"Bobby Lightfoot is the finest musician you've never heard in your life. Bobby is also a mind-bogglingly skilled poet, songwriter, arranger, singer, and instrumentalist. These are some of the finest, maturest, most clear-eyed, musicianly songs you're going to hear this or any other year. Influences range from Stevie Wonder to Brian Wilson to Steely Dan to late Andy Partridge.
Welcome to this balanced, brilliantly sane, and astonishingly talented musician."
-by neddie jingo artist review, byneddiejingo.blogspot.com
From releases on Rhino and Rykodisc to two Top 40 Gavin chart placings to sessions for Sire, Fort Apache, Kinetic and Warner Bros. to tech-ing for Jane's Addiction until his colorful firing, Bobby Lightfoot's career so far has been marked by many wierd highlights. Bobby's music is an arresting hybrid of blue-eyed soul and classically-inflected rock with arrangements that shift from rock ensemble to solo piano to live string quartet.
Bobby Lightfoot was born to a US diplomat and a concert harpsichordist in Helsinki, Finland in the darkest days of the Cold War. A love for the road came early for him; living in a maverick, expatriate family whose wanderings led them through Europe, Scandinavia and South and Central America. His first songs were born to the sound of distant automatic weapons fire in Santiago de Chile in the aftermath of Pinochet’s coup d’etat and chewing coca leaves with his brother Harrison in an ancient bus rolling through the Colombian jungle. To thrive and survive in the Third World Bobby learned how a culture could be most easily assimilated through its music, and music and language became his lifetime partners.
Bobby came to the US at 17, enrolling at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and working towards a degree in composition. His first pro band was Northeast neopsychedelic legends The Malarians, who released two albums on Rhino. In The Cool Room and Know were recorded with Radiohead producer Sean Slade at Boston’s legendary Fort Apache Studios. Bobby’s “Once Upon A Time (In Your Mind)” gave the band a top twenty college hit before Bobby left the band to pursue his own recording projects. After a couple of years of working in the studio and performing solo, Bobby put together the four-piece power pop band Mr. Sherwood to play his material live. Mr. Sherwood became a live fixture in New England and New York in the mid- ‘90’s, eventually netting Bobby a deal with the LA-based management company High Time Inc.
Bobby relocated to Southern California in 1996 and formed a new power trio called fiction. fiction started out as a sort of post-grunge R&B band, recording the full-length CD Heathen Stuff in 1995 and a unique song-cycle EP called five short stories in 1997 while rising up through the LA/San Diego/OC club scene. While Bobby and fiction began work on their next full-length album in ’98, the single “I Could Cry” from their independent EP caught on with commercial radio and by the summer of that year they had a top 40 radio hit on their hands. “I Could Cry” remained in the Gavin AC top 40 for several months, eventually reaching #27 in the fall of ’98. fiction took to the road nationally to take advantage of “I Could Cry”, playing clubs all over the South, Midwest and Northeast. Between tours fiction recorded their next CD, this is fiction, which yielded another AC hit in early ’99 with Bobby’s bluesy, alt-rock workout “Six Lanes To Nowhere”. “Six Lanes” eventually reached #32 in Gavin.
By ’02 Bobby was becoming restless with a rock scene that he found increasingly reactionary and safe, disbanded fiction and returned to Western Mass, where he felt he might find a sympathetic audience for something new and different. His current project is a string quartet/singer group called picassoface for which he writes and arranges art-song inflected material that borrows as much from Brecht, Weill and Piaf as it does from the rock canon. Bobby also plays bass guitar, electric piano and organ for Spirithouse recording artists King Radio, who recently received raves from Rolling Stone and Mojo for their Bacharach/Esquivel inspired chamber pop.
Bobby counts writers like Michael Penn, Rufus Wainwright, Elliot Smith and Leonard Cohen among his current favorites and worships frequently at the altars of Glenn Campbell and Andy Partridge. On the interpretive side Bobby is a fan of Billie Holiday, Bryan Ferry and Louis Armstrong. In literature he is prone to revisit Dickens, Pynchon, William Burroughs and The Adventures Of Tintin. As a voracious student of the string quartet format, Bobby takes lessons from Bach, Bartok, Dvorak, Phillip Glass and the classic pop arrangements of modern masters like Dorsey, Riddle and Brian Wilson.