Texas and Louisiana have always been hotbeds of blues talent. T-Bone Walker, Gatemouth Brown, Guitar Slim, Lightnin" Hopkins, Clifton Chenier are just a few of the region's early blues heroes. Guitarist/vocalist Sherman Robertson, often called "the new kid from the old school" -can be added to that list of heroes. Robertson is already considered a young master of zydeco, hard-swinging Texas electric blues, R&B and swampy Louisiana blues. Robertson often surprises audiences with his ability to play R&B, zydeco and blues with a rock edge. "I use that driving, road-cooking type zydeco groove, and put blues on top of it," says Robertson. It's basically rhythm and feel." In June, 2000, Robertson played at the Pioneer Valley Blues Festival in Massachusettes. Alligator president, Bruce Iglauer, was in the crowd. "I'd seen Sherman a couple of times before, but not for a few years," he says. " He was always good, but when I saw him in June he was on fire. He ruled the stage, had the audience in the palm of his hand, and his just plain physical showmanship reminded me of Albert Collins. As Soon as he walked of the stage I started talking about signing him. He's got that Texas energy, great guitar chops, and is a wonderful, soulful singer."
Sherman was born in Beaux Bridge, Louisiana and raised in Houston, Texas. Growing up the musician that first attracted Robertson's attention was country music star Hank Williams. As a child, he saw Williams perform on television and was hooked. He got his first guitar at age 13. With the music of his early influences Freddie King and Albert Collins as a guide, along with lessons from Floyd London in the Fifth Ward of Houston, Robertson quickly earned a local reputation as a very good guitarist. While still in high school Robertson was recruited by his music teacher, Conrad Johnson, to play in his popular group, Connie's Combo ( and otherwise adult band ). As a teenager in the late 1960's, he spent six weeks on the road as lead guitarist with blues super star Bobby "Blue" Bland and also backed Junior Parker. That gave Sherman the incentive to form his own band, Sherman Robertson and the Crosstown Blues Band with whom he recorded two albums on the Lunar II label. During the 1970's, Robertson was content playing weekends while raising a family and holding down a "regular" job until Clifton Chenier, " the King Of Zydeco," asked him to do some dates with his band. Those few dates turned into 5 years, as Robertson toured Europe and U.S. with Chenier. He then joined Terrance Simien's hot, then young zydeco band, briefly playing with Rockin' Dopsie, Johnny Clyde Copeland and several other well-known artists.
The word on Robertson's talent began to spread. Paul Simon needed a guitar player to add some sounds to his Graceland album and he chose Robertson. Soon after, legendary British producer Mike Vernon (John Mayall's Bluebreakers with Eric Clapton, Freddie King, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie) signed Robertson to Atlantic Records. Robertson's first solo recording, 1993's I'm The Man (Atlantic1994), was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award. He appeared at a number of European blues festivals - including the North Sea Festival in Holland - to promote his first release on a major label.
His second Atlantic release, Here And Now, was released in 1996 to more critical acclaim. But convinced he would have more promotional support and artistic freedom from an independent label, Robertson weighed his options . In early 1998, producer Joe Harley, with the help of Robertson's manager, Catherine Bauer, assembled a first class back up band for a project for the AudioQuest label, including two charter members of Little Feat, keyboardist Bill Payne and drummer Richie Hayward. They all gathered at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood for the sessions that resorted in the album, Going Back Home . Blues Revue loved the release. " Potent singing and sizzling guitar…Robertson is unstoppable."
Music as a profession is both a job and a passion. There is no doubt that Sherman plays for the passion. You can see it every night on stage, and in everything he does to make sure he's "there" for the people, whether that means less sleep, long drives, playing a little extra on the encores, or staying on to talk with the fans. " I view it as both. It has to be a job first because you are rendering a service; someone's employed you to play. Be on time; give the man his money's worth and do a great job. In the midst of that the passion takes over and that's when I am capable to really create music."