Terry Robb: Redefining American Primitivism
Considered one of the top acoustic blues guitarists on the West Coast, Terry Robb is also an inventive and ever-evolving American primitive master. As an heir to the late, great John Fahey’s musical legacy, Robb is an established icon in a pantheon that includes Robbie Basho, Leo Kottke, Peter Lang, John Renbourn, and Stefan Grossman.
Because American primitivism, a transitional style that ranges between country blues and early 20th century string-band music, is often nuanced by dissonance and minor tunings, it is sometimes considered esoteric and obscure, appealing only to a musically intellectual elite. But Robb has distinguished himself by redefining this complex finger-picking style, using popular and traditional genres to open up and make this approach accessible to the general music-loving public.
Robb is that rare talent, a musician’s musician and an enormously popular performer. Onstage, his fleet fingers, wry humor, and intense focus mesmerize audiences. The passionate artistry of a Terry Robb event – whether a solo acoustic performance or a high-energy show with his electric band – often leaves new and longtime fans with mouths agape.
With the release in 2005 of his critically-acclaimed solo album, Resting Place, recorded for Memphis’ renowned Yellow Dog Records label, Robb has increasingly gained national attention. In his music-savvy hometown of Portland, Oregon, Robb is a celebrity in high demand as a performing and studio guitarist, and as a bandleader, composer, arranger, producer, and teacher. With years of real-world musical experience in his gig-bag, Robb brings this expertise to his most recent role as head of the Northwest’s new recording label, PsycheDelta Records.