ORRVILLE -- Joe Robinson's sold-out audience at University of Akron Wayne College on March 16 was up close and personal for an intimate setting to see the gift that took him to the top of his country's biggest talent competition.
Since being named the 2008 winner of "Australia's Got Talent," Smokin' Joe Robinson has been proving why he deserved to be the victor, touring across the world, showing off his amazing guitar and vocal skills, accompanying the music he has spent hours writing.
Since January, Robinson has been touring the midwest and northeast states with his two musicians, Sam Marks on drums and Marcelo Bakos playing bass guitar, showcasing a wide variety of gigs and venues for his fans.
"This is my first time playing a lot of these areas," Robinson
said. "I played in Cleveland about a month ago and the show had been great. The people here are great -- they are a lot like people back in Australia."
It was at that show in Cleveland, held at the Beachland Ballroom, that University of Akron Wayne College Associate Professor of English Gary Bays, heard about Robinson and put the wheels in motion to get him booked for the March 16 show.
Hailing from the tiny town of Temagog, on the Mid North Coast of NSW, guitar genius Joe Robinson has been wowing crowds with his playing ability since he was 13 - drawing praise and admiration from his industry heroes for his prodigious skills.
Still at the tender age of 21, yet now based in Nashville, Joe has a list of credentials that would make most musicians envious. Playing stages at prestigious gatherings like Bonnaroo Music Festival; being named Best New Talent in Guitar Player Magazine's Readers Poll and making the Top 50 Best Guitarists list in Australian Guitar to name a few. His music is a unique fusion of vocally based rock, blues, jazz and R&B that's entirely his own. His new EP 'Toe Jam' is out now
It's not something one would expect a reputed guitar prodigy to say.
"I've never really been into guitar music, so to speak."
Yet that's exactly what Joe Robinson, the hyper-promoted winner of 2008'S Australia's Got Talent show (and mere 21-year old wunderkind) just dropped. Do tell.
"I mean, I've always loved people like Joe Satriani, but I've never listened to that music exclusively, or considered myself with that group of players at all," he explained. "I wasn't thinking, 'I'm gonna make a nice guitar album.' I felt like I have more to offer than just, you know, [music written for] the guitar community."
"I strive to get better. I put a lot of energy and effort into maturing," he said. "I've done a lot of touring and playing guitar shows, and the audiences were a bunch of guitar players. I kind of got bored with it."
Thus, a move toward songwriting and vocals seemed necessary. His 2012 album, Let Me Introduce You, presented Robinson with the challenge of learning lyrical songcraft. Just as, in his teen years, his performance style was mentored by Tommy Emmanuel, Robinson paired with established Nashville songwriters to hone his quill. But even that didn't satisfy — he seems eager to take more individual control of his art.
"Pretty much in every situation, I came with a musical idea and we worked on the lyrics together. On my last EP [Toe Jam], I didn't really co-write with the Nashville guys," he said. "I love living in Nashville and I love that there are so many studios and players there, but the whole concept of co-writing there can be a little stifling, especially if the people have publishing deals and are just thinking strict commercial terms and are kind of trying to fit me into something I am not. I was never comfortable with co-writes."
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