Tad has been to Norway several times already; twice at Notodden. In 2007 he was on the Color Line Bluescruise with the Severn Blues Revue. Those who have heard Tad sing can’t easily forget his wonderfully warm, soulful voice. He is a fine harp player as well. The BILLY T BAND had previously toured Russia with Tad, so they invited him back for this short trip to Norway.
The tour, arranged by Alex Pettersen, was split into two different concepts. The first was the Bluesharp Showdown, with Tad Robinson and two of Norway’s best harp players, Arne Rasmussen and Richard Gjems. The backing band was Alex Pettersen (drums), Håkon Høye (guitar), and Bill Troiani (bass).
The second concept had Tad singing his own repertoire, with Ian Fredrick Johannessen joining Alex and Bill. After a couple of rehearsals, they were ready.
The harp players (from left) Arne Rasmussen, Richard Gjems and Tad Robinson.
The audiences in Asker, Oslo, Skedsmo, Bodø and Lillehammer got to experience a Smokin’ Bluesharp Showndown! Reports from Asker and Lillehammer say the gigs were well attended and the crowds enthusiastic. Tad did his soul repertiore, with the smaller band, in Sandnes, Stavanger, Arendal, and again in Oslo.
I managed to catch the two Oslo shows, and had a great time at both. The first was the Bluesharp Showdown, and I saw the soul band the following week.
The first 90 minute set at the Bluesharp Showdown was divided in three. Tad, Arne Rasmussen and Richard Gjems each did 30 minutes with the band. Richard went first. He performed Django Reinhardt’s ”Minor Swing” as well as more typical blues material from his extensive repertiore. He then introduced Arne as ” the Norwegian harp player with the fattest harp tone; it sounds like he’s playing a trombone full of thick oil!”. I cannot disagree with that. Arne did a great set, starting with Little Walter’s ”That’s It”.
He sang as well, revealing his fine voice. Tad finished the first set by demonstrating his incredible harp skills.
In the second set all three harp players took to the stage together. The interaction between these three and the band was perfect. It’s hard to believe they had just met!
The next show I saw featured Tad singing his own soulful material. A full house at Buckleys enjoyed a great concert with one of today’s foremost ”Blue Eyed” soul singers.
You read our interview with Tad Robinson in the next issue of Bluesnews.
Text/photo: Nina Hanssen