The first word that’ll spring to mind when you hear Andrea Robertson’s new album, Live At New Hall, is “intimacy”. This isn’t just an intimately themed third album from the Ocean Grove musician, but a consistently intimate project, from conception to recording. To call this album a passion project would be an understatement. “It was a really beautiful, creative, intimate experience for everyone involved,” says Robertson.
Recorded over two live performances at the beautiful New Hall, Point Lonsdale, Robertson says though she’d never tackled a project like this, she wanted an audience presence to really accomplish a raw and natural energy in her sound. “It’s very different when you have an audience present,” she says. There were challenges, of course, namely Robertson had a tough time letting people into her creative vision. But spurred on by sage advice given to her by her friend and fellow blues musician, the late Chris Wilson, Robertson captured her sound and story in this beautiful double CD.
“Initially it was carefully collecting the people who were involved,” says Robertson. “A lot of the control was out of my hands once we were sinking our teeth into it – I had to know the people I’d chosen would cope under the pressure of recording in front of a live audience.
“Personality-wise, you want to really gel – to bounce off each other. In that situation you want it to be as enjoyable as possible, as stress-free as possible – I really think we achieved that.”
The solid relationships Robertson formed throughout this experience mean many are now housed under the roof of her heart – musicians, local people whose talents Robertson wanted to showcase, and sound engineers, her faith was completely put in engineer Nick Huggins in particular, who captured Robertson’s grassroots vibes effortlessly. “He’s really beautiful to work with, very respectful. I don’t think I could have had a better person to work with, from a recording perspective.”
Prior to the recording of the album, Robertson realised this wasn’t just a recording, she was essentially managing an event – another challenge presented itself. “Getting info out to everybody, getting organised – my background in office management probably came in handy!
“The amount of work involved in organising the event was massive! That was probably one of the things that stretched me in many ways because I had to have so many hats on.
“I had a few near meltdowns, but there’s been a lot of growth out of that, too.”
Overall, Live At New Hall has been a rewarding experience for Robertson, she says. “I’m sharing something I love with others so I feel really fortunate.
When & Where:
The Old Church on the Hill, Bendigo – June 8
Blue Bean Love Cafe, Daylesford – June 14
The Mex, Ocean Grove – June 29
Lowlight Festival, Queenscliff – June 30
Find all the deets via Andrea’s FB.
Written by Anna Rose