PORT TOWNSEND — The sounds of fingerpicking blues will be presented in a free concert at the Cellar Door on Sunday evening.
Guitarist and songwriter Terry Robb will give a free, live performance beginning at 8 p.m. at the business at 940 Water St. No cover will be charged.
“I like playing smaller venues and house concerts — intimate rooms where people can come close and listen,” said Robb, a lifelong musician who has been playing for more than four decades.
He’s made his living as a musician, never having had another job.
Robb is no stranger to the area, having been a featured artist at Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, Port Angeles in 2011 and 2012. He was also a faculty member for Centrum’s 2007 Steel and Slide Guitar Festival.
He played on the Centrum compilation album, “Lay Down My Old Guitar: A Tribute to John Jackson” (2003, Centrum Recordings) and was a faculty member of the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival and Workshop in 1997.
Robb was born in Vancouver, B.C., and raised in the U.S.; he now lives in Portland, Ore. He’s a self-taught finger style guitarist, associated with the American Primitive Guitar style and a mix of diverse musical influences rooted in the blues.
He plays the base line, rhythm cords and single notes — all at the same time.
“I’ve listened to music since I was a little kid and was influenced by many different styles of music,” he said in a phone interview. “I find that I’m not just a finger picker, but a band by myself.”
He said he’s been listening to more world music lately and developing his technique with “more maturity.”
Centrum’s Blues Program Manager Mary Hilts said Robb is a sensitive player.
“Terry has a brilliant fingerpicker style, and he plays that pre-war earlier blues from the ‘30s and ‘40s that not many people do,” Hilts said.
“To hear such a wonderful player is a treat. He’s mastered that Delta region/east coast sound so well even though he’s local.
“He’s what we call a musician’s musician.”
Hilts said he was the featured artist at the Triple Door in Seattle to raise money for the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Scholarship Fund and taught at Centrum’s Acoustic Blues Program several years ago.
“We need to get him back here,” she said.
Robb keeps a busy schedule of performances throughout Oregon, California and Washington. He’s off to Greenwich Village and upstate New York this fall to teach a workshop and perform concerts.
In addition to his sessions, he has produced and performed on more than 50 albums and continues to collaborate with musicians in the U.S. and Canada. He’s been featured in documentaries, films, books and articles profiling American roots and blues music.
Among his honors, Robb received the Muddy Award for Best Acoustic Guitar by the Cascade Blues Association for 19 consecutive years until it was renamed in his honor. He was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and received a lifetime achievement award from the Cascade Blues Association in 2017.
In 2016, Robb released a mostly instrumental album called “Cool On The Bloom” which was recorded for the Portland-based label NiaSounds.
“I’m recording its followup album right now, which should be out later this year,” he said.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]