Fingerstyle guitar work is something I have long admired. Learning to play an instrument takes enough time as it is, but then learning to play the instrument itself and training yourself to play it in such a difficult but lively style can make the results even more impressive. Portland’s Brooks Robertson is one heck of a funky fingerstyle guitarist, and he’s bringing his act — two of them, actually — to Sam Bond’s.
As anyone who has watched the videos on Robertson’s Facebook page can attest, his renditions of tracks like “Wild Turkey” are dizzying and jaw-dropping in their mastery, and he seems to play the funky, upbeat “Skippy” at the speed of light while barely breaking a sweat. Mid-tempo tracks like “Pass the Buck” prove that Robertson doesn’t just play songs at a breakneck pace, and his version of Buster B. Jones’s “A Walk in the Park” is played with all the grace, aplomb and beauty of someone doing just that.
Whether performing groovy numbers like “Blues Land,” more folksy ballads like “Camille” or even hand-clapping-inducing songs like “Carol,” Robertson performs with a skill that is undoubtedly matched by a small few. And since his songs are all instrumental, Robertson’s ability to coax extra, almost-human melodies out of his guitar makes each of his tracks shine more.
Robertson’s show is bound to be a lively affair. You might find yourself bobbing your head silly and tapping your feet incessantly in an effort to keep time with his faster songs. You might even feel at times like you are at a good old-fashioned hoedown. His first set will be a solo act, while the second will be Brooks and Brothers, which features Robertson and some of his friends on vocals, guitar, bass and banjo.
Brooks Robertson plays 8 pm Thursday, Dec. 20, at Sam Bond’s, $5.