Scene & Heard

Brooks Robertson: finger-pickin’ ‘like the house is on fire’

By Ron Hartman
Entertainment Editor
rooks Robertson has a name that would be easy to confuse with Brooks Robinson, the legendary third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles a half-century ago.
There’s no confusing this, though: Robertson, who mentored for seven years under Buster B. Jones – a legend in the finger-picking guitar world – says he couldn’t have had a better instructor.
It was like being a young artist and hanging out with Andy Warhol every day.
”I was 12 when Buster moved here, and he’s an incredible teacher,” Robertson said before busting out a few of his songs during a recent performance at Blue Valley Bistro. ”We had about seven really intense years together, then I just kept pursuing it.”
In 2016, Robertson – who, oddly enough, was a star third baseman throughout Little League while growing up in Eugene – got a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston.
If there were ever any doubts about how serious he was about those music lessons, they were put to rest: He graduated magna cum laude in December 2018.
”Being around all of those brilliant minds was an amazing experience,” Robertson said. ”It helped fill in a lot of gaps for me in areas I hadn’t explored.”
Life keeps getting better, too. He got married in March to his wife, Que (pronounced Way), and they live in Bozeman, Montana. Robertson is taking a little break from touring, and currently has no scheduled events on his website.
”Everything’s great. I love what I do, and Que loves her job. She’s an international student recruiter,” Robertson said.
Robertson’s style isn’t for everyone – even though he always packs the house whenever he plays locally, just as he did at Blue Valley. He generally doesn’t sing – it’s strictly a one-man finger-picking guitar show.
But what a show it is.
Jones, a Junction City resident when he died of liver failure in 2009 at age 49, had called Robertson ”the future of American fingerstyle guitar.”
Thom Bresh, another premier finger-picker, said, ”Brooks Robertson plays like the house is on fire.”
And Nokie Edwards added this: ”He is slicker than a cat on a greased pole.”
Robertson is only 29, so he’s obviously on the fast track to a legendary musical career.
To paraphrase Jerry Reed, he’s got a short way to go, and a long time to get there.
Who knows, someday he might be as famous as that other Brooks guy.



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