Much of modern pop music is about anger and despair. Most of the rest is cotton candy intended to taste good but provides no mental, emotional or spiritual nutrition. Like many music listeners, Cleveland-based singer/songwriter Michael Rotman favors something in the middle: timeless music with good grooves and strong melodies that say something serious and are ultimately uplifting. His tunes are accessible, yet artistic. They give the listener something substantial to chew on. 'I write about truth, love, perseverance, and self-confidence,' says Rotman. 'I wouldn't necessarily say I'm writing spiritual songs but in a way I am. I feel my songs are the truest form of myself.' For Rotman, the most direct line of communication between himself and his audience is the vocal. It's something that he places enormous emphasis on. It's about the honesty. He says, 'You know how you hear some singers and you feel they aren't themselves, that they have a different voice when they are singing? The way I sing is who I am.' Rotman built his music from the ground up on a foundation of rhythm. He studied drums and spent 16 years as a drummer, although he also started writing songs on the piano in his early teens. It wasn't until the late 80s that he began to write songs on guitar, informed by such classic influences as the Beatles, Yes, Prince, Bob Marley and Elton John. Through the early 90's, Rotman honed his instrumental and songwriting chops playing in several original bands. In 1995 he joined popular Cleveland-based jam band Oroboros as keyboardist/percussionist contributing to the band's vocals and writing. Soon after Rotman's addition to the band, Oroboros began focusing more heavily on originals, performing many of Rotman's tunes, as well as recording them for the band's 1996 release, Shine. That album turned out to be the long-running band's best-selling effort ever, outselling all the rest of it's catalog combined. Shine's success got the band invited to play Thailand Jazz and Blues Fest, the Furthur Fest and the Pocono Mountain Jazz Fest, among others. Touring constantly, the band regularly played from Chicago to Nantucket to Key West. They were a huge favorite on the college circuit. The band even made the High Times Top 100! After leaving Oroboros, Rotman says, 'I left for Nantucket to write songs for a while. I wasn't planning on forming a band. My plan was to focus on songwriting. But then I discovered a great rhythm section. We then began to perform and record as The Michael Rotman Trio.' With assistance from other top Cleveland area musicians, they recorded Rotman's debut solo disc, Windswept Dog. It's ten tunes give an overview of Rotman's eclectic original songwriting with it's pop, folk, world music and jazz influences. The song, it's melody and it's message are always the basis of what he does, bassist Scott Swanson and drummer Brian Golenberg enhance those tunes. In concert, the trio likes to stretch out and exercise it's musical muscles, adding new dimensions to the songs. Also, the Trio is often visited on stage by one of many well-known local musicians. In addition to playing his songs with the trio and in a solo format, Rotman stretches his own musical muscles by playing with other artists. He has recorded with pop songwriter Daria and non-classical harpist Calvin Stokes and sat in with such groups as jazz ensembles A.C.O. and One Wish and reggae group Carlos Jones and the P.L.U.S. Band. He also performs with a percussion ensemble and does demonstrations in elementary schools. These musical endeavors help to make him a more well rounded musician, giving him new ideas and musical elements to bring back to his own songwriting.