To celebrate the release of his debut album, Oscar winning star Tim Robbins with The Rogues Gallery Band have announced an intimate date at Whelan’s on Sunday 26th September. Tickets priced €25 inclusive of booking fee are on sale now.
Releasing your first album at the age of 51 is a curious thing to do when you’re already a global, Oscar winning star known for your work both on the screen (Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River), behind it as a director of film (Dead Man Walking, Cradle Will Rock) and theatre (1984, Embedded), but not as a musician.
Yet Tim Robbins is a cautious man creatively. Far from jumping straight into this musical venture, it’s something the film icon has been working on his entire life. Brought up around a host of talented musicians, including his brother David, his parents Gil and Mary, and their folk singing friends, music is in Robbins’ blood. Even so, he keenly considered where his strengths lay as a musician and composer before putting together his first album.
Of course Robbins has wielded an acoustic guitar before, as Bob Roberts the folk singing right wing politician in the 1992 movie of the same name in which he starred and directed. When the movie was released Robbins decided he didn’t want to release the soundtrack as he didn’t want the songs played out of context. “Around that time there was also interest from the music industry for other projects that I chose not to pursue because I didn’t want to embarrass myself by producing a gratuitous, ego driven album.”
His 1995 writer/director triumph Dead Man Walking – for which he was Oscar nominated – also provided fertile ground for Robbins’ musical interests. After sending a rough cut of the film to a selection of songwriters who had inspired him over the years, Robbins co-produced the film’s lauded soundtrack for Sony. Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Eddie Vedder, Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Steve Earle and Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn all contributed. Robbins has also undertaken projects with Pete Seeger and Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter.
Robbins has long written songs and performed in small venues, but has kept it under the radar – until now. Before recording his first album Robbins wanted to “understand what my voice was and what kind of stories I wanted to tell. I think I’m ready to tell those stories now.”
With Robbins singing alongside a backing band of multi-instrumentalists, the album features everything from a fiddle and saw to a guest spot from Joan As Policewoman (on ‘Moment in the Sun’), a harmonium, hurdy gurdy, accordion and Cor Anglais.
Though he’s no plans to end his movie career, Robbins admits there’s something about performing live music that makes it that much more thrilling than the silver screen.
The Rogues Gallery is: Kate St. John, Leo Abrahams, David Coulter, Roger Eno, Rory McFarlane, Andrew Newmark and Dudley Phillips
‘Tim Robbins & The Rogues Gallery Band’ is released through [PIAS] Recordings this September. They will also play at The Limelight in Belfast on Monday 27th September.