By Harley Nefe
West Jefferson’s Ashe Civic Center will come to life when singer, songwriter, and musician Clint Roberts takes the stage on Saturday, July 9. Roberts hails from Asheville, and his combination of Folk, Americana, and Roots-rock music will have something for everyone to enjoy.
Roberts was born and raised in Brevard and went to school at App State for an extensive time before moving to Asheville.
“This is my first show coming back to the App State area. I know it’s Ashe County, but it’s my first time coming back to West Jefferson, and it’s great to come back,” Roberts said. “It’s been a long time since I have come to the High Country of Western North Carolina. I wanted to come back because there’s a sense of home with it being my college town. I spent some time in West Jefferson myself, and I think it’s really beautiful there. I figured it’s about that time to start going back to where a lot of my musical roots came from.”
Roberts remembers first getting into music in high school when a close friend heard him singing under his breath in the hallway and asked him to join his band.
“I was like, ‘I don’t really play anything,’” Roberts recalled. “And he said, ‘That’s fine; I heard you sing.’”
Roberts continued, “I got into songwriting initially with the intentions of pursuing musical theater and acting in high school because I was in musicals each year.”
At the age of 14, a senior in his drama class brought in a ukulele. Because Roberts had always wanted to learn a stringed instrument, he used the uke as a jumping-off point and received encouragement for the songs he wrote on it. From there, he picked up the banjo and guitar.
“By the time college came around, I got so engrossed in original music and songwriting and the idea of putting something out there that you made yourself,” Roberts explained. “I started playing with the intention of being a professional musician.”
While at App State, Roberts played in a band, but eventually went solo working on arrangements with songs he was already writing. He found his calling to be on the stage.
“For me, I write about personal issues as a form of catharsis, and my emotional strife over the years shows in my music,” Roberts said. “The reason people come to my shows partially is that they relate to it, and I hope the sentiments I have chosen to write about ring true for some people in the audience.”
Roberts describes his music as contemporary Appalachian music because it borrows from Appalachian, general folk, and country traditions.
“We put on a pretty dynamic show,” Roberts said. “It’s got soft moments, and it’s got loud moments. I try to paint a musical epic over the course of the night. I seek to challenge people’s expectations.”
As for what concert goers can expect this weekend, Roberts said there is always a rotation of songs.
Roberts has a new EP, Holler Choir, that was released just over a month ago. It was recorded in Asheville at Crossroads Studios and was produced by Mike Asworth of the Steep Canyon Rangers. The project features all fellow North Carolina musicians and is steeped in Appalachia, tonalities, stringed instrumentation, and vivid storytelling.
“I’m really jazzed about it because it represents what my sound is currently, and it really shows where things are going to go,” Roberts said. “It’s a sampler of what’s to come.”
Folks are invited to see Clint Roberts’s talents at the Ashe Civic Center on Saturday, July 9. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $5 for students, and they can be purchased online here: https://ci.ovationtix.com/35889/production/1122168
For more information on Roberts and his music, be sure to check out his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/clintrobertsmusic, his Instagram @clintrobertsofficial or his official website at clintrobertsmusic.com .
Two weeks after the Ashe Civic Show, Roberts will be playing in Wilmington on July 23.
“We’re trying to get out there and play as much as possible because that’s just what we want to do,” Roberts said. “That’s the highlight of my night – getting to play something that people haven’t heard. And for my own personal enjoyment – figuring out what new song I can cycle into the set.”