05.05.2019

Andrea Robertson’s new double-album is a testament to her community and family

Andrea Robertson 'Live Recording' Concert
Words by Priya Francis

The folk-blues singer-songwriter says the regional arts scene had a strong influence on her work.

Andrea Robertson releases her double album, Live At New Hall, this May. The Ocean Grove artist is set to take it on the road around regional Victoria, sharing strong songwriting and nostalgic blends of folk, country and blues.

Robertson’s latest project is the culmination of two years of songwriting. It wouldn’t have been possible without support from her local community and the blessings of the Queenscliff Music Festival, who awarded Robertson the Emerging Artist Grant in 2017. Driven to create a live album, Live At New Hall was recorded over two sessions with an enthralled audience in Point Lonsdale’s New Hall.

“From a creative point of view, it felt like it was the next thing I wanted to do, having released two studio albums. I think I probably would have made it happen some way, but the fact that they threw that money behind me really made it all possible within a relatively short space of time” says Robertson.

Robertson’s passion and love for this project is evident in the way she speaks about it. It’s not hard to believe this album would have been created one way or another.

Like some of the great Americana artists that inspire her, Live At New Hall crosses a range of topics, from the first meeting with her husband, to conversations with her daughter, and social commentary on the current state of the world. The album nods to inspirations such as Ben Harper and Fleetwood Mac – musicians Robertson looks up to not just for their songwriting, but also for releasing highly acclaimed live albums.

Musically, each song has something that pulls you in. You might be hanging onto every word Robertson sings or else in awe of the contributing musicians. Robertson’s backing band is made up of family and close friends, while the record was produced by “hidden gem” Nick Huggins. 

“I’m well aware of the great deal of talent in our area flying under the radar and at the same time we have a lot of people moving down here, wanting to make that sea change or get away from the big smoke,” Robertson says. “So there’s a really strong and supportive music community here in Grove. For me it was really important to not only be working with great musicians or creatives, but I wanted, on a personal level, to really connect with them. We really needed to gel, almost like family.”

Robertson’s certainly not averse to working with her actual family members. Her husband plays drums on the album and both her son and daughter also feature, contributing guitar and vocals respectively. She’s not hesitant to gush about the beauty of playing with family and sharing a love of music with her children.

“There’s probably nothing that quite compares to making music with your kids, because you kind of connect on a different level,” she says. “We can really fly by the seat of our pants but know that they’re going to be there with us.”

Live At New Hall will officially be launched at Bouchon at Bellarine on Friday May 17. Robertson will then set her sights set on regional Victoria and all it has to offer. She has a busy few months ahead of her, travelling from Drysdale to Fyansford, Bellarine to Coburg.

She’s keen to share her music, new and old with fresh audiences. Although the thought may be daunting, Robertson is rising to the challenge, promising to deliver audiences a raw, real, “no frills” live show.

“That’s always a bit scary, you’re going into the unknown and trusting you’re going to get music lovers that will appreciate what you’re doing, but there’s no other way to do it.”

Andrea Robertson launches Live At New Hall at Bouchon at Bellarine on Friday May 17. She comes to the Post Office Hotel, Coburg for an afternoon gig on Sunday May 19.