Terry Robb’s finger picking guitar skills and fidelity to traditional music, particularly blues, has earned him a sterling reputation among musicians and fans alike for four decades running and his creativity shows no signs of ebbing. Music like we hear with “How a Free Man Feels” may seem like an anachronism in 2019, but no one ever bothered telling Robb. Let’s be thankful for life’s smaller miracles. I appreciate the spartan honesty of this track. Robb never feels a need to dress up “How a Free Man Feels” with any frills and unnecessary gloss that might appeal to “modern” audiences. He, instead, focuses his attention on conveying the emotion of its lyric and providing the appropriate musical accompaniment. The extent of Robb’s concession to the modern music world is the inclusion of a music video supporting the track.
The video foregoes any sort of false style in favor of connecting with viewers. It is a performance clip with Robb positioned in front of a microphone and delivering the track with his acoustic guitar. Its only nod towards “technique”, per se, is how the clip utilizes a number of close ups over the course of its two minute long running time. The colors are muted and there’s nothing to distract viewers from the visual of Robb’s performance. He seems lost in a musical dream during the clip’s duration and it’s another signal of how thoroughly invested he becomes during a performance. Commitment will win me over every time. He makes you believe.
The vocals aid in this as well. Robb never goes in for an overly dramatic singing style but does an excellent job of making listeners feel his pent up desire for freedom burning beneath every line. He’s obviously a singer who takes great care to shape his vocals to fit the accompanying music and the balance between his voice and the guitar work is one of the track’s core strengths. The words are simple, conversational, and make no attempt towards quasi-poetry – it is nothing less or more than the plea of an imprisoned man to once again understand what freedom of body and spirit feels like. Robb, once more, makes you believe.
The guitar work brings it all home. His playing exudes cool confidence for the entirety of the track and manages to pack a tremendous amount of substance and melody into the brief running time. It seems like the song is much longer than two minutes – but in the best possible way. Time stops while I hear this song and the outside world fades away. In this sense, Robb is practically a sorcerer and I am sure his soulful magic will exert a similar spell over many other listeners. He demonstrates the skill with guitar that has carried him through four decades without any histrionics or self indulgence. Terry Robb’s “How a Free Man Feels” from Confessin’ My Dues is another great track from a performing artist who carries tradition into the modern world with grace, depth, and abundant skill.