REVIEW & INTERVIEW: Bob DiPiero & The Floating Stones

Bob DiPiero and his newly formed band,The Floating Stones, performed for a full house of fans and members of music industry on Saturday evening July 11th at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville. The Floating Stones is made up a key group of musicians who have played with top notch artists and are well recognized names on their own. Adam Beard (Will Hoge Band) on bass guitar and vocals; Shawn Victor (Brooks and Dunn) percussion; Steve Kingman (Keith Urban) keyboard and Pat Buchanan (who has played with a list of artists too long to mention) on guitar along with DiPiero.

I asked Bob if he plans on taking this show on the road and he replied “The Floating Stones is made up of some of the most gifted players in Nashville. Someone would have to come off some serious cash to get The Stones on the road; but it isn’t impossible.”

“We might be nervous, but we are not afraid” were words used to introduce himself and the band to the crowd. In true comic style that makes Bob DiPiero loved by everyone he meets, he joked that he was not there to impress anyone or was he out to get a record deal; he just wanted to have fun. The performance was one of several shows during the last couple of weeks showcasing not only the amazing talent of DiPiero as a hit songwriter and entertainer, but also the band. DiPiero stated he “simply wants to play on stage in a band.” And play he does!

In speaking with Bob I asked him why he put this group together and his response was “Because I can. I have wanted to do this since I first came to town. Playing in Rock N Roll bands is how I made a living in the Midwest before moving to Nashville. Ultimately I always just got an electric charge out of getting on a stage with a great band and rockin’ with an audience. There is no other way to get that feeling and believe me, I've tried.”

If you are anybody in the music business or you are a fan who knows who writes your favorite songs, you know who Bob DiPiero is. He has been an instrumental and key player in the Nashville music scene for the last twenty years. Not only does he write hit songs and play guitar with the best of them, but DiPiero is also a key member of Music Row’s leadership, a board member of the Country Music Association, a Leadership Nashville alumnus and former Nashville Songwriters Association, Inc., president.

He is one of Nashville's most consistent and prolific writers of hits and the reason is a pure love of the creative process. Bob DiPiero has helped make Nashville a port of call for legendary performers from all genres, writing with Neil Diamond, Carole King, Johnny Van Zant and Delbert McClinton, among many others.

I took the opportunity to ask Bob what he enjoyed most about this opportunity to perform with a band vs. the in the round which has been his norm; his response was “In The Round is actually something that took me a lot of getting used to. I never sat on a chair and performed ‘til I got to Nashville. I find it much harder to sing properly sitting versus standing. I also miss the sound of an electric guitar played well backed by a kickass rhythm section. There is only so much passion that can be coaxed out of an acoustic guitar. Also, it seems a lot of folks can learn some chords, write some songs and then sit in a circle with some other folks and play those songs. Not everyone can take the stage with a band, lead that band thru a set that is designed to have peaks and valleys and take the audience with them on a night of original music.”

He added “I’m not just a songwriter; although I am grateful to be one. I am a Rock n Roll guitar player. I'll go head to head with anyone, anytime, with an electric guitar and an amp that can take it. Volume is like the accelerator on a car. Too much and you run off the road, but the right amount in the right places and there is serious fun to be had. It has always been about getting up on stage with some badass musicians that think alike, counting to four and hoping for the best. The Floating Stones allow me to do just that and so far the shows have been awesome. People come away knocked out. That’s what I love doing. That to me is The Fountain of Youth and I intend to drink my fill this time around.”

The show opened with his Shenandoah hit song, "The Church On Cumberland Road" and was followed with a story of how people do not really believe he actually wrote all of the songs he and the band perform. He followed the opener with his first number one song by the Oak Ridge Boys', "American Made" which put his name on the music map. The song won numerous awards and was used in major ad campaigns for Miller Beer and the Baby Ruth candy bar.

I inquired if a "greatest hits" album be available with the band and Bob replied, “It seems like a natural thing to look forward to. The Stones play my songs as I have always heard them in my head. It's American Rock n Roll with lyrics that speak to real people.
Some people these days call that country. The Floating Stones get what is trying to be gotten across. I would record with them in a minute.”

The evening song list included such hits as “Blue Clear Sky” (George Strait), “Worlds Apart” (Vince Gill), “Mirror, Mirror”(Diamond Rio),”Indian Summer” (Brooks & Dunn), “Poor Me”(Joe Diffie), “You Can't Take The Honky Tonk Out Of The Girl” (Brooks & Dunn),” 'Till You Love Me” (Reba McEntire) and more songs too many to mention and ended with “Gone” (Montgomery Gentry).

Bob added in closing “I have no agenda with these performances. I am not looking for a deal, recognition or any kind or some kind of leg up on the ladder of show biz. If I still haven’t had enough of all that ego gratification at this point in my career, then I’m screwed. You can only get in The Songwriters Hall Of Fame once a lifetime. The Floating Stones is all about asking my self a question. Can I bring it to the audience enough that it satisfies me? If anybody else likes it then I am truly blessed once again.”

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