Musicians often remember certain landmarks, hotels and restaurants of cities they’ve toured before.
Jonny Rodgers, however, tends to recall the water quality.
The 40-year-old indie-pop musician and composer behind the musical project Cindertalk says the variations in water from city to city affect a major part of his stage set-up —the set of wine glasses he plays by gently wiping the edges with his finger. He fills them up with specific amounts of water to make certain pitches.
“The water system in whatever city I’m playing in affects the sound I’m able to get out of the glass,” says Rodgers, who lives in Oregon.
Rodgers will be hoping for good water quality when he performs at The Rabbit & The Dragonfly on Friday. He’ll be selling digital downloads of his upcoming album, “All A Shimmer,” to be officially released at an undetermined date.
Rodgers, born in the United Kingdom and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, spent his formative years on the road with his brother in a band called Mighty Purple. The night before his SATs, he played a show at legendary punk venue CBGB.
“I have to admit, I didn’t do as well on the SATs as I probably could have,” Rodgers says.
In his mid-20s, he began composing. This new type of musical exploration was refreshing after years of touring as a pop musician, Rodgers says.
“I almost overdosed on it a little bit,” Rodgers says of pop music.
These days Rodgers splits his time between writing indie music and composing for films and commercials.
“Right now, it’s a pretty great balance,” Rodgers says. “I feel like I’m doing both full time right now. Maybe balance is not the right word, but I’m getting to do both a lot, and that’s really cool.”
Rodgers’ work was in the 2013 Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie “Don Jon.” He landed the gig through the film’s composer, Nathan Johnson, with whom he had worked before.
The film’s music was split into three parts. Rodgers recorded stark parts for the third part on guitar — the instrument he says he is most confident in playing.
Rodgers got to work directly with Gordon-Levitt on the project.
“We recorded all the guitar stuff at his studio in LA,” Rodgers says of Gordon-Levitt. “He was there for a good portion of it. … He is super hands-on with everything he does, which is a great trait.”
Rodgers’ connection to Gordon-Levitt doesn’t end there — he also is a member of Gordon-Levitt’s open-collaborative production company, hitRECord. The online meeting grounds for creatives is how he connected with Marybeth Kern, a woodwinds player who was living in Lancaster when she recorded for Rodgers’ upcoming album. She played the baritone and tenor saxophones, clarinet, flute and piccolo on “All A Shimmer.”
Kern, who now lives in New York City, worked as resident reed player at American Music Theatre from 2012 to the beginning of 2015. While she was living in Lancaster, she and Rodgers worked together using video chat, making the collaboration work despite 2,800 miles between them.
“I love the sound of his voice,” Kern says. “I think it’s very pure and very easy to listen to. I think that the sound of the glass that he uses with the wine glasses gives it a really beautiful spark and almost like a shimmer-like quality to everything that he does.”
Because she frequently performs already prepared compositions, Kern says collaborating with Rodgers was a creatively satisfying experience.
“I love that Jonny trusts my instinct,” Kern says. “That’s very special to me, that somebody likes what I’m doing for their music, too.”
Kern says she plans on attending Rodgers’ show on Friday — a gig for which Rodgers has high hopes about the water quality.
“In my imagination, I’m hoping that Lancaster water is going to be pretty good,” Rodgers says.