Storytelling bluegrass: Emily Scott Robinson

A singer-songwriter who’s most interested in telling stories, Emily Scott Robinson calls to lost souls who are figuring life out the hard way. 

Hailing from North Carolina, Robinson says as a young girl she never envisioned herself pursuing a career as an Americana recording artist. One thing she says she did envision, however, was helping others. 

“It’s funny, growing up I didn’t think I was going to have a career in music at all,” Robinson said. “I played clarinet and I actually taught myself how to play the guitar when I was 16, but it was always just a hobby for me. When I went to college, I got a degree in Spanish and history so I thought I would go on to be a social worker. So, that’s exactly what I did before deciding to pursue a career in music.”

In her late 20s, Robinson said she quit her day job, moved into an RV with her husband and began traveling and writing her own music. 

“I was living nomadically and my husband and I would pick different home bases and I would tour in those areas,” she said. “One year turned into two years which turned into three and so on.”

With a mission to continue to help others, Robinson added that she began writing songs about stories of people she encountered during her time as a social worker in addition to her own personal experiences.

“Not all of my songs are autobiographical,” she said. “But whether they are or not, my goal is to turn them into something that can be of service to others. That’s central to what I do. And I don’t shy away from the heavy stuff.”

Creative in content with compelling stories to tell, the one thing that stands out from Robinson’s work is her distinct songwriting style. Despite the split perspective of telling her stories and the stories of her fans, Robinson manages to connect it all together with her insightful songwriting. 

Her newest album “American Siren” was released on Oct. 29 and ties folk, country, and bluegrass together on songs like “Cheap Seats,” about her first and only time seeing John Prine live, and “Old North State,” a song about the love she has for her home state of North Carolina.

“This record I spent a little more time writing at home during the pandemic so it’s a lot more introspective,” she said. “There’s some story songs in there for sure but it’s a little more personal and closer to home. The second song on the album ‘Things you learn the hard way’ is a fun song and there’s actually a fun story behind the writing of it. I got on Facebook and asked everyone ‘what are some things you learn the hard way?’ and I got about 200 comments. I pulled pieces from all the different stories I received and kinda created a relatively cohesive character. And yeah, that’s kinda how the song came about.”

Making her way to the Roasting Room in Bluffton, Robinson is looking forward to performing a show that she says has been long overdue.

“This is the third time we’ve scheduled our show at the Roasting Room,” she said with a chuckle. “Between a hurricane and the pandemic….we’ve tried to play this show so many times so I think that the third time’s a charm!”

Emily Scott Robinson will perform on Fri., Nov. 5 at the Roasting Room in Bluffton at 8 p.m. Must be 21 and up to attend. For more information or to purchase tickets visit roastingroom.live/tickets/emilyscottrobinson.

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