Music Wednesday, February 17th

'It was a defining moment for me': Willow Robinson to play Hereford Rocks festival

All-day rock and blues festival Hereford Rocks takes place at the Left Bank next month. Performing alongside Hereford's own Mick Ralphs, ex-Mott The Hoople & Bad Company guitarist, will be a host of local talent including Willow Robinson.

We grabbed a word with Willow ahead of the festival on Saturday, March 5.

You are signed to Alan McGee’s management company. How did this come about?

Funnily enough it was after I played my first solo gig in his venue, The Tabernacle in Wales. It was also the first time I had ever sung in public, and he approached me after the show and asked to be my manager. It was a completely fateful and surreal experience.

Can you describe your music for us?

My music has its roots in rock, folk, blues, and soul. It's a melodic blend of acoustic and rock played mainly on the acoustic guitar. And it's heavily guitar driven, with haunting vocals.

How young were you when you first started playing? What age did you know that you wanted to be a musician?

I started playing classical guitar at nine, and almost gave up, that is until I was given my first electric guitar, and I knew from that moment around 10 that I wanted to be a musician. I was always obsessed with listening to my favourite bands and envisaging myself in their position.

We’ve seen an amazing video of you playing with Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. How did this happen and what was it like playing with a solid gold music legend?

We put him up at my house during the Hay Festival whilst his wife did a talk. One night I came home a little drunk and he was sitting next to the big log fire in our kitchen playing one of my acoustic guitars. After everyone persuading me I grabbed another, and we jammed for about an hour. It was unbelievably surreal, and was, in a way a defining moment for me as a musician, as I could keep up with him and we shared a musical conversation.

What sort of music did you grow up listening to?

All the greats. The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chillis, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Guns N Roses, Nick Drake, Otis Redding. Loads of old blues and soul. Loads of classic rock.

You are the son of Withnail and I writer and director Bruce Robinson. Has your father been supportive of your musical career?

He has always been 100% supportive of me wanting to be a musician, and I can't thank him enough for that.

We’ve read that you have been in bands and a duo, how did you end up being a solo artist?

I have played lead guitar in a few bands, and then I discovered acoustic music and singing. Me and one of my best friends formed a duo, which I thought was going to be the way for me to break into the music industry but he decided to stop playing music. The only way for me to keep going at the time was to play solo, and that has had great results, so I'm following that path for now.

Tell us about your time in LA and your work as a musician there.

LA is a home away from home for me as I've spent a lot of time living there throughout my life. I had some of the best times of my life and made some incredible friends living in there. My music career began by studying music in Hollywood, and then touring the States in the band Lime Cordiale, as well as playing SXSW festival.

Where do you spend the majority of your time nowadays?

I spend it in England for the time being. With an even split between London and Herefordshire.

Where in Herefordshire are you from?

I'm from Hay-on-Wye. A very beautiful area.

You are playing Hereford Rocks in March. Why did you decide to play this festival?

I can't wait! I was offered the gig by one of the promotors. It sounds like it is going to be a great show.

When will your next release be coming out?

I have a single (and an EP) coming out late spring/early summer. It's potentially going to be a big release so keep and eye out. I'm in the process of filming the music video right now. Very excited for everyone to see/ hear it!

Find out more about the Hereford Rocks festival

You can follow Willow on SoundcloudYouTube and Facebook. He's also talking some fine pics on Instagram.

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