Dale Robertson

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Known for his mastery at both blues and chromatic harmonicas, Dale Robertson has the singing range and power of the best rock and blues artists. His dynamic personality keeps people laughing and amazed at his "Wild-Ass" blues performances. Wearing his signature zoot suits and feather-trimmed fedoras, his many fans always know that he is in the house.

An experienced professional, Dale has paid his dues and has been singing and playing since age 14. He is considered by his peers to be one of the finest harmonica players in the Midwest. He plays with a soulful, bluesy style borne out of a lifetime of hardship and challenges.

Dale Robertson.jpg

As a young child in Detroit, Dale was surrounded with music. Dale entered Middle School and took up the trumpet. He became a member of the concert band and played for 6 years. But at the age of 14, his life took a bad turn. Caught with drugs, he was kicked out of his house by his stepfather and left to fend for himself out on the streets. He found himself homeless and helpless. With no money, no food and no place to sleep, Dale struggled. To provide a short-term option, a music friend gave him a harmonica and showed him where he could play on the streets of Ann Arbor to earn tip money. So for the next few months, Dale sat in the archway of a building on State Street near the University of Michigan campus playing songs for passersby.

From 1974-76, Dale jammed with local musicians and even played with James Cotton and Junior Wells at a local club. Then one day he decided to completely change his life. In 1976 Dale made a complete pivot from his “street” lifestyle and joined the U.S. Navy for a3-year enlistment. While stationed in the Philippines, he continued to play the harmonica at nightclubs near his base in anticipation of continuing in music upon his return to the States. When he finally returned in 1979, he did just that. By 1982 Dale returned to Ann Arbor and reverted to his life as a street performer. Fortwo years he struggled with alcohol and drug abuse. Then he had his second transformation. In 1984 Dale quit alcohol and drugs and entered an AA program. He also decided to stop playing the harmonica. Instead, he enrolled in school and earned degrees in Robotics and Computer Tech at Washtenaw Community College and Eastern Michigan University. Upon graduation he immediately landed a job teaching CAD/CAM software at a division of General Electric. A few years later he got married.

In 1993 Dale’s passion for music returned. He decided to leave his tech career and began playing at jam sessions in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Then in 1995 he ventured off to Alvin’s Nightclub in Detroit where he met up with the great Thornetta Davis who helped introduce him to the local music scene. He continued to play at club jam sessions for the next 5 years and then joined the “Shindig Band”, a Pop / Oldies band that performed at nightclubs, yacht clubs and weddings. But Dale’s first love was Blues so in 2002 he formed the self-titled “Dale Robertson Band” As head of his band, Dale not only plays harmonica but also sings lead vocals. The Harmonica is Dale’s first love because it was his first instrument and it carried him through his life journey. But he is also experienced on the trumpet, guitar and keyboards.


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