Marc Berger is performing at the Grand County Public Library on Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. [Photo by Jill McCracken]

Marc Berger has two passions in life: creating and recording his American roots songs, and exploring remote areas of the desert and mountain West.

Those passions collide on his most recent concept album “RIDE,” which features 10 cinematic recordings that reflect his romantic connection to the West.

Berger is bringing those songs to Moab next week for a free solo performance at the Grand County Public Library, 257 E. Center St., on Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m.

The Ithaca, New York-based singer-songwriter grew up in the northeastern U.S., and after signing his first publishing contract while in law school, he fronted rock bands and performed regularly in New York City clubs like CBGB, Wetlands and The Knitting Factory. Since then, Berger has performed at Austin’s South by Southwest Music Festival and the Kerrville Folk Festival; he has also opened shows for Bob Dylan and other national acts.

Although he hails from the other side of the country, Berger’s heart is rooted in the American West.

When he was 21, he and a friend decided on a whim to head off on a cross-country road trip that took them “everywhere,” if only for about five minutes at a time.

“When I got back to New York City, where I lived at the time, I knew my life had changed,” he told the Moab Sun News.

For the next five years in a row, he returned to the region on his own.

“It became a real passion of mine,” he said. “I didn’t care about going to Paris. I just wanted to keep going back there.”

On one of his many trips out West, he found a collection of short stories by author A.B. Guthrie on a revolving metal rack at a trading post on the Navajo Nation. It got him thinking about using his Western travels to create a set of songs in the cultural tradition of writers like Guthrie and visual artists like John Ford and Frederick Remington.

“It’s been a lifelong relationship to that stretch of territory … which ultimately led to the album,” he said.

He recorded “RIDE” over the course of several years, taking the time to create a “visual” sound that captures the spirit of the Monument Valley scenery on the cover of the album. Along the way, he had some help from well-known collaborators, including Dylan’s bandleader Tony Garnier, who also performed on Tom Waits’ landmark “Rain Dogs” album.

Garnier plays bass on one “RIDE” track, and the two have been working together on Berger’s follow-up album. Berger said he expects to throw some of those newest songs into the mix when he performs in Moab.

The precursors to those songs have earned plaudits from the likes of Jersey Beat reviewer Joe Wawrzyniak, who wrote that Berger’s “stark and straightforward musical evocation of the American West eschews cliché and sentiment in favor of an admirably clear-eyed honesty and reflectivity.”

“One can almost taste the dust and feel the desolation of the wide open prairies while listening to this exquisitely harmonic gem,” Wawrzyniak wrote.

Marc Berger to perform at library on June 14

What: Marc Berger in concert

When: Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m.

Where: Grand County Public Library, 257 E. Center St.

Cost: Free