“Music has always been a bonding experience. When I was 19, I had a close friend who was terminally ill and music served as an escape from the constant reminders of his health. We would play and noodle around to help elevate his mood. My experiences with him are what taught me to listen and react. Now, if I find myself in situations where I don’t know the material being played, I rely on the conversational playfulness of my fellow musicians.”
“Mastering an instrument is an arduous task. I’m still aware of the separation between what I play on the harmonica and what I feel. Devotion to the foundational elements is paramount to developing the palate of embellishment. Ultimately, I want to be able to play a ten holed, diatonic harmonica, fully chromatically. There are three full octaves available on a diatonic harp thru bending, overblowing and overdrawing. These are skills that take decades of practice and ear training.”
“Live performances keep me motivated to keep practicing and playing. They are my opportunity to reinvent myself. I liken it to playing dress up. I am able to lose sight of all the monotony and stress of daily routine and be fully in the moment. I know I’m at my best when I’m not even aware of an audience. Eventually, I hope to perform in more intimate venues and listening rooms. It’s easy to get lost amongst loud guitars, thundering bass and drums, and socially active crowds. I love that experience too, but I want to try my hand at exclusively captivating an audience with a stripped down, delicate performance.”
“We are very fortunate to have listening rooms and a variety of venues to perform locally around the Roanoke valley. Jason Martin, Ed Walker, Johnny Buck, Kris Hodges, and others like them are actively involved in developing the region’s arts. Without these key players, so much of the local talent would remain on porches, and in basements and living rooms. Go see live music. Go feel live music. Cultivate and nurture your musical community.”
Robby plays with two local bands, Welcome to Hoonah and Ghost Eagle. He’s also known to jump on the stage from time to time and show his chops on the harmonica with a variety of local and regional acts. Check out his skills in this video of “Big Rowdy” performed last May at The Pheonix.