February 28th 2009 (pre blog, thus the date)
With my wife and I moving back to Europe shortly, I’ve been arranging some gigs there. I’ll be playing solo May 21-23 at the European World of Bluegrass Festival in Voorthuizen, The Netherlands and May 27 at Het Oude Raadhuis in Hoofddorp, The Netherlands (for reservations +31 (0)23 556 37 07). Also, September 4-6 at Moseley Folk Festival in Birmingham, England. (exact days and times to be announced for the festivals). If you, or someone you know, would like to book a gig around one of those dates (or even for a date that has nothing to do with those!), drop me a line.
Not quite a new review, it’s actually been up at County Sales for a while:
If you like Old-time banjo picking and you’re in the market for something different, you might try this unusual CD. But be forewarned: it ranges from the sublime to the bizarre: “songs for the Masses” it definitely ain’t. Mr Robertson is an excellent banjo picker; he also plays 12 string guitar on 4 pieces and his instrumental work is right on (check out the super picking on SOLDIER’S JOY). On a couple of tunes he plays a gut strung fretless banjo, and his 5 original pieces are interesting and well done. He also plays a fine medley of banjo tunes that incorporates BONAPARTE’S RETREAT and DUCKS ON THE MILLPOND with a couple of others in an impressive 5 and a half minute workout. The cuts that feature the 12-string guitar (plus one electric guitar cut) are bluesy, moody, and downright spooky at times. Even a one-man band piece (YOU GONNA NEED SOMEBODY ON YOUR BOND, with slide banjo, kazoo, high-hat and bass drum) adds to the overall interest. So what is so bizarre about all this? Robertson’s voice. It’s got to be the roughest voice we’ve ever heard—in Old-time, Bluegrass, Blues or whatever, and the main question we have is whether it is all a put on. Perhaps Robertson feels that this will take him back 80 or 100 years in time to where he would be considered a great find among field recording folklorists. Or perhaps this is his real voice (a scary thought). We will gladly leave that up to the listener to decide, adding again that there is some technically superb, soulful music to be heard here.
Follow that link above and buy a copy. I promise the voice isn’t contagious.