Alive at Sarah Street
Bobby Syvarth began his career as a musician while enrolled in the music business program at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. In September, 1990, a song-writing master class with Paul Simon unlocked a growing passion within Bobby for the art of song-writing, and the sound of the acoustic guitar. It was then that a choice was made to dedicate his lifetime to music! Bobby had been performing as a solo act for several years and had composed a large catalog of original songs by the time he graduated college in 1994. The time spent at William Paterson University would prove to have a profound and lasting effect on Bobby's path as an artist. It was there where he was first turned on to the sound of Jazz by fellow students and passionate professors. You might call William Paterson University the poor man's Berkley! WPU is without a doubt one of the finest musical atmospheres in the Universe! So, with a solid education and fair warning to look out for the sharks, Bobby dove head first into the business of music. While gigging around the Northwest New Jersey/New York City scene, Bobby became friends with RCA Recording Artists FROM GOOD HOMES and was invited to come on tour with them as the guitar/backline tech. One look at their tour schedule and the wanderlust set in. Bobby hung up his gigging hat for about a year and got on the tour bus. It was real life graduate school in the music business. Major label life on the road with all the ups and downs imaginable. The tour took the guys across the North American continent several times...from Vancouver, BC, to San Diego, CA. then back to the east coast. FGH did gigs with a virtual who's who in music...The Dave Matthews Band, Rusted Root, Hootie and the Blowfish, Barenaked Ladies, Weir & Wasserman's Ratdog, Widespread Panic, Joan Osbourne, Bob Dylan, The Samples, Cake, and many others. For Bobby it was literally time spent 'waiting in the wings'. The musical education that was gained by quietly listening to the top artists in the pop world, from backstage, was priceless. By the summer of 1996, Bobby said goodbye to the road and was back to performing his own music full time. A $20,000 deal with the New Jersey based indie LCD Music put him in the studio for the next year, and in 1997 'Nice Hat' was released. Recorded by Don Sternecker at Mix-O-Lydian studio in Lafayette, New Jersey, 'Nice Hat' features many of the regions finest musicians, including members of FROM GOOD HOMES and some of the jazz cats Bobby worked with while at William Paterson University. 'Nice Hat' was well received by a growing number of fans and critics, and in 1998 Bobby was named Best Male Vocalist by the Friends of Northwest New Jersey Musicians. By 1998, a hard swinging band called The Bobby Syvarth Combo was built around Bobby's vision to incorporate jazz improvisation into his pop music. The combo gigged non-stop in the New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania region. With a solid rhythm section built around Bobby (acoustic guitar) Jai Dillon (bass) and Alan Bowers (drums) the Combo invited various jazz musicians 'sit in' on the gigs. A steady Sunday night hit at the Sarah Street Grill proved to be very fertile creative ground. Cats from the William Paterson Jazz program would make the trip from NJ, through the Delaware Water Gap into PA and get into some serious play! After too many magical nights of killer music vanished into thin air, a $15,000 deal was struck with LCD Music and Sarah Street Grill owner Dave LaPoint to capture the magic. In October 1998, The Bobby Syvarth Combo recorded 4 nights of music (October 29 - November 1, 1998 to be exact) and the magic was captured. The resulting record titled 'Alive At Sarah Street' featured future Sugar Hill recording artists RAILROAD EARTH members Tim Carbone (violin), John Skehan (acoustic guitar/mandolin), and Carey Harmon (percussion and harmony vocals), as well as Chris Cuzme (sax/dijereedoo), Tim Kropp (trumpet), Dan Sears (flugel horn), Steve-O Nelson (washboard), and future touring keyboardist for THE SAMPLES Len Mooney (keyboard/accordian). This second release on LCD Music firmly established Bobby as a creative artist and earned wider recognition for Bobby and his music. The song 'Dyin' Automobile Blues' received national airplay on NPR's CARTALK. The CD climbed to the number one spot on WVIA-FM Scranton AAA/Jazz playlist report in June 2000, and the CD received very strong airplay throughout the region. By the end of 2000, the buzz surrounding Bobby Syvarth was louder than a swarm of killer bees. In December, 2000 Bobby was invited as the special guest to perform with Blue Note recording artist STANLEY JORDAN at The Whitney Chapel within Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey. This sold out show was broadcast on 91.9 WNTI-FM, worlwide online! 'Opening for Stanley was just an incredible experience, and another great step in my evolution towards jazz. Witnessing Stanley's sound-check, his pre-show intensity and absolute brilliance in front of the audience was another real life lesson in how to be a classy artist!'