R.X. Bertoldi
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R.X. Bertoldi

Everett, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Everett, Washington, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter




"Music Site Album Review"

Hailing from Everett, Washington, veteran singer-songwriter R.X. Bertoldi just self-released his long-awaited sophomore studio album, Step Up To The Present on November 25. His rootsy style of country and folk inspired Americana is influenced by the off-kilter folk narratives of Tom Waits and Bob Dylan along with original blues legends such as Robert Johnson and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Where his debut album, Stronger Not Bitter – released in 2005 – was a purely solo effort recorded on a four-track recorder, Bertoldi steps it up on this new album with the aid of a full studio production and a host of expert Seattle-area studio musicians that helped to shape his musical vision.

“Miracle To Me” opens the album with a sweet and touching love song that references Jesus’s miracles and is set to swells of church-worthy organ and a laid back acoustic guitar-driven groove to start the album off on a high note. That love doesn’t seem to last though as, Bertoldi asks to get off of the “Broke Down Carousel” on the next song, which follows with cascading acoustic guitars, close-knit vocal harmonies and a harmonica solo. Bertoldi’s introspective and honest lyrics about love and life are universally relatable and the memorable melodies he ties them to will stick in your head well after you have finished listening. Switching it up a bit, “Step Out Of The Way” is a rollicking and fun blues rock tune that comes complete with a melodic guitar solo. “My Closest Friend” stands out with some classic country & western ornamentation like a shuffling drum beat and aching pedal steel melodies that set the scene as Bertoldi’s smooth vocals are matched up with a female vocalist whose honeyed voice complements his quite well.

Also included on the album is a pretty faithful cover of the Faces’ easy going classic rock song, “Ooh La La”, though to make it his own, Bertoldi replaces the original’s honky tonk piano riff and rousing beat for harmonica and a gentler, loping beat to great effect. The nostalgia-inducing “Feeling So Fine” is an upbeat yet bittersweet tribute to a long lost loved one that pulls on the heartstrings alongside accordion and flickering mandolin figures for another standout moment. Once again Bertoldi breaks out his old school country croon on “Dark Shadow (On The Cold Hard Ground)” which is a saloon-worthy Hank Williams-like, “tear-in-my-beer” sing-along that could be a radio hit anytime in the last forty or fifty years.

Another standout track, “Heaven Bound” is propelled by a driving acoustic guitar rhythm with a confident blues rock swagger. Next, R.X. Bertoldi best showcases his lyrical prowess with the stories of faith he weaves on the uplifting “Till The Morning Light” with such poignant and thought-provoking lines like, “Don’t ya think you put too much distance between Heaven and earth”. “Playing Games” features cyclical acoustic guitars that mingle with swampy slide guitar melodies and harmonica as he cleverly calls out someone who is unaware of their deceptive ways. As the epitome of “roots rock”, “Repaired And Found” finds Bertoldi tracing back his ancestral roots with a thankful heart set to a soundtrack of old world style instrumentation and the catchy, repeated refrain of “I can feel the traces…”. The twelve-song album closes out with “Bridge To Everything Good” and its feel good message and foot-tapping rhythm that will leave the listener wanting more.

The professional recording and full band treatment that R.X. Bertoldi gave to his new album, Step Up To The Present brought out the best in his songwriting for his strongest and most cohesive album yet. Artist: R.X. Bertoldi

Album: Step Up To The Present
Reviewed by: Justin Kreitzer
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - ReviewYou.com

"Music Site Album Review"

Reviewer: Jason, Editor of Smother.net
Like the coffee on the album cover and the album title suggest, this is a strong album that doesn't leave a bitter aftertaste. Bertoldi plays Americana and roots rock with a firm notion that catchy hooks are allowed to cover over and play for as long as they'd like. His songs have a rustic attitude but a modern approach. The vocals are sugary but have a distinct flavor that sets them apart from so many other artists. While you may find yourself at home listening to this on the wrap-around porch in some Southern home, you'd also find comfort with this blaring through your car stereo as you go on a day-long road trip. - Smother.net

"Online Radio Program Review"

R.X. Bertoldi, a modern-day Jim Croce, has done what many good songwriters fail to do, and that is to get some decent musicians to illustrate the artist’s original ideas in their best light. With his clear and emoting vocals, clean guitar and ever present sincerity, Bertoldi manages to make his latest release, a twelve tune ensemble of excellent lyrics and musicianship, Step Up To The Present, a true work of Americana.

Unlike his debut studio album, “Stronger not Bitter”, and his live album “Frame Work Revisions” which were solo and homemade efforts, R.X. Bertoldi’s NEW CD release, “Step Up to The Present” consists of twelve full-band, professional studio tracks that range from alt-country to roots rock to modern folk to acoustic blues. In addition to the improved audio quality, Bertoldi also seems to have hit his stride with his songwriting on this CD, and true to its title, the album is definitely a “step up”. Each of the 12 songs here stands up strong on its own, but they also hold together musically and lyrically as an album.

His lyrics are descriptive and conversational, touching on universal themes such as family, love, death, homelessness, addiction, regret, redemption, hope, and courage, and all of which blend smoothly with his catchy tunes. Bertoldi’s vocals benefit from the professional studio also, sounding clearer and more prominent in the mix than on his first studio CD. Several of these new tracks have already garnered prerelease critical acclaim. - KIT21.com

"Online Radio Program Review"

We love "Stronger Not Bitter"!
Reviewer: cloud nine and cloud seven
Internet Music Radio, "Gone Fishing for Blue Skies", loves the world of R.X. Bertoldi. - Internet Music Radio


Still working on that hot first release.



Born and raised in Washington State, Bertoldi's learned all he knows about music from listening to other songwriters and musicians. He's been strongly inspired and influenced by the music of Robert Johnson, Lightnin' Hopkins, Little Walter, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and Tom Waits.

He started writing his own songs about 15 years ago, and it came as a welcome surprise to learn that--along with his family and friends--professional critics also appreciate his work. About half the songs and/or lyrics on his debut record have been recognized in major song contests, including the John Lennon Song Contest, Billboard Song Contest, Unisong Contest, and the American Songwriter Magazine's Lyric Contest.

His song "Black Coffee in the Mornin'" earned him a Runner Up Award in the John Lennon Song Contest, placing 5th out of more than 2,200 songs in the Folk category. "Black Coffee..." also brought him an Honorable Mention Award in the R&B/Blues category of the Billboard Contest, finishing " 278th out of all (tens of thousands) entries."

His song "My Closest Friend" -- from his most recent studio CD, "Step Up to The Present"-- qualified him as one of only 60 finalists in the United States in the 2013 Mountain Stage New Music Contest.  Other songs and lyrics from the album have also received critical acclaim from Song of The Year Contest, American Songwriter Magazine's Lyric Contest, and the Dallas Songwriters Song Contest.

Band Members