Jenn Wertz is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, perhaps best known as an original member of Pittsburgh-based multi- platinum roots rock band Rusted Root. But she is also a successful mixed media artist, videographer, and a writer.
“I stay healthy by staying creative,” says Wertz. ”It’s my meditation. If I’m not working on something, I lose my emotional and spiritual grounding.”
Growing up in the golden age of rock radio, Wertz had always maintained a great affection for the 1970’s classic folk rock-radio aesthetic. “It still has a powerful influence on me.”
It’s a sentiment that is hard to deny while listening to the songwriting and production on her new solo album.
Produced by Wertz and Dana Cannone at The Church Recording Studio in Pittsburgh throughout 2018, in Take 'em as They Come Wertz and Cannone successfully reimagine that 70’s feel, and set it against a modern alt-country backdrop with rich production and a stand-out vocal style.
Wertz began her career with Rusted Root in1990, amid the budding arts movement in post-industrial Pittsburgh, PA.
“When I joined Rusted Root back, it was something that I stumbled into, and found I had a knack for contributing, both musically and interpersonally to the group dynamic. I had a natural comfort onstage and with improvisation, and that was a strength that I found early on.”
After years of touring and recording, Jenn left the band in 2008. “When I came home for good, I felt like my relationship with music had become strained,” Wertz laughs. “I genuinely thought that maybe that phase of my life was just coming to a close."
Except it wasn’t. In 2018 a new flood of songs and inspiration flowed into the new album.
"When the songwriting came back, like a knock at the door, I was just— oh...okay, well, come on in.” It was like the type of friend you never really lose touch with, but also all of these layers had developed. My creative expressions were informing one another all along. So, even if I’m dormant as a songwriter, it’s all connected— When I expand over here with my right brain, painting or being a mom, it all translates over to the songwriting. It’s a very rich inner life. I’m very grateful for that."
The Jenn Wertz Band
Tracey Whorton- Drums, vocal
Jesse Prentiss-Bass, vocal
Chloe Wiesc- Keys, vocal
Noah Minarik- Guitars
Sarah Siplak- Vocals, percussion
Jenn Wertz-Guitars, Harmonicas, Percussion
Projects and Discography
Jenn Wertz Band 2019-present
Rusted Root from 1990-1995, and from 2000-2008.
Isabella from 2000-2003
1990- Cruel Sun, Rusted Root/ Independent
1994- When I Woke, Rusted Root / Mercury Records
1997- Lovechild, Lovechild/ Independent
2003- Welcome to My Party, Rusted Root/ Island DefJam
2004- Jenn Wertz Acoustic, /Independent
2006- Live, Rusted Root
2019- Take 'em as They Come, Independent
Rusted Root was a Roots Rock band started in 1990 in Pittsburgh, PA. The band's 1994 release "When I Woke" (Island Def Jam) is a multiplatinum full length album featuring the hit "Send Me on my Way," which has been featured in many feature films, TV shows and commercials.
The band, known for their high energy, sweaty live shows toured for many years to sold out crowds across North America, sharing billing with classic acts like The Allman Brothers Band, The Grateful Dead, Santana, Page and Plant, and the Dave Matthews Band, among others.