OAKLAND — When he was new to the area, local event coordinator Shasta Ray was intrigued by the sound of band music pouring out of Jasmine’s Event Center while walking the streets of downtown Roseburg 10 years ago.
Peeking through the center’s door, Ray discovered the band was a one-man-show — Portland-based acoustic guitarist Terry Robb.
“It blew my mind that one person could sound like a big band, and part of the reason is that he was playing rhythm, lead and bass all at the same time — that’s the magic of his playing,” Ray said.
Robb returns to Douglas County Saturday at the Oakland Art Center/Turkey Hall with two professional musicians who make up the Terry Robb Trio. Three local guest musicians will make an appearance as well.
According to Ray, Robb is phenomenal because he plays all three guitar parts at the same time by playing some notes with his thumb, some with his fingers and then by hammering with his left hand on the fret bar.
“Robb is so fantastic with his hands,” Ray said. “People in the audience watch him and their mouths are open in disbelief. Then he’ll do a funky blues tune and the whole room gets up to dance.”
Ray reckons Robb’s playing is similar to guitarist Reverend Gary Davis and Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna. He claims these musicians are the only two in the world he knows of who come close to Robb.
“People in the music world refer to Terry as ‘the monster,’ he’s a mind blowing thing to watch,” Ray said.
Ray and Robb have been friends ever since that evening at Jasmine’s. Ray is organizing the Terry Robb Trio concert this Saturday as well.
The show will be special because Ray has arranged for the professional services of the Half Shell sound personnel to handle the music for Robb’s trio.
“The world needs to hear this guy more,” Ray said.
Robb, now 60, has been playing guitar since he was 8 years old. He’s a producer, arranger and has been a professional musician since the age of 20. He also studied music in college.
In his early days, Robb played with Frank Zappa, Henry Vistine of Canned Heat and steel-string guitarist John Fahey. Robb began producing at the age of 24 and produced several of Fahey’s recordings, including the album “Let Go” that earned four stars from Rolling Stone.
Within the last 20 years, Robb has won numerous awards. He also sings. His main genre stems from a foundation of the blues, while adding his own spin on classic tunes and originals.
A few of his honors include an induction into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and winning at least 16 Cascade Blues Association Muddy Awards, one in 2005 for “best new album” for Robb’s album “Resting Place.”
Television appearances by Robb inlcude the Conan O’Brien Show where he played with Steve Miller, Curtis Salgado and Max Weinberg. He’s also played with Buddy Guy, Joe Cocker, B.B. King and Leo Kotke to name a few.
Robb’s trio includes Dave Kahl on electric bass and Carlton Jackson on drums. They have been playing with Robb for more than 30 years. On Saturday, the trio will play swing, free jazz, Chicago blues and tunes by Muddy Waters and Django Reinhardt. The show will concentrate on dance tunes since the Turkey Hall has one of the largest public dance floors in Douglas County.
The Roseburg area is special to Robb.
“The people are nice there and they appreciate music,” he said. “It’s always been a nice experience for me to come down there. I look forward to it every time.”
Robb encourages Douglas County residents to see him Saturday.
“People are going to hear some good music, they’ll enjoy it and the people I have playing with me are good musicians. I think they’ll have a good time,” he said.
See the Terry Robb Trio from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Oakland Art Gallery/Turkey Hall, 121 N.E. Second St., Oakland. Tickets are $20 in advance at While Away Books and the Oakland Art Gallery/Turkey Hall or $25 at the door. The Turkey Hall phone number is 541-315-2272.
A social hour will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. with food available for purchase and a full bar. For more information, call Ray at 541-537-1031. See more about Robb on his website at www.TerryRobb.com.