Robbie Robertson Makes Music Because He Wants To. What a Novel Concept.
After a legendary career that helped form rock and roll as we know it, Robertson (better known to many music lovers as the guitar guy from the Band) has, for the most part, kept a fairly low profile. After the Band called it quits in the mid-seventies, Robertson kept himself busy scoring or supervising the music to several Martin Scorcese films, including Raging Bull and The King of Comedy. He even dabbled in acting, although even calling it a 'dabble' might be giving the career choice too much credit.
There's one thing I've always liked and respected about Robertson: he does what he wants, when he wants to. He's not concerned about publicity or whether there's a paycheck involved-if it's a venture he feels is worth his time, he throws his weight behind it. Which is probably why it took him over ten years to release his first solo album (1988's Daniel Lanois produced 'Robbie Robertson'), which gave birth to tracks such as Showdown at Big Sky, Somewhere Down the Crazy River, Broken Arrow, and American Roulette. Since then Robertson has issued only four more albums, including the brand new How to Become Clairvoyant.
If you find yourself having not heard much of Robertson's solo material, do yourself a favour and check it out. Until then, here's a couple of clips for your viewing pleasure. The first is from a Saturday Night Live appearance in 1988, and features the track Testimony from his debut album. Note the backing band-Tony Levin on bass and Manu Katche on drums (both Peter Gabriel veterans), producer Daniel Lanois on guitar, and Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann from the BoDeans on backing vocals. Sorry about the sound quality-you're going to have to turn this one up a bit. The second clip is from Robertson's new album, and is entitled He Don't Live Here No More.
He Don't Live Here No More