Fingerpickin’ good

Blues guitarist Terry Robb to play Di Luna’s, offer workshop in Newport

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Music is often meant to tell a story.

Regardless of genre, musicians are storytellers in their own right, taking listeners on a journey through time and emotion while remaining in their seats. 

Terry Robb, who specializes in fingerpicking blues, is all set to play Di Luna’s Wednesday, March 13. Courtesy photo.

Storytelling is something Portland blues guitarist Terry Robb is committed to, and yet his approach is unique. While some of his songs have lyrics, a large portion don’t, yet the stories his songs tell are unmistakable. Contentment, anger, hope and joy are all present in Robb’s work — something he strives for.

“I think that sometimes you let the listener’s imagination go, and that’s the great thing about music — it triggers a memory sense and takes people places,” he said.

Robb will bring his signature form of fingerpicking to Sandpoint at Di Luna’s Cafe on Wednesday, March 13, as part of a tour promoting his upcoming album “Confessin’ My Dues.” Though the album is not officially out until May 31, those who attend his upcoming show will have a chance to buy an advance copy.

“Confessin’ My Dues” is Robb’s 15th solo recording, marking what’s next in an extensive and impressive career as a renowned guitarist with a specialized style. Robb said he came from a musical family and found blues guitar music at a young age.

“I heard these guitar players — blues guitar players — and something clicked in me,” he said.

Since those pieces fell into place, Robb has been recognized as at the forefront of fingerpicking style by music publications across the country. He’s been inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and the Cascade Blues Association Hall of Fame, and won the Muddy Award for Best Acoustic Guitar 19 years in a row, prompting the association to rename the award the “Terry Robb” Acoustic Guitar Muddy Award in 2011.

Though his work is generalized as blues, Robb said he plays everything: country, jazz, ragtime and more.

“Because I use a blues technique, my songs come off that way — like if a classical guitarist plays a pop song, it has a classical feel to it,” he said. “I like to listen to all kinds of music … (and) that shows up in my playing.”

Robb said he does his best to sound like a full band when he plays live shows and that he’s constantly challenging himself, especially with his new material, which he’s excited to share during this tour.

“I just like to entertain people. I like it if people are touched in some way,” he said. 

In addition to the Sandpoint show, Robb will teach a fingerstyle acoustic guitar workshop at the Create Art Center in Newport, Wash., on March 10.  The workshop will last 2-3:30 p.m. and costs $45, including curriculum. Participants must pre-register and pre-pay online at, by check to P.O. Box 1173, Newport, 99156, or in person at the Create Art Center, located at 900 W. 4th Street. 

Tickets for the March 13 show are $12 in advance and $15 the day of. Call Di Luna’s at 208-263-0846 for tickets and to make dinner reservations. Robb will play at 7:30 p.m.

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