In 1997 there was “Following the Buffalo”. This solo debut of Ht Roberts, the singer and songwriter of The Headstarts, created great expectations. These expectations were effortlessly fulfilled on “King of the Rooftops”, “Second Thoughts”, “Acres of Time”, “Fingernail Moon”, “Motion/Still”, “Spirit Level”, “Rain Change Fair” and the live-album “Country Music Makes Me Cry”. “Following the Buffalo” was indeed the start of an intense and adventurous journey through the land of undiscovered songs, looking for that one pearl… He found a lot of them and you can find them on the above mentioned albums. His tools of choice were, and still are, an acoustic guitar and a slightly worn voice that creates a sense of comfort and warmth, but also an unparalleled eye and a pen dipped in the ink of Shakespeare and Dylan. To make himself heard he doesn’t need al lot of volume or technical effects, instead he’s looking for the quietness, knowing it’s the new loud. He is the ultimate song whisperer…
We are 10 records and almost 20 years down the line. So Old Light is a jubilee. And the way to celebrate something is by highlighting its essence.
In Ht Roberts’ case the essence has always been the song. It’s the old story of “three chords and the truth”. In the course of these 20 years, this focus on the song has lead to ever trimmed-down records, to find its culmination in Old Light: 11 songs, Ht sings and plays acoustic guitar or banjo, old friend Bruno Deneckere plays second guitar and sings harmony. The sigh of a harmonica on one song, the keening of a violin on another and a lick of slide and mandoline on a third.
It didn’t ask for more.
The space this simplicity creates we can fill ourselves.
And that’s different for every one of us.
Which is a very good thing…
All songs by Ht Roberts