Rodney Crowell with Joe Robinson at Stiefel Theatre, May 4

Date: May 04, 2019

Time: 8:00 pm

Classics can become cliches. And cliches, like whiskey, nostalgia, and orthodoxy, will deaden the mind. We can’t learn from what we know. It doesn’t work that way. But if what we know morphs and changes, and whittles itself down to truthful essence, then we can find delight and inspiration. That’s what’s going on here, in Rodney Crowell’s most unusual of retrospectives. These are songs he wants to sing and play, performed as he wants to sing and play them.

As always, Crowell is running toward his true self, even as he assures us he’s not running fast enough. He’s been praised as a hit songwriter, as a chart-topping singer, and as a gruffly grinning member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. We’ve praised him to the point of satiation, and now Crowell’s bouncing poetry is its own reward. Another poet, Donald Hall, identified writing’s most sinful characteristics as being “tired, ordinary, trite, or false.” Rodney Crowell would not be convicted of these crimes by a jury of peers. This is Rodney Crowell playing guitar and singing with friends, live and in real time. The revelations are in the reveling, and in Crowell’s joyful ownership of songs that have become dear companions. We arrive as honored guests, here to listen to an artist’s true self.

Twenty-six-year-old Australian Joe Robinson is a world-class virtuoso guitarist and singer/songwriter with a unique musical sensibility, injecting a unique fusion of rock, blues, R&B and jazz into a fresh sound that is entirely his own. Displaying his virtuosity on electric as well as acoustic guitar, Robinson was voted “Best New Talent” in the Guitar Player Readers’ Poll and landed a coveted spot as one of Australian Guitar Magazine’s Top 50 Best Guitarists! Robinson’s talents were further recognized by Guitar Player magazine as part of a cover story entitled “Youthquake 2017: Ten Mind-Blowing Young Guitarists.” In the article, Guitar Player observes Robinson is “equally mind-blowing as an acoustic fingerpicker and electric soloist…his YouTube videos display an astounding combination of taste, speed, cagey phrasing, and a clear, articulate, and sparking tone.”

Robinson started playing guitar at age nine and when he quickly outpaced his guitar instructor, began educating himself via the internet. At age 11 he was a touring guitarist and at just 13 years old, he won the Australian National Songwriting Competition. Within a couple of years he was touring regularly and sharing stages with artists such as Tommy and Phil Emmanuel, both of whom served as mentors. When a 16-year-old Robinson burned through a Chet-inflected medley of “Day Tripper” and “Lady Madonna” in 2008 at the opening round of the nationally broadcast Australia’s Got Talent television series competition, the entire house—including the judges—gave him a standing ovation. He went on to win $250k with his take on Tommy Emmanuel’s arrangement of “Classical Gas.”

Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts
151 S Santa Fe Ave
Salina, KS 67401
785-827-1998
http://stiefeltheatre.org/

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