Rob received his musical education in the barrooms on Forest Avenue in his home town of Des Moines, Iowa. Rose Marie Webster, Luther Allison, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee were some of the musicians that let him sit in.
During the ’80s he barnstormed the midwest in The Wapsie River Band. Then in 1990 went back to playing solo. Opening up for Lyle Lovett, The Band, John Hiatt, The Austin Lounge Lizards, Dan Hicks, Jerry Jeff Walker, Norman Blake, Steve Forbert, Leon Redbone, and dozens of Blues acts. This, coupled with a legendary weekly gig at Flanagan’s, lead to recording three cds on the Hot Fudge label. Also being a part of the trio Two Bobs and a Babe that included label-mates Bob Dorr and Molly Nova.
Rob’s music is Blues/Folk based. He can cover a Jazz or blues standard,or do a set of his own tunes. His finger-picking guitar style can be traced back to Blind Blake, Doc Watson and Piedmont Blues. His slide playing influenced by Johnny Winter, Lowell George and Ry Cooder. For a slide guitar Rob uses a ’30 National Duolian. For most of the regular guitar work, his ’35 Epiphone archtop, or ’54 Gibson Lg-2.His songwriting is heavily influenced by the Texas songwriters and is laced with self-deprecating humor.
This year he’ll be playing festivals, bar rooms, restaurants, churches, private parties from here to Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. Mostly still a solo act,he has also played guitar for The CJC Big Band and The Party Gras Classic Jazz Band. Rob’s songs can be heard on KUNI, KFMG and radio stations all over Europe. His music has appeared in several Public Television projects, which have received EMMY, and other awards.
Rob’s 2015 release, Blues In a Bottle, won The Blues Foundation’s 2016 Best Self-Produced CD award.
Rob is an honorary member of the Central Iowa Blues Society, the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and has participated in Blues in the Schools programs with Fruteland Jackson, and Billy Branch.
Festivals and other larger shows include: Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, Northland Bluegrass Fest, LaCrosse Folk Fest, Bowlful O Blues, Harkin Steak Fry, Val Air Ballroom.