In its 16 years together, the Pittsburgh-born ensemble Rusted Root has released only five studio albums. This is not to suggest that the band -- led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Michael Glabicki -- is a haven for underachievers. In fact, this is more a testament to the amount of touring this group has done than it is a reflection of dwindling commercial appeal.
Sure, Rusted Root's smart blend of skittish, Talking Heads-like rhythms, Africa-based percussion stylings, Latin grooves and improvisational tendencies was once something you might actually hear on a commercial radio station. Those days -- along with the days of platinum records and hit singles -- may be gone for the band, but the real trip is just beginning. Rusted Root remains a consistently large concert draw, and its collective art continues to unfold. A new studio album, "Stereo Rodeo," is finished and will be released prior to year's end.
In the meantime, hear the band perform material from that forthcoming record in its natural environment, the concert club, when Rusted Root kicks off its fall tour inside the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.) at 7 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.
-- Jeff Miers