IF THERE’S a lot of half-finished, semi-fulfilled, vaguely unsatisfying music around these days – songs that say nothing to you about your life – then maybe it’s because the people who make it haven’t lived much of a life themselves.
So explains Liverpool folk, rock and country singer-songwriter Robert Vincent.
Born in Crosby in 1981 into a house that rang to the sounds of Johnny Cash, The Beatles and Pink Floyd, Robert knew before he was five years old that he wanted to be a musician.
“I’ve done the whole thing of trying to be what people want me to be,” Robert explains.
“And in the end I just thought ‘I’ve had enough of this’.
“The songs I’ve written now, some of them sound like Johnny Cash and some of them like 50s rock’n’roll – but they’re what I wanted to write. And the funny thing is, the more honest I am, the better people like it.”
The result is debut album Life In Easy Steps.
“There’s no smoke and mirrors about it,” he says.
“It’s like a good old fashioned country record. Sing what you mean – and sing it like you mean it.”
It all goes back to his older brothers, who initiated him into the mysteries of Pink Floyd.
“It wasn’t just what Roger Waters wrote but why he wrote it,” he says. “That really interested me as a kid. And then I started meddling with the guitar…”
After leaving school at 16, a job as a roadie for a covers band earned him a few quid and a chance to get up and sing a couple of numbers – All Right Now and the inevitable Wish You Were Here.
“You’ll give anything to get up and have a go at that age,” Rob recalls.
Then his girlfriend became pregnant, and music had to take second fiddle to providing for the baby. He worked in catering and as an estate agent – but there was always a band too, one of which, Boa, won Rob the chance to represent Liverpool at a festival marking 50 Years of Rock’n’Roll in Memphis in 2004 and to record at Sun Studios.
But just as Boa seemed about to happen, the band fell apart.
“After that,” Rob says, “I thought ‘I’m doing my own thing from now on’.”
Robert Vincent plays After Eight at the Philharmonic Hall on Saturday February 2. Book tickets on 0151 709 3789 or www.liverpoolphil.com.