My name is Rob Robinson and I am an American singer/songwriter, musician and producer. I was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia where I enjoyed a unique musical heritage. By an early age I was taking in a wide variety of music styles including Rock-n-Roll, R&B, Funk, Jazz, and Classical. My interest in music and performance came from both of my parent’s involvement in drum & bugle corps, an activity I also enjoyed for many years. It was in the drum corps that I realized my passion for music and performance.
During my younger years, I excelled at drumming and in particular rudimental snare drumming. This was an inspiration that came from my dad who was also a rudimental snare drummer back in the 1950's. At the age of nine I had become a member of a marching parade corps and began to nurture the skills that would one day lead me to three national snare drumming championships. From that experience I would go on to teach many aspiring percussion students, ensembles and drum corps.
Some of my earliest memories of music were from riding around in the car with my Mom listening to WFIL, AM Radio out of Philadelphia. They played the current hits and I remember really diggin' songs from Glen Campbell, Dionne Warwick, Simon & Garfunkel, Johnny Cash and Elvis. Those were really good songs with great melodies and I just loved singing along. As I started playing in the drum corps I was introduced to horn bands like Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago. They had a great sound too and the drums were jazzy with some great fills that really caught my attention. My Mom was a big fan of Broadway musicals and so the music from West Side Story, Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar were all part of our family record collection. Somewhere around 1973 my parents bought tickets to see the Carpenters in concert. It was like two for the price of one for me as Karen Carpenter appeared in a white evening gown with the voice of an angel and then got behind the drums and rocked my world. I've been a fan ever since!
When I started buying my own records around 1974, I was drawn to the progressive sounds of Emerson Lake and Palmer and Yes. As time went on I listened to everything I could get my hands on. From the Beatles to Frank Zappa. Chuck Mangione, Miles Davis and Chick Corea and even Classical music from Bach and Tchaikovsky. I loved diversity in musical styles and was constantly in search of something new. While the drum corps served as a solid foundation for my drumming and interest in performance, I wanted to play drum set and get into rock-n-roll. So with that in mind I started looking around school for other kids that played music. I began playing in neighborhood bands and got involved in other school music programs as well. My love for popular music became a big part of my daily life as my record collection grew and I began to play drums to everything I was listening to. This again reinforced my desire to perform and from that point on I was always in a band or continuing with my commitment to the drum corps. I was occasionally curious about other instruments and tried taking lessons on violin, trumpet and bass guitar. But playing the drums was what I did well and so I moved forward with drumming into my young adult life.
In the early to mid-nineteen eighties, I was playing in a few a different projects around the Philadelphia area. After a couple of cover bands came and went, I found myself drawn to an original project and took an active role in the creative process. I became the lyricist for a progressive rock trio I was playing with and eventually took on the lead vocal duties as well. It was during this time that I felt the desire to become more of a writer and started teaching myself guitar and piano. By 1986 I was a part of a modern pop trio called the Buggy Boys. The band had a brief and popular run around Philly but split up in mid 1988.
With no band and a feeling of immediate urgency, I started going out on auditions. I answered several adds for bands seeking a drummer including one taped to a trash can outside of a South Jersey record store. Eventually I got a call from Ben Vaughn about coming out to audition for his band. It was a good fit for all and for the next year I toured the US and Europe playing drums with this very unique, roots-based singer/songwriter. It was during that time I became aware of another world within the music universe. The ever growing alternative and independent music scene. While touring with Ben, I had the opportunity to meet musicians from all over the country and witness a thriving culture of amazingly talented artists that were touring, recording and releasing their own music. Also, during that time, we picked up a gig opening for the great John Hiatt on his Slow Turning Tour. I was smitten with Hiatt and to this day consider him one of my greatest influences as a singer/songwriter and performer.
The next decade saw my interest in songwriting grow, but I also returned to drum corps as a teacher, writer and performer. For a period of eight years my focus was back on drum corps. Amazingly, I still managed to stick with my songwriting and stockpile a pretty big collection of original music. By late 1997, I returned to the Philadelphia area and started to drum with other artists around Philly including Suzanne Gorman and Amy Carr. It was a difficult time in my life and I was struggling to keep my focus. I was in and out of a lot of projects as I tried to find my way. One highlight came during September of 2007 when I was honored for my years of commitment to the drum corps activity and inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame. I saw that as the final stamp on my drum corps career and felt sure it was time to move on with other projects. Amidst some personal challenges and moving around, I finally settled in Havre de Grace, Maryland in 2008. It was a new and healthier time for me and the feeling surrounding the Chesapeake Bay environment would inspire a whole new collection of music.
I began to write and perform as a singer/songwriter like never before. Realizing the time was here to fully devote my energy to this part of my music life I dug in and got busy. I embarked on a recording project with my new friend and producer, Tim Sperty. In 2013 I released my first solo album "Catchin’ A Ride". I immediately started booking myself wherever I could. I would occasionally put together a band to back me on my songs, but most of the gigs were solo acoustic. In September of 2014 I booked an aggressive weekend trip where I played in Norfolk, VA on a Friday night, Charlotte, NC on Saturday night, and Frederick, MD on Sunday afternoon. It was a little bit insane considering that I only played for about thirty people all weekend. Twenty of them being on Sunday in Frederick. By the winter of 2015 I had recorded and released two more songs, "I Believe" and "Walk Away". This time with producer Ray Tilkens who played some bass and guitar on Catchin' A Ride. Also during the winter of 2015 I flew to Kansas City for the Folk Alliance International Convention. That was quite possibly one of the best experiences of my songwriting life and one that inspired me to listen to and study some of the great songwriters that I had only heard about. Townes Van Zandt being one of them. In July of 2015 I did a co-bill at the World Cafe in Philly along with my old pal Dan Montgomery. By November of 2015 I was off on another little tour. This time I was headed for Nashville and Memphis. I took my Mom with me on that trip at her request. She really wanted to go to Nashville and watch me play. Just four years later we would lose her to cancer. I am forever grateful that we had that time together.
By 2016 I was playing music full-time and touring whenever I could. I made my way to several American cities including New York, Nashville and Memphis. I met a wonderful radio host in Norfolk, Virginia named Barry Graham who invited me on his radio program “Acoustic Highway”. Barry had Catchin’ A Ride in his top 10 songs of the year and really encouraged me to keep writing songs. In 2019, after the passing of my Mom, I moved to Fort Worth, Texas where I now live. I am currently in the studio with producer Pete Miller working on a new album which will hopefully be released in 2021. The songs are powerful and speak to the journey of the last 7 years. I am excited to share this music as well as the rest of my music with you. I appreciate you taking time to read about me and encourage you to stop back and visit.