Folk with a dash of torch
Philly born and bred but a proud Chicagoan these days, Robinlee Garber brings a crystalline alto voice with gently burnished edges and an outsider’s point-of-view to the original and time-treasured songs she sings, focusing on a repertoire that harkens to the past without being a novelty act, and is relatable without pandering. Her love of music infuses all her performances, from sophisticated showcases to inclusive open mics, exposing everyone to a lovingly curated and wide-ranging songbook of folk, jazz standards, rock and contemporary music where the voice is front and center.
Robinlee grew up idolizing singer-songwriters and performers of Laurel Canyon’s heyday, like Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and Carole King but was also deeply influenced by the music of her parents: Cole Porter, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Heart is at the center of the music she loves as she believes a great song has universal appeal no matter the language. From her earliest musical memory of sitting in her mother’s teal Chevy station wagon and noticing how perfectly Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” synched up to the windshield wipers to watching “The Sound of Music” on stage as a child and wanting so much to be on stage performing, the transformative power of song has been stitched through Robinlee’s whole life. As someone with chronic health issues that often left her feeling isolated, music was also an especially potent antidote to loneliness.
A multi-disciplinary artist herself, Robinlee’s “day job” is helping seniors navigating the aging process as a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, helping people to plug into creative expression, a throughline that that has brought so much joy and healing into her own life. On any given night, though, you can find Robinlee singing songs of love and heartbreak, isolation and connection, forging intimacy and bridges between music lovers who are navigating the slings and arrows of life. Robinlee believes that music is a powerful way to build bonds in our increasingly disconnected lives.
Featured on WDCB’s Folk Festival with Lilli Kuzma, Robinlee acted as the music director of Culture Cafe for the wildly popular Chicago VeganMania festival for eight years and has been running a well-attended open mic in Chicago. She has also performed across the US, Canada, Sweden and Finland. Check out her schedule for upcoming shows and please get in touch if you’d like to schedule something.