Jamie Robinson has travelled the world as a freelance musician performing with famous acts for more than 10 years, but this weekend he'll be taking the stage in a place his melodic skills have yet to take him - his hometown.
Long before Robinson became a sought after substitute guitarist — who has loaned his talents to such esteemed performers as Jimmy Rankin, The Rankin Family, Rita MacNeil, Bruce Guthro, Lennie Gallant, Deric Ruttan and Cutting Crew - the Falmouth native was a pre-teen playing sold out shows in front of his bedroom mirror, practicing looking cool while rocking out on stage.
The Dartmouth resident is looking forward to returning to Hants County Aug. 6, to share the stage with Jimmy Rankin for Ridge Fest 2 in Windsor.
"Hopefully I'll meet up with a few familiar faces," said Robinson, in a phone interview.
"I've lost touch with a lot of people... that I went to high school with and that I grew up with."
Robinson tours with Jimmy Rankin regularly, but he says connecting with an energetic audience, one that knows he's playing a hit just a few chords into a song, never gets old.
"I get a thrill every time I play a hit... and people are going absolutely bizarre."
Robinson, a writer and producer who works out of Nashville three or four times a year in between gigs, says the highlights of his career have been never-ending, even in a tough industry that is known for demanding schedules and ample time on the road.
“I get a thrill every time I play a hit… and people are going absolutely bizarre.” - Musician Jamie Robinson
"It's got to be a thrill every night," Robinson said.
The 41-year-old says one of the most memorable experiences he has had in his career to date happened when he was playing Flying on Your Own, a song he knew well and heard often on the radio, with Rita MacNeil.
"Standing on stage, and watching her sing it, and watching the audience react... it kind of makes you emotional. It's like, ‘Here I am, I'm not playing a cover of this song, I'm playing it with the artist.'"
Robinson says he gets a similar rush when audiences are elated to hear Jimmy Rankin's You Feel the Same Way Too or Cutting Crew's Died In Your Arms Tonight.
"It's (all about) those moments where you're connecting with other people," he said.
"It's what keeps me doing it."
As a successful freelance musician from a small town in Nova Scotia, Robinson says hard work and a reputation as a reliable guitarist capable of learning new material fast helps him get gigs he once only dreamed of landing.
"You meet people, you do good work and then you get recommended."
But, Robinson, who studied music in university, does have one preference when he is offered work.
"I only play good music."