Dauphin County’s got soul

Roberson reaches for a fan's video camera and films himself performing. Photo by Leon Laing.

Roberson reaches for a fan’s video camera and films himself performing.

On Feb. 27, 2005, vigoronline.com covered neo-soul singer/songwriter Eric Roberson in concert in Philadelphia. Harrisburg resident Erica Pickney told us that she also saw Roberson during a Philly concert. However, on Sept. 12, local neo-soul fans witnessed the singer without having to hop on I-76. Roberson’s concert was part of Dauphin County’s 3rd Annual Jazz Festival at Harrisburg’s Fort Hunter Park. Dauphin County also brought neo-soul duet Kindred to Harrisburg on Aug. 7.

Our website first discovered Roberson on Raheem DeVaughn’s mixtape. (We received the mixtape in 2003, a time before DeVaughn’s national fame.) Roberson, a New Jersey-based artist, has a velvety singing voice, and he meshes it with superb songwriting and an organic neo-soul sound. Not surprisingly, Roberson has done collabos with Philly artists Jill Scott and Musiq.

During the concert, Roberson, 35, wore mostly Green Bay Packers colors: His green T-shirt (with yellow letters) marketed the name of his new CD, Music Fan First. He completed his outfit with a black, banded collar leather jacket, blue jeans and yellow, white and green high-top Nike Dunks.

“I can’t see you, but I can feel you,” Roberson told his audience before they came closer to the stage. His band consisted of a keyboardist, guitarist, drummer and a backup singer. Pickney, a die-hard fan, requested Roberson to sing “Deaf Ears,” a song from his classic album The Vault 1.5. He also performed other hits from The Vault 1.5, such as “Couldn’t Hear Me.” His band incorporated some go-go and reggae into that set. Because Roberson attended D.C.-based Howard University, he gave the crowd more go-go by covering E.U.’s 1988 hit “Da Butt.”

Roberson is not a stranger to hip-hop. In fact, he freestyles in his songs, and he told the crowd that the late producer/rapper J. Dilla produced “Pretty Girl.” That song, which evokes a Stevie Wonder-esque synth sound, appears on Roberson’s Left album. “Borrow You” and “Softest Lips” were some of the other songs performed.  Roberson also paid homage to the late Michael Jackson by covering the King of Pop’s “PYT.”

4 Responses to “Dauphin County’s got soul”

  1. 1 DJ GALEN October 19, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Nice write up on Eric, however quite a few local acts were featured on the bill also, including myself (the first time that a live deejay performed at this venue). I thought this site was dedicated to the local music scene. You really dropped the ball on covering and promoting local talent. Hope you do better in the future…best of luck to you! DJ Galen GaMaJa Productions

    • 2 vigoronline October 25, 2009 at 1:59 pm

      Thank you for your comment. We always appreciate constructive criticism. You said we dropped the ball because you thought vigoronline.com covers mainly the local music scene. That’s not completely true. Yes, we do write about local acts. But there’s a void for local news coverage on major urban music concerts and celebrities in the region, so we try to cover those high-demand items first. There’s a lack of coverage for the local urban music scene, so that’s also a priority. Lastly, the flyers that I read for the jazz fest didn’t mention the local acts. I also wish you luck with your company.

  1. 1 Lalah Hathaway to give local concert « vigoronline Trackback on May 13, 2010 at 1:55 am
  2. 2 Eric Roberson’s ‘Still’ « vigoronline Trackback on July 11, 2010 at 2:40 pm

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