“…Rial, in shiny gray tux, bow tie, burgundy cummerbund, silver shoes and towering top hat, has a voice that goes from sleepy-balladeer tenor to a neo-Tom Waits growl with the turn of a phrase. He can certainly belt it out— but he can be silky-voiced, too, as he lilts his way through musical fare that ranges from New Orleans-flavored ragtime to gypsy tunes to Depression-era classics (“Brother, CanYou Spare a Dime?”). And there’s a gleefully macabre edge to some of his original tunes.”

Michael Upchurch – The Seattle Times August 16, 2010

“Bakelite 78 makes music that is technically executed and appears simple, yet is deceptively complex. The band seamlessly changed gears from bluesy rock to jazz. It felt like being shown a documentary film about pre-Depression era America.”

Brady McGarry SSG Music 4/13/10

“Combining elements of Vaudeville, country, and classic rock in a time when every other new band on the planet either cites the Rolling Stones or Joy Division as influences, Bakelite 78 is distinctive to say the least. Armed with the unique and stylized vocals of guitarist Robert Rial and a one-of-a-kind brass section, track for track this self- titled full-length is charming and infectious.”

Dean Ramos, Illinois Entertainer, 2006

“The first thing that knocked me back was Robert Rial’s voice. He has the voice of an itinerant minstrel: solid, strong, down-home yet with a range and timbre applicable to a stunning variety of occasions. He sounds like a crooner fronting a ragtime band on “When it’s Darkness on the Delta” and conjures the ghost of the legendary Phil Ochs on “Brown Recluse Girl”…"

Jordan Bodewell, Sepiachord 2009

About Bakelite 78

Bakelite 78′s repertoire is an eclectic mix of swing, Dixieland, blues, proto-country, and cabaret, as well as a plethora of originals in hybrids of these styles. Founding member Robert Rial arrived in Chicago in 2000, eager to engage in the music he loved most: dance orchestra music/swing, country-blues, dixieland, tin pan alley, occasional rock, and American folk. He played his guitar and tenor banjo and took solace in his 78 R.P.M. records (some discs were made from an early form of plastic similar to Bakelite). “Bakelite 78′s” preserved the music of the early 20th Century, and the band was born to keep classic crooner vocals & speak-easy jazz/lounge/cabaret alive. The original lineup of Bakelite 78 performed throughout Chicago from 2003 to 2008. The group released their acclaimed debut “It’s A Sin” in 2006, and followed up in 2008 with “Delta Disc”, which was produced in Mississippi by Jimbo Mathus of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Bakelite 78 appeared throughout Chicago at The Hideout, The Old Town School Of Folk Music, The Famous “Hiawatha” Pizza Lounge, Bad Dog Tavern, The Beat Kitchen, The California Clipper, The Candlelite, The Charleston, The Taste Of Lincoln Avenue, The Bucktown Arts Festival and more.

In 2009, Robert departed for Seattle and Bakelite 78 went through a personnel change. Robert sought multi-instrumentalists that preserved and expanded the essence of the group’s original sound. The new lineup of musicians includes Robert Rial on tenor banjo, six string, tenor guitar and voice, Erin Jordan on piano, accordion, and voice, Austin Quist on upright bass and sousaphone, Erik Reed on trumpet, Sabrina Pope on clarinet, and Steve Baz on drums. Within a couple months, the new line-up began performing original compositions (by Rial and Jordan), classic standards and rare gems. The group has performed all around Seattle, including at The Moore Theatre (during the finale of The 1st Annual Seattle International Cabaret Festival), The Can Can, The Triple Door,

The Crocodile, The Fun House, The Pink Door, The Josephine, The Seattle Tattoo Expo, Northwest Folklife Festival, and more. Bakelite 78 has recently completed their new album, What The Moon Has Done, to be released April 13, 2012, at The Columbia City Theater in Seattle.


Img_6643 edit
Img_6698 edit