This local musician makes sharing the gift of music her business by weaving her talent into every aspect of life from teaching, coordinating inspiring and performing for others.
In 1985, Elizabeth Roth came to St. Augustine for the summer. That summer has lasted 31 years.
Originally from Jacksonville, Elizabeth has logged some serious stage time.
When she was 13 years old, her father bought himself a guitar, but he rarely played it. Elizabeth picked it up and hasn’t put it down since. While she really just wanted to play guitar, she began singing as a way to accompany herself and play entire songs.
When she was just starting out performing, Elizabeth says she dealt with nerves, stage fright and lacked confidence. She got a small notebook and started keeping track of the number of gigs she was being hired to play as a way to show herself that, despite her fears, she just might be able to do this for a living. When she’d been hired for her tenth gig, she began to realize that music could very well be her career. Now, as she’s closing in on her 5,000th show, she looks to those small notebooks in which she’s tracked her gigs as a testament to both her career and the confidence she’s built over the years.
She’s also built quite a collection of small notebooks.
When she’s not playing at Tempo, The Conch House, Tradewinds, Zahariah’s or any of the other many venues on her resume, Elizabeth can be found at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, where she’s worked for the last 14 years. She’s the Assistant Director for the Outta Sight Band and N’Vision, which are comprised of high school and middle school aged students who are visually impaired. Members of the Outta Sight Band have to audition and they perform between 25 and 30 shows a year.
What’s been her most rewarding experience with music? While she’s rightly proud of the work she does at FSDB, she’s equally proud of the work she did with Body & Soul, a Jacksonville-based organization which would send musicians to perform at hospitals and nursing homes. “I’ve always believed that music is a healing thing,” says Elizabeth. “It helps you through the bad times and it makes the good times better.”
Her musical influences are varied. While she’s quick to cite artists such as Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin as having an impact on her music, she quickly includes classical music, specifically Beethoven and Dvořák, as examples of what she enjoys listening to during her scarce downtime.
In addition to her solo performances, Elizabeth also performs with her group The Grapes Of Roth, with Matt Van Rysdam and Trey Moore. She finds herself performing roughly a dozen times a month, and this January will mark 25 years that she’s been the Saturday afternoon performer at Tradewinds on Charlotte Street downtown.
And, for those keeping track, that alone would be 1,200 entries in those small notebooks.