STANSTEAD — On Friday, the Stanstead House Concerts Network (SHCN) hosted their first performance at the Place del Monty Listening Room.
Back in the day the ‘Del’ was a rockin’ bar with a long tradition of serving up cold beer and hot tunes. Now it’s living a much more sedate life as a cafe, gift shop and art gallery.
With a look and feel right out of the 1970s the Place del Monty was a good alternative venue for the concert series, usually held at the Newman home in Stanstead.
After spending the better part of the last three decades performing his unique brand of authentic, Delta-style meets hardcore Son House blues up and down the Florida coast, the show was somewhat of a homecoming for Robert.
As a guitarist, he got hooked on the blues as a teen. After listening to Eric Clapton one afternoon in 1980, he obsessed about playing guitar.
“To the point it drove both my parents crazy, being locked away in my room, tiny amp blasting out what I was playing,” Robert said. “Eventually my mother stopped calling it noise and started calling it music – one of the better days in my life.”
A move to Montreal in 1984 brought him to Rouè-Doudou Boicel’s legendary Rising Sun Celebrity Jazz Club, where Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, Art Blakey, and John Lee Hooker were among the artists who graced the stage.
“It was a great time back then. There was the Jazz Fest going at the time as well, with the blues stage just down the block from the Rising Sun.”
Robert started showing up at the Blue Monday Jam Sessions and eventually hosted some of the jams.
“You’d never know who would show up. Dutch Mason made it down, Jeff Golub sat in on my guitar one night, local harp legend Jim Zeller would come down, lots of touring bands’ backing people would show up. The place was really well known across Canada, and the best players made a point of stopping in when they could.”
Robert took his Quebecois blues roots with him when he relocated to Tampa Bay, Florida in 1990.
His 2014 release ‘Ride The Iron Road’ features the artist solo with his great voice and an awesome range of guitars.
For more information about Robert’s music, visit his website at: http://francrobert.com