Robbie Robertson reflects on the past, present, and future of his music.
Legendary Mohawk guitarist, songwriter, film composer, and recent recipient of the Order of Canada, Robbie Robertson, sat down with Acoustic Guitar magazine for a lengthy interview in which he discusses his new album How To Become Clairvoyant, his long and varied career, early musical influences, and his distinctive, personal style of guitar playing.
Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson recorded one more studio album together, 1977’s Islands. Over the subsequent three and a half decades, Robertson, who had been the Band’s lead guitarist and primary songwriter—and who instigated the dissolution—has been more active as a film music composer, consultant, and supervisor (see “Go to the Movies,” page 44 of September 2011 issue of Acoustic Guitar) than as a recording artist in his own right.
Treasured as a songwriter (“The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Rag Mama Rag,” “Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Shape I’m In”) and revered as a guitarist for his uniquely terse, expressionistic style (Bob Dylan famously called him a “mathematical guitar genius”), the Toronto-born Robertson had showcased those talents on only four solo albums before this year: Robbie Robertson (1987), Storyville(1991), Music for the Native Americans (1994), and Contact from the Underworld of Redboy (1998). The 2011 release of How to Become Clairvoyant came therefore as something of a surprise.
Read the full interview: Robbie Robertson [Acoustic Guitar]