Big Water returns to his Tahoe roots

Feb. 3 | 8 p.m.
Moe’s Original BBQ | Tahoe City

Feb. 4 | 2 p.m.
Alpine Bar | Alpine Meadows

Rob Selvaggio, aka Big Water, was sitting by Lake Tahoe when the name came to him. It’s the name of the band, as well. Big Water’s roots are steeped in Tahoe where he lived for 12 years playing music and teaching skiing at Alpine Meadows. He currently lives in Portland, Ore.

“I play folksy, country, blues that could be a bit Americana and a bit Indie,” he says. “I’m on the edge of those. What represents me, what I do most are folk, country and blues.”

Water explains that he’s not the kind of writer who always paints a picture for the listener.

“I like to write a song that is about an idea or concept that people have experienced,” he says.

The songs he writes are not necessarily about his personal life. Some songs he says are storytelling, but he stresses that it is important that the listener to experience the story.

Big Water was 27 when he got his first guitar and started writing in Tahoe.

“Blake Beeman, who passed on, hugely influenced the band,” says Water, who played in Tahoe bands throughout the 1990s. “Nothing fancy about my music. I share what comes out of me, the way I feel and the way I look at the world and what I like to talk about.” According to Big Water, he likes to look at the world “with positivity and love. I am a ‘solutionary’ minded person.”

Waters was age 7 when he lost his father. He admits that he’s learned a lot about “what is.” A self-proclaimed positive and upbeat person, he says he realizes he can only do as much as he can do, “I can control my attitude, health and spending.”

Much of his music comes from things that matter to him. “My Sweet Linda” is from personal experience. With other songs, he wants the meaning of the song to speak to the listener, what he or she gets from the song.

Big Water is also an educator. While on the road, he visits schools and speaks about writing, creativity and music. He’s passionate that the arts find its way back into school curriculum. He says it important to help young people be well-rounded and freethinking individuals. He hopes his “Big Water Goes to School Program” is an inspiration.

Big Water thrives on playing to a live audience. “A beautiful connection occurs, the real experience versus the virtual one,” he says.

He recently released his new album entitled, “The Moment When the Whole World Goes…WHUT!?” (an acronym for world human unanimous thought).

Big Water has lots of friends in Tahoe and he’s coming full circle back to Alpine Meadows for a 20-year reunion tour entitled, “Big Water’s Strawberry Sleigh Ride.” He wants to do a short tour and bring extra people to play with him.

“I called guys I’ve been playing with and asked them if they’d be interested in getting on the road with me. We started planning the tour last September,” he says. “I am an artist and wanted to create a creative tour.”

Big Water’s creative art director, Daniel Work, collaborated with Big Water to help visually create the tour. The name of the tour was inspired by the Japanese band, Pizzicato Five, who sang a song called, “Strawberry Sleigh Ride.”

“It’s beautiful, fun music from Burt Bacharach to disco with a French café feel,” he says.

Coming along for the ride is Brandt Schweikert on guitar and vocals, Jesse Hendricks on percussion, banjo and flute, and Dave “Sky” Hemp on drums and harmonica. There will also be a number of special guests performing at Moe’s Original BBQ on Feb. 3 and Alpine Meadows on Feb. 4.

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