Robyn Hitchcock returns to the Iron Horse on Wednesday, June 9th for a wild and perhaps woolly evening of singing and playing guitar and maybe piano. This is one of four dates on a mini-solo tour including Boston and Toronto so he ought to be feeling sprightly and rested. How many years has it been since I stumbled upon a used copy of his solo debut Black Snake Diamond Role at Main Street Records in Northampton? That would be 26 years.
That record changed my life and helped me understand my own taste in music a little better. That and discovering, chronologically in reverse, his band the Soft Boys, raised the bar on what I came to expect from a musical artist. Robyn was and is wildly imaginative and original and experimental while also sounding enough like the Beatles, Dylan, and early Floyd, to give my pop glands something to vibrate to. His wordplay and music were both singing my tune back then and I've seen him live perhaps 50 times since(no two shows alike). I joined him as a publicist for the New England leg of a tour back in 1995 or so and oversaw the re-release of the Rhino Records editions of his post-Soft Boys pre-A&M albums including a rarities collection that Rick Gershon and I culled from a box of tapes over the course of a very engaging weekend of listening.
Nothing he's released is easily dismissed, though I have lost count of the albums by now. It's at least as many as Dylan and maybe 4 times as many as the Beatles. As with some of my other favorites like Loudon Wainwright, Richard Thompson, Peter Blegvad, and Aimee Mann to name a few, following the changing subject matter and evolving outlooks of the music as we've all aged has made me feel like their music has woven through me over time. Robyn is an astute and wry observer of life (and the inanimate) and he usually has something interesting to sing about it and some nice chords to set the mood. I cannot easily recommend a show more highly than one of Robyn Hitchcock's.
Robyn Hitchcock (plus Jennifer O'Connor) play the Iron Horse on Wednesday, June 9th at 7PM.
Tickets are at NBO, 413-586-8686, online at IHEG.com or go directly to check-out here.