goes back to Father's Day in 1999. He was attending the four day Telluride Bluegrass Festival up in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. On the second day of the festival he passed a stand where raffle tickets were being sold to win a Martin Herringbone HD-28. He plopped down his two dollars, filled out all of the information, kissed his ticket, folded it, bent the corner up a bit, and put it in the box.
Two days later on stage, miraculously, Robert's name was drawn from thousands of entries. In Robert's own words: "I was rooted to the ground with my arms and fists straight up in the air...screaming my head off!"
After he calmed down somewhat, he found his way backstage to claim his "treasure", and since that day, Robert and his guitar have been inseparable. His career as a singer/songwriter/performer took off. Releasing his first CD in June 2001, Rob lived out of his truck for eight months to save money for his first European tour. He traveled in England and Wales, had his guitar stolen, then got it back!
Robert now lives in Columbus, Ohio where he continues to pursue his music. Through a grass roots effort, he has managed to distribute his CDs across the US, Europe and Asia. He's working on a new album currently. When he can, he likes to perform in schools and spread as much good will as possible.
One thing is for sure.
That Martin guitar changed his life! - The Sounding Board, Martin & Co, July 2004

"Homegrown at Tahoe"

Summer 2001

Homegrown at Tahoe

Big Water returns to say good-bye and thank you
By Joy Michiel

“Believe in yourself, that’s where it’s gotta start”, begins Rob Selvaggio, aka Big Water. After ten years on the Tahoe scene, Big Water up and left in 1999 to kick it up a notch musically in the Bay Area. Since then he has emerged as a one-man show of homegrown original acoustic rock, and at the end of September will be leaving to tour Europe.

“I think it might be better for me”, explains Big Water of the European launch, feeling that their appreciation of music is different and more open-minded. And feelings are what Big Water is all about, evident in his recently released CD Look, Listen & Feel, a compilation of songs that express the joy, pain, truth, and love of life.

“I’m definitely a sensitive guy”, he admits, pointing out it’s really just “a different level of paying attention.”

Big Water began playing his original music at Tahoe in 1991. After a few years of playing solo, Big Water began adding new members one at a time. By 1996 the Big Water name had come to represent a full-blown band voted “best local rock band” by the community. But changes took effect and Big Water began to scale down, leaving the band behind. “I had to go through the process to figure out that I am Big Water”, he explains, adding he is now at the point where he is paring down and getting to his roots.

Part of getting back to his roots includes his farewell concert at Tahoe before he leaves for Europe. “It’s still home to me”, he says of the North Shore. But Big Water’s call is for a broader spectrum, a dream he intends to pursue to the fullest. “You must allow yourself to follow your dream. There are no rules”, he shares. “My goal is to put some wind in my kite and let go”.

Big Water plans to kick off his European tour at a pub in Bernau, Germany, where he played in 1988, followed by venues in Ireland, Scotland, and England. One of the highlights of his tour will be four nights at the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, where the Beatles got their start. He plans to stay at least a year overseas playing music, operating on faith and what comes from his heart. “I’m doing what I want and am supposed to do”, he says with conviction, quoting his inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s advice: “Playing small doesn’t serve the world.”

As for his own advice, Big Water hopes that his own quest will inspire others to follow their dreams and to “love as much as you can every day.”

For booking information, contact
- North Tahoe Truckee Weekly


LP - released 2001: Look, Listen & Feel
LP - released 2005: (Just a little) Life on Earth
LP - released 2007: In The Garden

LP - released 2015: WHUT!? The Moment When The Whole World Goes... WHUT!? World Human Unanimous Thought!?



I was big when I was little, 22" at birth, 5' 11" when I was 12 and now am close to 6' 5" when I stand up straight. I've always been big and I've always been loud, things are no different now. I sing, I write, I am a maker of art, I build, I teach, I learn, I live hard and most of all I love, everything!

I don't always like everything and know that life isn't always fun, but I'm a moronic optomist and see the plus in all. I get my name from my time in Lake Tahoe, CA and the local Washoe Indian translation of 'Tahoe', meaning 'Big Water'. I think life is a practice, a discipline that is beauty in motion that I meant to go and run and jump and play in. I know that I'm alive and I'm here to say, 'What up?' and 'How are you?'. 'My name's Big Water, what's yours?'

Big Water is an artist, educator, producer, songwriter and most of all a singer with a voice like liquid gold. As a one man show or with pieces, his original music is a gift of heart and soul that blends folk, country, and blues with beautiful melodies and grooving rhythms. Four CD’s, LOOK, LISTEN, AND FEEL (2001), LIFE ON EARTH (2005), IN THE GARDEN (2007) and recently released WHUT!? (2015), all let you in on how this man views the hope and the hurt of the human experience. Big Water calls Portland, Oregon his Base Camp and has toured and traveled carrying love, music, and fun to all generations everywhere he goes. From sometimes ‘singing for his supper’, to playing festivals with other artists or doing creativity workshops with kids in schools, this artist is dedicated to his craft and to the shared experience between performer and audience. Big Water is a solid and seasoned artist to keep your eyes on with his ‘get under your skin and into your heart’ song writing style. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along on his songs whether you know them or not.
Big Water is a feel good artist that shines on your spirit,
soothes your soul, and heals your heart.  
Big Heart, Big Mind,
Big Water.

I have been most fortunate to travel and play music for the last 20 years and have been back and forth across the country many times with tours in 2001, 02, 05, 08-10, 12 and 2015. Stops include: Telluride Bluegrass Festival(2004); NedFest(2010,11); Yarmony Grass(2006-10); High Sierra Music Festival(2008,10; Bluebird Cafe, Nashville, TN(2009); New York City, NY(2012); Key West, FL(2012); Chico, CA(2015); Taylor Elementary School, Grand Junction, CO(2008-10); Big Sky, MT(2006-12); N Lake Tahoe, CA(1994-); The Narrows Yacht Club, Lake Leelanau, MI(2015); The Cavern Club, Liverpool, England(2001); Numerous Radio performances and much more!

"I am Big Water, Big Water is me.
I am the ocean, the clouds, the lake, the river, pond and creek.
I am the mountains, the valleys, the desert, the animals, plants and trees.
I am Earth. I am Sky. I am Soul.
I am Life. I am Death. I am Truth.
I am Love.
Blessed and honored to be here,
I am all things, all the time.
I am Big Water, Big Water is me."

R. C. Selvaggio

Band Members