Tad Robinson Brings Soul to The Sails on July 25 at the Eiteljorg Museum

Tad Robinson Brings Soul to The Sails on July 25 at the Eiteljorg Museum

Tad Robinson performs at the Eiteljorg on July 25th

Seven-time Blues Music Award Nominee Tad Robinson adds luster to every stage he takes, and soon Eiteljorg Museum guests will be under his spell. Robinson took some time to share some of his background and experiences as a longtime soul musician with the Eiteljorg blog in anticipation of his upcoming performance.

Currently based in Greencastle, IN, Robinson has been a part of the blues scene since the mid-1990s. His first record deal in 1995 was on one of the most prestigious blues labels in the country, Delmark Records. He defines his style as “soul blues” – some Southern soul, some Northern blues. Artists like Robert Cray, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Bobby Bland inspire and influence Robinson’s blues style, which is a mixture of Chicago blues and Southern soul.

Robinson’s biggest influence as a young soul musician was Junior Wells, a Chicago blues singer and harmonica player. Robinson himself is an accomplished harmonica player, and developed his own sound in the Chicago blues tradition. “I moved to Chicago in the ‘80s to be close to the blues scene,” Robinson comments, “Where I met a lot of my heroes. The blues scene in Chicago was a great educational area for me.”

Robinson is a veteran of countless national and international tours and blues festivals. When asked what brings Robinson to Indianapolis, Robinson replied, “The city is beginning to celebrate its musical heritage more in recent years.” Venues such as the Jazz Kitchen, The Slippery Noodle, and the Indy Jazz Festival have made it “possible for the blues scene to grow.” Robinson added that WFYI has been integral in doing public radio for blues in Indianapolis, while places like our very own Eiteljorg Museum “champion eclectic music.”

Local players and the arts community have “carved out some space within the jazz scene” to recognize players like Robinson, who plays music that varies from the typical jazz sound. Robinson noted that while he does travel to Indy, he travels much farther including internationally to play in places like California, New York, Romania, France, and Germany. “We do go a lot of places,” he says, “But Indy is a good home to come back to.”

Tad Album Cover

The band Robinson will be playing with on July twenty-fifth is composed of “some of the most interesting and accomplished musicians in Indianapolis at this time,” including guitarist Paul Holtman and keyboardist Kevin Anker, who is also a member of Roots music band The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Each artist has their own career separate from the band, but they have a lasting connection through the gigs they play together. With each passing year, the group is able to play more “freely” because of the “great musical rapport” they have grown to share over time.

During the summer, the Tad Robinson band plays at a lot of festivals. Like any good self-promoter, Robinson makes sure to include both classic favorites and new recordings in his setlist: “We’re generally promoting different recordings. The only thing about outdoor events is that we do one show, so we try to have a balanced set.”

One of the things The Eiteljorg Museum has looked at in its exhibits is the role of African-Americans and African-American culture in the Western U.S.  Blues, a style of music that was created by African-Americans in the South, now has a universal appeal in every direction, including internationally. Robinson comments that “the African American tradition of blues music is one of the great gifts to the world…. I feel very fortunate to be able to play this music…. [it] resonates worldwide because each person that approaches blues can put their own stamp on it. There are blues musicians everywhere trying to interpret this gift in their own way.”

Robinson’s concert at The Eiteljorg is coming up fast, and he says he “just love[s] the opportunity to go to a beautiful place like the Eiteljorg and to perform with [his] best guys. We don’t always have the same group, because as musicians we’re in different places, so we don’t always get to play together, but these are my best guys that do my work justice.”

Robinson and his bandmates are excited to reunite under The Sails on July 25th. The concert, part of the Summer Under The Sails concert series, is free to all museum visitors every Wednesday in June and July from 6 to 8 p.m. with free admission to the museum itself starting at 5 p.m. Appetizers will be available for purchase at the museum café, as well as a cash bar.

To see who will be performing next at #SummerUnderTheSails, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2zF9GLo.