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Rockwell Church!
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by Alex Brown

Student Union has been having bad luck. For the fifth straight show, rain has forced their performers indoors. Nevertheless, the acoustic guitar duo Rockwell Church jammed in Benson Food Court Sept. 24 as part of Student Union's Coffeehouse Series which brings many up-and-coming bands to the university throughout the year.

Rockwell Church is a two-man acoustical band made up of lead singer and songwriter Nathan Hubbard and longtime friend Joti Rockwell on lead guitar and banjo. Rockwell Church is currently on tour to support its second album Through the Fall, which contains many upbeat, as well as slow, pondering acoustic gems. What makes Rockwell Church even more interesting is that Hubbard and Rockwell just graduated from Princeton and Haverford College, respectively, this past Spring.

Rockwell Church was only scheduled to play around an hour of their own material Tuesday night, but ended up playing for over two hours to a small, but very interested crowd.

They played 18 songs, including a few unreleased songs such as "Good-bye Chattanooga" and a new song about people's fascination with Princess Diana and her tragic death called "Paparazzi Princess." Other highlights from the show included "Click Your Heels" which Nathan referred to as the band's Wizard of Oz song, and "Hobo Dog," a humorous bluegrass song which Nathan and Joti wrote together when they were nine. Another impressive moment in Rockwell Church's performance Tuesday night was when Nathan made reference to Dave Matthew's song "Lover Lay Down" by singing a few lines from it during an extended jam: "Leading me all around. Chasing me all around in circles."

Lead singer Nathan Hubbard said he was impressed by the students who stayed for the show Tuesday: "We play best when people actually know our songs and are into the music. We really enjoyed playing here because everyone seemed genuinely interested in listening to us, rather than just talking to their friends over us."

Not only was Rockwell Church very impressive in concert, but the guys were also very talkative and friendly to the crowd between songs. They challenged anyone who wanted to take them on to the arcade game Area 51 after the concert, and commented on how the concert was conveniently located near the Krispie Kreme doughnut stand in case anyone got hungry.

After the concert, Nathan and Joti hung out in Shorty's and were very approachable and friendly guys. When asked about their musical influences, Nathan said he was impressed most by female songwriters such as Sarah MacLaughlin and Bonnie Raitt, while Joti mentioned that he was influenced by classical guitarists and bluegrass music. Nathan also said that he enjoyed bands such as Gibb Droll, Dave Matthews, Tajma Hall, and Ben Folds Five. Interestingly enough, Ben Folds, piano player for Ben Folds Five, actually played a drum track for one of the songs on Rockwell Church's debut album Inches from the Ground.

Senior Elizabeth Lenox, a long-time zealot of Rockwell Church, said: "Rockwell Church has some of the most intelligent and witty lyrics around today. Their songs are often mellow and thoughtful, and their lyrics tell both sad and humorous stories to which I can relate." By the strength of their new album Through the Fall and their performance Tuesday night in Benson, it seems that Rockwell Church indeed has a dazzling future ahead of them.


Coming Around Again, English Channel, Back in Line, Goodbye Chattanooga, Dream, Click Your Heels, Jack and Jill, Holding Out, Curious, First Time, Back on the Bus, Paparazzi Princess, Better Days, Stay the Same, Bad Vacation, Hobo Dog, Tend to Your Head, Ten Paces


Rockwell Church teamed up with distinguished producers John Alagia and Doug Derryberry (Dave Matthews Band, Shannon Worrell, jackopierce) to release their 1995 debut studio project, Inches from the Ground. Displaying a breadth of talent and songwriting, the 11-song CD contains both a full band sound on songs "Tend to Your Head" and "Jack and Jill," in addition to scaled down acoustic songs such as "Apollo" and "State I'm In." Inches from the Ground garnered local and national acclaim as it received seven Washington Area Music Award nominations and was featured on the AWARE III Compilation (other AWARE bands include Hootie and the Blowfish, Better Than Ezra, and The Verve Pipe).

Rockwell Church called on producers Alagia and Derryberry again in early 1997 to help record a second project, Through the Fall. A powerful sequel, Through the Fall is drenched in lush harmonies and riveting instrumental work. The album's 13 new songs are a lyrical and emotional journey through love, anguish, and envy on tracks like "Geneva" and "Holding Out," while maintaining a light-hearted, cleverly humorous approach to life on the songs "Click Your Heels" and "Back on the Bus." The album's first song, "Better Days," was selected by Polo/Ralph Lauren to spearhead a national radio advertising campaign showcasing independent music. Through the Fall exhibits remarkable growth and suggests a great deal more is yet to come.

South by Southwest Music Festival 1996
CMJ Music Festival, 1996
Radio play in the 20 largest U.S. markets
Seven Washington Area Music Awards nominatinos
Featured on the nationally acclaimed AWARE III Compilation CD


Nathan Church Hubbard recently graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Politics. Raised on the piano, he began taking lessons at the age of five. By the end of high school, he had picked up an acoustic guitar his parents had previously used as a doorstop and had begun writing songs. In addition to his upbringing in Washington D.C., Nathan has lived in Switzerland and South Africa, and both these experiences have had an audible impact on his songwriting. He counts the legends of the 1960's and the contemporary female singer/ songwriter movement among his strongest musical influences.

At age three, Joti Rockwell was a big fan of Itzhak Perlman and Stevie Wonder; his parents then gave him the choice of either an ice cream cone or a violin. He ended up taking violin lessons until the fifth grade when the piano gradually became his main instrument. While playing viola and piano in his high school's orchestra and jazz ensemble, respectively, Joti developed a deep interest in bluegrass style guitar. This interest continued through his time at Haverford college, where he directed an acapella group and a 14 piece funk band. Joti recently graduated with a degree in Music and Physics; he considers the acoustic guitar to be his main instrument and continues to draw from varied musical influences.

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