Rags and Bones is the musical project of songwriter and poet Rags Rosenberg. It is Mythopoetic Folk-Rock with the weight of Leonard Cohen, the humor of John Prine, and the storytelling of Guy Clark.
"Rags writes melodic music for mature people. His style is reminiscent of the music of Leonard Cohen. As a music promoter & radio host, I commend his music to your ears. - Craig Boyer, KKRN, 88.5 Round Mountain, California
"It was a pleasure to schedule such a professional performer for Sandbox Coffeehouse. From the first contact, to our final sit down post show discussion, Rags is a real singer/songwriter. Looking forward to having Rags once again perform in the future." - Todd Ryzow , Sandbox Coffeehouse, Ventura, California
“The foul rag and bone shop of the heart,” Yeats called it – that repository of musings, detritus and discarded emotions out of which we assemble art. Songwriter-poet Phillip Rosenberg, performing under the name Rags and Bones, has spent a lifetime sifting through the leftover parts of the world and himself to try and create an archival record. At 69, he feels like he may be getting close.
Growing up in Tujunga, California just north of Los Angeles, Rosenberg came of age in the tumult of the ’60s – hitchhiking to San Francisco, touring with rock bands and avoiding the draft. Married with two children, he moved to Atlanta in the early ’80s during the early days of Atlanta hip-hop. When his marriage collapsed, he relocated to Nashville to pursue his dream of a career in songwriting. With two kids to support, to make ends meet he started a successful remodeling business, even as songwriting credits remained elusive. About to turn 50, in an intense burst of writing, he set down his life story in a series of 25 poems, which he published under the title Raised in the Shadow. No less an authority than the poet Robert Bly said of the collected poems: “I do think they’re very fresh, and they have a certain drive forward into truth.” His work has been excerpted in Black Moon and Hudson View, and he takes a measure of pride in having been the only poet to ever appear in Fine Homebuilding Magazine.
Today Rosenberg lives in an isolated 480-square-foot cabin in what he calls the People’s Republic of Joshua Tree in California’s High Desert with his wife, two cats and a rescue Labrador retriever named Steinbeck. He teaches guitar at the local music store, plays for the lunch crowd at the Joshua Tree Saloon and organizes a monthly Songwriters in the Round song pull at the Beatnik Lounge.
And here in what some have christened the land of second chances, after 40 years performing and playing in bands, he has managed to release two EPs of original songs: These Bones and Rabbit Holes, on his own Coyote Gulch Records.
“Everyone is in service to something” says Rosenberg. “I want to be in service to the song. It’s my way to embrace the ambiguities of life and deal with the terrifying uncertainty thrust upon us as we make our way, as the poet David Whyte says, ‘through the immensities.’