|Pic by Ethan James|
Since winning Australia’s Got Talent back in 2008, Joe Robinson has come a long way. So far in fact, it’s almost not worth mentioning this talent show triumph (with its connotation as a crass and questionable way of entering the industry), and indeed, he was a consummate guitarist long before he ventured forth to strut his stuff on prime time television. Joe Robinson, who celebrated his 20th birthday this May just gone, has become known for his six-string prowess, his technical ability and his almost unmatched drive and ambition; a welcome boost that win was, but it’s been on talent and desire alone that he’s progressed since.
Today sees him based in Nashville, that true bastion of country music, where he’s spent the past nine months toiling within the confines of a studio – an environment more than a little alien to him given his obvious penchant for touring – putting together his third record, Let Me Introduce You. It’s an apt title for Robinson’s third effort in that it serves as a true introduction to Robinson the artist. Where his debut, Birdseed (’07) and second record Time Jumpin’ (’09), were the public’s first taste of the young man – both rollicking, fast-paced acoustic instrumental releases – Let Me Introduce You sees Robinson finding his feet, his style and, most importantly, his vocal prowess, the latter being something he’s not before captured on disc. This is his first record, his first introduction then, of himself as a rounded artist – a musician, not just a guy with a guitar.
“I felt like I got to a certain point, and that I needed to push myself in a new direction,” Robinson explains on why now was the time to introduce vocals into the mix, particularly given thus far, his guitar has had a voice of its own. “Turning 18 and moving to the States was a fresh start in a lot of ways, and I always wanted to sing and make an album like this. To me, the solo guitar thing was always a stepping-stone to bigger and better things, so I felt like this was the best time in my life to make this transition.
“And it has been a challenge, particularly getting used to the experience of performing live as a singer and a songwriter, because that’s something that doesn’t develop overnight, it needs to manifest,” he adds, and he’s right. Let Me Introduce You is a starting point for Robinson, it’s his first attempt at displaying his singing, his songwriting, and while the results aren’t stunning, it’s a solid indication that there’s room to move and grow, and that this isn’t just about his guitar.
Samuel J. Fell