Life Lessons from Robben Ford

Last night I went to see blues guitar master Robben Ford at the Grammy Museum.  I EXPECTED to hear a guitar legend speak about his amazing career and was excited to hear some songs off his new album, “Into The Sun” out today.  But, knowingly or not, he also dispensed some amazing, life-improving advice that I think can apply to everyone. Bonus!

In a Q & A format, Robben spoke candidly about his legendary career, which started when he was just a teenager.  When asked if he was insecure about playing with a legend like Jimmy Witherspoon at such a young age, Robben said no – and his quote brings me to the first life lesson:

“If you’re confident in yourself, you can fit in anywhere”..

He went into detail about playing on the road with Joni Mitchell, and called it the “best experience of his life” – even though he initially DIDN’T WANT TO!

LIFE LESSON: Say YES!  You never know what an opportunity may bring or how it may enrich your life.

Robin spoke about his guitar playing by referencing Malcolm Gladwell’s book OUTLIERS.  Robben said that as Malcolm suggests, it took him about 10 years to get good at songwriting.

LIFE LESSON:  PERSISTENCE!  Stick to it!  You can’t master a skill without putting in time and effort.

Robben’s single piece of advice to aspiring guitar players is, “Learn chords”.  Robben himself used Mickey Baker’s book Jazz Chords Volume 1.

After inspiring us with insights from his career and words of wisdom, Robben played 4 songs off the new album, “Into The Sun”, out today via Provogue Records / the Mascot Label Group.

This new album is a chance for Robben to do his own thing, which he said that he’s always wanted to do, despite playing on tour with legends such as Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis and Charlie Musselwhite, among many others.  The album highlights his skillful guitar playing, songwriting, and singing.   In speaking of the album, Robben says “The rule was to have no lid on things..I made sure there was room for new ideas and everything my collaborators brought to the music.”  His collaborators on the album are vocalist ZZ Ward, blues great Keb’ Mo’, and guitar masters Warren Hayes, Sonny Landreth, Robert Randolph and Tyler Bryant.

My favorite track on the album is So Long 4 U – with Sonny Landreth:

Robben is playing a live show TONIGHT, 3/31 at Guitar Center in Hollywood at 7 PM.  Register here: Music Mentor Sessions.

Check out the new album and follow Robben – (you never know when you’re gonna learn something!)

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