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Singer/songwriter Roy Robertson is driven by life, songs

Roy Robertson

10 p.m. Sunday

Voodoo Lounge at House of Blues, Dallas


800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com

Posted 10:59am on Wednesday, Apr. 07, 2010

Roy Robertson never really meant for it to come to this.

While not exactly indifferent to the world of rock 'n' roll, he didn't grow up eyeing a life in the spotlight as a musician. In fact, his budding career as a singer-songwriter happened more or less by accident.

"I never really played music before I was 15," Robertson says. "I never had an interest in it. My sister lent me her guitar. I started borrowing it and strumming a C chord; walking around the house strumming chords all day, and after a while, I got into it."

From there, Robertson, currently based in Denton, immersed himself in the work of Bob Dylan and the Beatles -- "listening with a more artistic ear," he says -- and embracing the power of creation.

"It was pretty amazing to press down a few strings and get these tones -- that was a big step for me, because it was hard to do. Then you figure out, 'Hey, it's just a couple chords.'"

His sound evokes open, wind-blown prairies; folk-influenced, electronica-dusted tunes like Elena or Book Burner conjure images of top-down road trips roaring through West Texas. Robertson's whippet-thin tenor dances amid jangling guitar, rolling piano and drums that threaten to collapse at any second.

From four-track instrumentals to 2008's full-length debut Electric Clouds to his present workload, the musician has come a long way since his first, tentative strums. He will play Sunday at the Voodoo Lounge at the House of Blues.

His arrival on the scene, much like his initial forays into music, wasn't calculated. Robertson simply knew it was time.

"I've been writing songs for four, five years, but I don't really push myself into being reviewed or being talked about," he says. "I was trying to find what I was trying to do, and now I have a pretty solid idea of what I want to do. I'm glad I waited so long to get a little bit of attention."

Robertson has roamed over much of the state, calling Midlothian, Austin and Denton home at various points. "Circumstances," rather than a restless nature, have prompted the moves, he says. Although Robertson admits to getting "bored with where I'm living."

"I move there and realize that's not what I wanted," he says. "I thought in Austin I'd be at home; I've never felt less at home than in Austin."

The itinerant life may suit some songwriters, but Robertson professes his changes of address don't influence his work as much as his "relationships and perceptions" do.

For the remainder of 2010, Robertson is dedicating himself to "working out the obstacles" on his new albums and filling in the gaps with performances across North Texas. As with everything else tied to his art, the singer-songwriter will proceed at his own pace and damn the consequences.

"I've got all the songs -- it's just a matter of putting them in order and figuring out when and where and who to release them with.... I'd prefer to work on them a little bit more to make sure they're the way I want them. [There's] absolutely no pressure for me."

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