Welcome to the Official Website of Robbie Reay
At the age of 10, Robbie received his first guitar. Prior to this, he used to sit and plink on his Grandmother's piano. Initially taught by a talented folk musician in the North of England, Robbie continued his musical journey honing his skills as a rhythm guitarist playing the club circuit in 50’s Rock n Roll bands.
For years Robbie was in turmoil with songs in his head, bursting to come out. Without the means to record or any real direction, he remained frustrated with a longing and yearning to create but wondered which way to go. He was at the crossroads in life. With the help of friends and mentors, Robbie finally realised his true calling - Blues. Folk Blues, Piedmont, Acoustic or Electric, whatever, he’d found the answer.
Fired up and hungry like a pea vine train, he embarked on a musical pilgrimage to Mississippi in search of answers. Where did the music he used to play come from? He found himself standing at the devil’s crossroads, south of Dockery just before midnight, waiting for the man. Walking along the dirt track shortly after midnight, he felt pain in his feet. Looking down he realised he had nothing on them. When he looked up, startled, an old man was there and said “Ha, I see you’ve been to them crossroads”. Almost speechless, Robbie asked, “how do you know?”.” Well that’s easy” said the man.” Looks like ole Papa Legba took your souls!” Scared witless at this cold encounter, Robbie took off towards the plantation, guitar in hand. So, there it was, the start of an amazing musical journey, the start of barefoot blues, the album, the book and the rest they say is history.
As a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and band leader over the past 30 years, Robbie has now decided to focus on his solo work. They say Blues is as much a way of life as it is to do with the music. You have to experience the things you write about; whether its a sad, lonesome, longing and yearning to play a true blues, or the up-beat adrenaline fueled angst, of a driving cigar box song. Armed with a cigar box guitar, a licence plate stomp box and occasionally playing the Mississippi saxophone (Harmonica) you wont be able to keep your feet from dancing.
Established musician Robbie now performs solo and as a duo in the UK and overseas, playing original, contemporary blues songs, driving foot stompers, intertwined with sincere balladry in a virtuoso style that's hard to beat. He lives the blues, he breathes it and if your lucky, he'll bring and play his spade guitar. Dig It!.. Robbie said "once you've experienced the blues it stays with you, its not something you can get rid of." To describe it in words is not easy”. “You live it, you feel it, it becomes part of you like a disease”. “It’s hypnotic, it heals your soul, it’s become my salvation”.
Photograph by G P Hudspith
"I met Robbie at a festival during 2018 and struck up a friendship on fb. Having listened to his music I'm glad to be a supporter of a great RnB musician and Bluesman"
- Dave Finnegan (The Commitments)
"The essence of blues lies in it's open, honest, raw emotion. Robbie oozes this from every pore. His music displays an integrity that is becoming all too rare"
- Roger M Daniel (Jolly Roger's Blues 'n' Roots)