Album review: Brooks Robertson – Into The Trees (Brooks Robertson Music)

Every now and then you take a break from your travels long enough to find treasure in your own backyard.

My current home, Portland, Oregon has broken a number of interesting musical acts in the last few years (my recent favorite, the band Dolorean) and spawned it’s own parody on the Independent Film Channel (Portlandia), but this 23 year old Oregonian may be our cities’ greatest musical treasure yet.

Having already played the Montreal Jazz Festival and won numerous guitar competitions, Lee Ritenour says that Robertson “has a very original touch and monster chops.”  Citing the late Buster B. Jones as a major influence, Roberston has been playing since being exposed to Jones’ music and shortly thereafter became a student.

A highly developed finger picking style firmly in place, Robertson’s third CD, Into The Trees, sounds like the work of an older artist, but don’t let the age fool you, he’s been gigging all over the world for the past 12 years.  His light touch on the fretboard (and is currently the youngest guitarist to endorse Godin guitars) pervades all of the tracks on the album.

Penning about half of the tracks on the album, Robertson performs all with equal aplomb, sparsely accompanied on a few by banjo and sax, though no musician credits are listed.  A couple of the sax accompanied tracks tread dangerously into the smooth jazz arena, but the rest are reminiscent of the best finger pickers you’ve heard.  Just when you start to hear Robertson’s favorite influences sneaking into the mix, he heads out into virgin territory with his own unique voice.

Best of all, this young artist knows the importance of a great recording as well – the tracks have a wealth of dynamics and ambiance – I was reminded of the purity displayed by Alex DeGrassi’s early vinyl releases on the Windham Hill label.

If you’re looking for a new acoustic guitar virtuoso to enjoy,
look no further.

-Jeff Dorgay


You can visit the artists website here.



  • Brooks Robertson says:

    Hi Jeff,

    First of all thank you for listening and critiquing the album, it’s hard not to be grateful for such a wonderful review. I’m sincerely happy that you enjoyed the album and my compositions.

    As you noticed the credits weren’t extremely clear, here’s who was playing what:

    Sax, Flute, Clarinet – Paul Biondi, a world class musician based out of Eugene, OR.
    Guitar, Banjo – Brooks Robertson

    I am getting ready to do a Germany tour beginning early next month then will be returning to Portland in May. It is my goal to have a new album released by the end of the year. My hopes are to include more instrumentation(Percussion,Bass,Strings,Vocals) on the next album, perhaps a few local players from Portland. I’ve been writing some new tunes and learning some great standards to include. I will be sure to send one your’e way when that time comes.

    Once again thanks for the great review.

    Brooks Robertson

  • Ron Pollan says:

    I’m sorry to say that I just discovered Brooks about a year age while watching Buster B. Jones videos on YouTube. I am so glad that I did. I have been playing fingerstyle guitar for over 50 years and I can honestly say that Brooks tops them all. His work is amazing. This album is awesome.

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