Joe Robinson is one of those ‘prick-up-your-ears’ musicians. Like Eddie Van Halen, like Jaco Pastorius, like Béla Fleck – just when you think you have heard it all, these guys move the goal posts – and most of the design of the whole ballpark. The young Australian guitar wizard has made ears prick up and jaws drop since his 2006 debut album Birdseed, recorded when Robinson was only 15. 

Mentored by Tommy Emmanuel and winning awards left, right and centre – including the grand final of ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ in 2008 – Joe Robinson has gone from strength to strength, evolving more in his short career, so far, than many artists do in a lifetime. Australia will get a chance to see Joe Robinson in action during his Australian Tour beginning late October.

TheOrangePress asked Joe to take a little time out to answer a handful of questions. Here are his responses.

Q: You recently won a place in Top 50 Best Guitarists in Australian Guitar magazine along with Best New Talent in the USA’s Guitar Player Magazine Reader’s Poll. What do these awards mean to you?

A: Its kind of ridiculous and amazing at the same time. I feel like its impossible to compare guitarists against each other, but to be recognized by magazines I grew up reading is pretty awesome.

Q: Why did you relocate from Temagog, Australia to Nashville – to be nearer the source?

A:  Well Temagog is a beautiful place, but its pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  I never really intended to move to the US, I just went there to make an album and ended up staying.

Q: How have you found living in Nashville and how has the music scene there influenced your music?

A:  Nashville is a really easy place to live and It’s more or less littered with musicians, so I’ve found there to be a lot of like minded people.  As far as the scene there influencing me, it really hasn’t. I really just do my own thing and make use of the resources there.

Q: Your new album Let Me Introduce You is a departure – quite a radical one – in that you have written mainly vocal tunes. What brought this shift about?

A: I think it was just time for a scene change.  I actually released it a year ago, and the new EP ‘Toe Jam’ has been my focus of late.  The album didn’t exactly materialize the way I had hoped, but I’m excited for this EP and am working on another to be released soon.

Q: The album covers a wide range of styles, from pop to bop to fusion – are you confident your fans will go with you for the ride?

A: I sure hope they can get a sense of what I was trying to do.  It was really just a case of me experimenting and trying to figure out where I wanted to go.

Q: Were you listening to any particular bands or artists while recording that may have influenced your sound?

A:  I’ve been listening to everyone from Jarle Bernhoft to Ben Howard to Kanye.  Not that they influence my sound, but its inspiring to hear really good new music.

Q: Your Australian Tour begins later this month. What can audiences expect?

A:  Last time I played in Aus was almost a year ago, so I think people will really notice some evolution on my part.  I think this show is somewhat heavier and has more energy than anything I’ve done previously.

 

Published (with help from Tobias Handke) October 2012 on theorangepress.net

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