How’s the new year started for you? No meat? No alcohol? Quiet rebuilding of body and soul after the festivities? If so, good for you, but that’s not how local Delta Blues singer/songwriter Robin Evans has started 2023.

With a new single, gigs and various open mic events to compere, Robin has taken a taken a knees-tucked-up, running leap into the chilly waters of the new year.

CP: Robin, it’s great to hear that you have a new single out on 3rd February, but you have already been ridiculously busy this year. Can you sum up what’s been happening for you so far?

Robin Evans: Thanks Chris. Too right, I’ve been rather busy! I played a fab show with Mama Oh No; did a solo acoustic showcase with just my guitar and a condenser mic; ran the busiest open mic I’ve ever done in Norwich, all at Voodoo Daddy’s. Yeah, it’s been hectic.

I’ve also been working on my stage kit, starting to sort merchandise out, as well as writing new material. I have a few song ideas on the go at the moment. There’s a lot of coal in the engine right now.

CP: The monthly open mic sessions you organise and compere at Voodoo Daddy’s Showroom are going down really well. It astounds me how many musicians live in Norwich and across Norfolk. Why do you think the area is so rich in creative talent?

Robin Evans: I often find myself explaining this to friends outside of East Anglia. The breadth of art in the area is one of the main reasons I love Norwich. I don’t think that per capita there is more creativity than other places, but what there is funnels into Norwich. East Anglia’s rural landscape means that there is a dearth of viable music venues, so all of the quality musicians and artists from Norfolk and the nearby counties come into the city centre to perform. It helps that Norwich is full of great crowds, which makes it a great place to perform.

dr feelgood

CP: From all the acts you see at Voodoo Daddy’s Showroom open-mic nights, who has recently caught your eye and ear?

Robin Evans: There are loads of people who blow me away.

  • Abi Harold is a fantastic songwriter who I’ve seen develop her performances during the last year.
  • Pedro Danger is a brilliant solo artist who also seems to be playing in every band in the city right now.
  • Hannah Ebrey is one of my favourite local comedians; she’s always on the ball even if reading jokes off the back of penguins

There are so many artists. Others I want to mention include Ben Lock, Max Dobson, Vicky Bass, Jazzy Green, Tom Goddard, and the one and only Avoidant, but there are loads more. We could talk about this all night. Every act brings their A-game to the open-mic each month, taking it as a serious opportunity to perform to their best ability. It’s a pleasure to organise. The next one is on 7th February from 7pm.

CP: Besides Voodoo Daddy’s Showroom, and the Norwich Arts Centre, where I first saw you perform, Norwich has several performance venues. What are your favourites?

Robin Evans: The old church that is the Norwich Arts Centre holds a special place in my heart, as does Voodoo Daddy’s. Each is very different from the other, but they cover most of my nights out.

Otherwise I really enjoy going to The Reindeer on Dereham Road. Lou programmes a lot of rockabilly and Americana, which is always fun for a night out.

I do want to go to a show at Lowell. I love it as a shop and their lineups are beautifully curated.

Personally, I have to admit, one of my top venues in Norwich is the spot outside Lloyds Bank on Gentleman’s Walk.

CP: That’s a nice one! It’s good to mention that the live music spills out onto the city streets. I have seen some great acts busking in town.

What are your writing and recording plans for the year?

Robin Evans: Essentially, I plan to write and record more. I have some new tunes banked that may get recorded, but they need a bit more arranging before I’m quite there.

CP: Your solo performances have a stripped-down one-man band feel, with you playing your trusted National guitar and that neat, heel-driven drum you add in. Have you considered building a band around your sound, or is solo performance where you’re most comfortable?

Robin Evans: As a lone bluesman I have a lot of flexibility. I can bring a bigger sound than most solos. I’ve done it my way for a long time now and I love it.

However, I’d like to expand my songs into a band setting; some of them need it. I have been working up some plans, but I’m not pressing myself too much about it.

CP: What strikes me about your recordings and performances is that they sound a bit different from your contemporaries. I mean, you seem to have managed to capture the vibrancy and vitality of live performance, without detracting from the audio clarity. What do you do in the studio to achieve that?

Robin Evans: I record at The Crunch for two reasons – everything they have at that studio is analogue, and Jason knows what sound I’m trying to achieve. When recording I play solo with one mic for guitar and vocals, with the amp in the distance. It’s the way blues musicians have been recording since they started out in the 1930s. The drum gets added afterwards. It all helps capture the live mood.

CP: What challenges are there when using vintage recording equipment in the studio?

Robin Evans: Thankfully, Jason is a wizard in the studio, but from my point of view I think there’s more to go wrong. I do it for the tape crunch, but once it’s on that tape all edits are done digitally because the tape degrades over time and I don’t want to lose anything.

Robin Evans
Robin Evans | Image © James T Miller

CP: I must ask you about is your show merchandise. You put items on the merchandise stall that are quirkily unique. How do you decide what to take with you to a show and when will we be able to buy a bottle of Badger Milk?

Robin Evans: The merch desk is one of my favourite places! I like to carefully curate my own merch. The most recent addition to my catalogue has been tin-can microphones that I make myself. They sound worse than you’d expect.

Generally, I just chuck some stuff in a bag and try and flog it; no rhyme nor reason.

I must stress, Badger Milk, in its current composition, is not fit for human consumption, but I’m working on it. I’ve always got a bucket of it on the go.

Next thing you’re likely to see on the merch table is my Cajun spice mix, which I last had in 2019 and sold out in a week.

CP: If that’s the case, I’ll give it a go. So where and when is your next gig (with merchandise to boot)?

Robin Evans: I have got a run of three performances early in February:

Sat 4 February: The Room at The Ocean Room, Pier Gardens, Gorleston-on-Sea

Sun 5 February: The Reindeer, Dereham Road, Norwich.

Fri 3 February: This is with my band Squat Lobster at Voodoo Daddy’s Showroom, but that’s a different vibe entirely.

CP: Finally, do you know if you will be on stage at any festivals this coming year?

Robin Evans: I’ve got some applications in and some irons in the fire but nothing solid yet. Hopefully so! I’ll let you know.

CP: Robin, good luck with the new single. I have to say that I love it and am looking forward to hearing some more new songs soon.

Robin Evans Esq.
Oregon by Robin Evans

Read Chris Perry’s review of the new Robin Evans single Oregon here.

The Single is available in all formats from 3rd February, 2023.