Prolific guitarist and singer-songwriter Robin Trower returns to The State Theatre on April 20.
Trower is touring in support of his newest record, “Where You Are Going To,” for which he also created the cover art. The album is the legendary rocker’s latest in a nearly five-decade-long career of creating music.
“I think it’s the most rock ’n’ roll album I’ve made for a while,” Trower said. “It’s just a matter of the songs that I happen to come up with at the time, and this is what’s come out. The shows have been very, very good. We’ve been having a great time.”
From his early days in the music industry in the iconic band Procol Harum, Trower has been all over the globe — rocking audiences from Halifax to Happy Valley. He fondly recalls past visits to State College.
“It’s great!” he said. “I remember liking it a lot there.”
Like most musicians, Trower’s affinity for rhythm and melody began at a very early age. An older sibling would prove the key influence to start Trower down the path to rock stardom.
“I had an older brother who used to bring early rock ’n’ roll records home,” he said. “So, I was introduced to it by that. Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Elvis.”
As time went on, Trower’s influences would expand along with his ability. He developed a deeper infatuation with the guitar, something that he still carries to this day.
“I think my first big influence was Elvis’ guitar player, Scotty Moore,” Trower said. “That was the reason I wanted to play guitar, because of his playing. And then there were other guitar players who came along. The next one who was a huge influence on me was B.B. King. And then Jimi Hendrix was an influence. Albert King was an influence.”
Ever the traveling troubadour, Trower’s music doesn’t stop when the tours or albums end. Instead, he throws himself into his passion.
“When I’m not touring or recording, I’m usually working on new material,” he said. “Not really (any downtime). You have to keep working at it if you want to move forward.”
While Trower is loving still making music after all these years, he isn’t as hopeful about the current state of rock ’n’ roll. When it comes to modern artists, he doesn’t really have a favorite.
“Nothing really comes to mind,” he said, laughing. “It’s all gone very pop, hasn’t it?”
Even if he thinks the current state of music to be somewhat homogenous, Trower still has advice for true musicians looking to make a go of it.
“Well, I can only say what the kind of approach I had when I was starting to write,” he said. “You’ve got to follow your heart, really; what comes from within, and not be too influenced by what’s going on around you and not try to make music you think people want to hear, but just make music that you want to hear.”
The show promises to be a career retrospective for Trower. He will be playing hits from all eras of his career.
I like to play songs that work great. For me to play a song, it has to work great live.
“If they like what I do, then I think they’ll like the performance,” Trower said. “I always travel in a three piece. I play quite a bit of the early stuff, from the first three or four albums. I also play some more recent stuff and a couple off the new album. I like to play songs that work great. For me to play a song, it has to work great live.”
Backing up Trower are Richard Watts on bass and vocals and Christ Taggart on drums. Currently, Trower is really enjoying playing tracks from the new record. While he enjoys all of it, one really sticks out.
“My favorite at the moment is the title track of the new album,” he said.
IF YOU GO
- What: Robin Trower
- When: 8 p.m. April 20
- Where: The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College
- Info: www.thestatetheatre .org