Meet the local powerhouse of a family band who will grab your attention from the get-go with their 70’s inspired sounds.
From the Julie Andrews hill-singing Von Trapp family to the Partridge Family which made David Cassidy an instant heartthrob, The Jackson 5 where Michael Jackson shot to stardom and Sister Sledge, family bands have been around for generations. It’s continued with Disney siblings, the Jonas Brothers and has been resurrected with another ‘I Want You Back’ band, Haim. Geelong’s Bellarine has its very own music family, The Von Robertsons.
Consisting of members of the Robertson family, mother Andrea Robertson, father David Robertson, son Heath Robertson and daughter Carly Robertson, The Von Robertsons emerged organically out of Andrea and David’s solo careers.
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“My husband and I are both performing musicians, so I just perform under Andrea Robertson as a songwriter. So I guess it started coming together because the kids have always been around music even before I started doing my own stuff.
“When they were babies I was in a band and, you know, when I was pregnant, I was singing so they’ve always been around music. I play piano and guitar and sing and song-write, and my husband is a drummer, so the kids just started joining in at very young ages. Both showed a lot of natural ability, so we always wanted to give them opportunities, but we never forced them into music. It’s just something that they gravitated towards and they got to the point that they used to just jump up and join us on the occasional song at performances and it kind of just grew from there,” explains Andrea Robertson.
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As the family appearances became more prominent in Andrea’s sets, locals started to brand the unit as The Von Robertsons as a nod to the Austrian singing family.
“A lot of locals would say, ‘Here comes The Von Robertsons or the Von Trapp family of Ocean Grove. It was just a bit of a joke, and then it got to the stage where we were performing well enough that we could actually do stuff together and the name just kind of stuck because it had been bestowed upon us anyway,” she continues.
It was during lockdown that The Von Robertsons cemented their status as a family band. The proximity and lack of activities to do during the hard lockdowns, The Von Robertsons turned to their common interest to provide them, and in turn, their community, with entertainment.
“We started doing kind of busking at bars and I think there were a couple of gigs, but it was more in the lockdowns that we got more into the full Robertsons idea of doing proper gigs for live streams,” explains youngest Carly Robertson.
Andrea agrees, “We decided to do some live stream gigs and it sort of snowballed from there. That’s one way to get through the lockdowns! It was a bit of a lifesaver at times for all of us; our music. I don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have that to fall back on. It was a good outlet for us.”
Unlike their namesakes, The Von Robertsons sit in the blues department adding a fresh twist to their stage family dynamic with rotating roles. Andrea takes on vocals and guitar, David sits on drums, Heath, who like his mother is an award-winning artist in his own right, dabbles in vocals and guitar, and rising talent Carly is on vocals and bass, with the three vocalists interchanging singing lead and regularly breaking into stunning three-part harmonies. Their collective music draws on from all of their shared bloodline influences and individual projects to create a distinct Von Robertsons sound.
“My music is very influenced by my parents and I’ve grown up listening to Ben Harper and Led Zeppelin and Lenny Kravitz and Aretha Franklin. There’s so many different elements. Alabama Shakes as well. There’s a collective assortment of genres and artists and Mum’s very influenced by them with her songwriting, and then I’m influenced by them and mum’s songwriting. It’s a bit of a picture of everything,” Carly explains.
“We’ve all got our own sound going on but it all complements each other and works and I think because we all lived in the same house for so long we just know where we are going with our music. It all falls into place really easily and when we play together it’s very organic,” Andrea agrees.
They’ll be bringing their multi-generational, multi-instrumental high energy act to the Blues Train for the Next Gen Concert Series on 21 January 2023.
It’s not to be missed!