Robert Blake: strumming guitar and singing
Mike Grigoni: Dobro
recorded and mixed live to 1/4inch tape at Audio Recording, Seattle
From shacks in the backyards of Bellingham's lettered streets the the third floor of a red brick house in Philadelphia, these songs have floated out of windows and fallen onto concrete, coniferes, and maybe the ears of a few drunken lovers. From a record store in Kansas City in 1997 to a college in the middle of a Maine blizzard last winter, and back again to
Kearn Barton's studio in Seattle, these songs have been tossed into a few ears as well. It's been a pleasure.
Sometime last spring Mike and I ended up at the same party. We had known each other from around town but hadn't
played much music together. After dinner, Mike ran home for his dobro, and I borrowed a guitar from a bedroom. The
party clumped into the living room while Mike and I sat in chairs, drank red wine, and played some old songs, some blue
songs, and some songs I'd just put together.
What's Up Magazine March 2001
by Joel Ricci
The show was billed as "local hero returns." I had only seen Robert Blake perform once and that was when I first moved to
town a little over a year ago. I was ashamed to write that although he warmly welcomed me into the Bellingham music
community, I was never able to see him do his own thing. When Robert left town for Philadelphia because he needed his
"songs to fall on new ears," I remember mouring the loss of such a great artist and person.
Finially, however, our local hero returned and I was able to catch him in the intimate atmosophere of the Underground
Coffeehouse Room 565. The folk duo Weapons of Matt Destrunction closed their set with an interesting yet taistful cover
of the top-40 hit "I saw the sign" and everyone had a chance to say hi to their late friends, get a better seat, and cop another cup of coffee.
Robert suddenly burst out of the audience and moved to the stage playing his guitar and singing a song he must have just
written about how he missed old Bellingham, and the friends and lovers he had to leave. "Hello from a friend in Philadelphia," he sang, and for me the picture of this local hero was complete. Robert then went into a group of his more familiar songs and, though I hadn't heard them before, the collective sigh that went around the room at the beginning of each song gave me the cue that this was the music that made him a hero.
I once talked to an aspiring young folk singer in college and he told me it was his goal to sing the stories of the people he sang to. I guess thats why it's called music for folks. Robert Blake somehow knew my stories because during his show I
remember thinking these songs-especially the love songs-were either from the soundtrack to my life, or what I would want the musical score to my love life to sound like. I remember leaning over to my friend Stell and saying, "I want love like the kind he sings about,"complete with the smiles, the wind, the mornings after, foolishness and the hope. Robert sang about love and lost love, and he sang about love that was lost and found again. I was moved to tears by the truth and the joy he sang about.
He sang to us our stories as people, as consumers, and Americans, as lovers, and fools, as criminals and animals and angels.
I don't know if I cried because it was a mirror being held up to my soul, or because his music resonated the gritty-yet-inspired chord of humanity running through myself and everyone else in the room.
Check out the artist's website:
1. In Different Ways Goodbye
2. Up in Your Attic Room
5. Roll On Ladies
6. I'm Glad You Came Over
7. Once, Maybe Twice
9. Sweet and Easy