A Gesture and a Word - Help Support The Rob Morsberger Documentary Film Project
At age 50, musician and poet, Rob Morsberger was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer - and it came at the high point in his career. After 25 years in the music business, critics were starting to compare his songwriting to Randy Newman, Tom Waits and even Stephen Foster. Finally, it was all starting to come together.
Rob could easily have succumbed to this shockingly grim news, but instead he used it as fuel to launch into the most prolific period of his songwriting career - determined to utilize whatever remained of his physical and spiritual resources to explore through words and music the nature of life, the inevitability of death and the infinite magic in the detail of a single moment. This musical legacy was for all to hear but it was especially for his 8 year old son so he could know and remember his father.
Filmmaker Dave Davidson had already been collaborating with Rob on a number of projects. When the diagnosis came, Rob and Dave agreed to “just keep filming” and the result is the feature documentary A Gesture and a Word. The film bears witness to this brief, but incredibly productive time, during which Rob recorded four new albums, toured with his band, collaborated on a song cycle with Brad Roberts of Crash Test Dummies and continued to enrich the work of his better-known peers with his extraordinary orchestral arrangements. The film features appearances by Roberts; Boardwalk Empire Music Producer, Stewart Lerman; Jon Herington, guitarist for Steely Dan and singer/songwriters Suzzy Roche, Loudon Wainwright III, Willie Nile and Marshall Crenshaw.
Rob passed away peacefully in June of 2013, his head filled with the sound of Gregorian chants. Since then Dave and his team have done everything they can with limited resources to edit down hundreds of hours of performances, recording sessions, medical footage and interviews down to a rough cut of A Gesture and a Word.
We are deeply grateful to the many technicians, artists and musicians who have donated time, equipment and energy to the project out of a love for Rob and respect for his musical genius. Please join them in helping us introduce the world to Rob's moving, funny, insightful music that he created during his life journey right down to its very end. Life is short. Art is long.