R O B E R T
Robert's music fuses a hard-edged Chicago attitude
with the most southern place on earth.
Fact is, Robert went down to the crossroads,
kicked the devil’s ass and stole his blues.
He was born in the north Chicago suburb of Waukegan, IL, a small industrial and port town on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The town was a melting pot of people who emigrated from Great Britain, Scandinavia, and eastern Europe, as well as many that migrated from the South. The melding of the various cultures enriched life in Waukegan in many ways, including musically. Places like Slovenic Hall and Lithuanian Hall were constructed where one could enjoy the fellowship, dance, and music of their homeland. It was particularly the richness of the music that touched Robert's heart and soul.
He lived on Waukegan's south side for the first three years of his life before his family moved to the smaller suburb of nearby North Chicago. Music was a big part of life in their home; they would often sit around the piano and sing. Robert's love and passion for music naturally developed over the years.
By the time he was in his teens, his neighborhood was predominantly black. His first major musical influence was the rhythm and blues he heard at his friends' homes. It wasn't long before he became enamored with the Blues as many of Chicago's great bluesmen would visit Mr. Packard's place in his neighborhood on summertime Sundays and enjoy an afternoon of music, ribs, and various forms of liquid refreshment in the alley behind his house.
Around that time, Robert's parents bought him his first guitar and at the age of fifteen he began playing in a band. He describes his first experience with that band: “I never had any idea I’d be the lead guitarist, I was really afraid the others would laugh at me. After our first practice, the guys said, ‘You’re the lead player.’ It turned out that, as bad as I was at the time, they were even worse!” Robert showed a knack for writing music and, more and more, introduced his songs into the band's repertoire. This was the pattern in all of his early groups and at the age of 17 he began writing songs for the stable of bands of a small Chicago record label.
As a performer, Robert came to be known for his scorching vocals and guitar style, as well as his unpredictable stage antics. As time went on, he found his stage persona was taking over his identity and he was losing control of his whole life. As he was unsuccessfully trying to sort out who he really was, a friend introduced him to the spiritual realities of life and Robert found the love and peace he'd been searching for.
He married a lovely southern belle and their family currently lives in Atlanta where he embraces the lifestyle and rich musical heritage of the south. His adventure continues both musically and spiritually.
Robert's music continues to grow and evolve and he's not afraid to experiment with it. Today you'll find it's an atmospheric blend of Rock, Blues, Appalachian, Gospel, and Psychedelic music. He draws from a deep well of influences: you might hear Muddy Waters, the Beatles, Sleepy John Estes, Led Zeppelin, even Irish and English folk finding their way into his songs. He has assimilated these flavors into a style that is distinctly his own - Rockabluesic!
R O C K A B L U E S I C
Robert here. Since my music can be flavored by so many ingredients, I thought I would be remiss not to acknowledge some of the greats that have influenced my music and life. It's a long list: Muddy Waters, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Delta and Chicago Blues, Irish & English Folk, Roots Music, Levon Helm, Peter Green, Otis Redding, Otis Spann, The Beatles, Traffic, Billy Gibbons, Syd Barrett, Jeff Beck, James Brown, my wife, and most of all my Father.
I also enjoy the music of Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Richard Thompson, Gillian Welch, Natalie Merchant, Sandy Denny, Dylan, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, Sleepy John Estes, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Taj Mahal, Tchaikovsky, Espers, Little Axe, John Coltrane, and lots of others.