Robby Hecht is a modern folk musician-of-all-trades: singer, songwriter, congenial collaborator to some of the biggest up-and-coming names in the genre, celebrity to some, generally decent human.
Robby first fell in love with the emotional potential of music as an awkward pre-teen in Knoxville, lying alone on his bed and listening to “Hits 100” on the radio. He hadn’t figured out how to talk to girls, but he was so moved by the music that one night he called in to dedicate Aerosmith’s “Angel” to a crush. He used full names. They played Mariah Carey instead. Robby will be forever mortified.
A couple of decades later, Robby tries to capture that same emotional resonance he felt during those earliest interactions with music. His music blends nostalgia with unabashed honesty: 1970s golden era of folk meets personal confessions of the Facebook era. He turns a lost battle with alcohol into a powerful country duet, weaves 2,000 years of history into a sparse musing on morality, and transforms insecurities left over from broken relationships and mental illness into deceptively catchy melodies.
These explorations of truth about the human condition, mixed with one of the clearest voices in today’s folk scene, are why Robby has become a presence on stage — whether it’s at his monthly residency in Nashville, a formal concert hall somewhere in America, or a private performance on a park bench in West Texas for a woman trying to woo back an ex. (Seriously, Robby was flown out for the show, played six songs while they quietly wept, flew home. They tracked him down years later to let him know they had gotten back together. Side note: Robby is available for hire as a relationship fixer.)
Motivated by both his love of songcraft and his ineptitude at competitive sports, Robby has won over judges at several major performing songwriter competitions including those held at the Kerrville Folk Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival. “Eventually I had to move on from contests and be a real singer-songwriter and do booking and marketing and stuff,” he says. So he did: In 2014, his third studio album, Robby Hecht, got him featured on NPR’s Mountain Stage and was praised as “songwriting of the highest quality” by The Telegraph in a five-star review. And his 2017 single “The Ends And The Means” was recently featured in the nationally acclaimed fiction podcast Welcome To Night Vale.
Robby is also a prolific songwriter as a collaborator. His songs have been recorded by a number of other artists including Meghan Linsey, Jennifer Knapp, Nora Jane Struthers, Liz Longley, The Steel Wheels, and Amy Speace, among others. He often teams up with Nashville singer-songwriter Caroline Spence, writing and performing songs with goosebump-inducing harmonies. Their first two singles, “Two People” and “Parallel Lines,” have a combined 8 million plays on Spotify, and they plan to release a full album together this summer.
In many ways, Robby is still that kid lying on his bed, listening to the radio, daydreaming about a better life. But now he’s also the musician who creates that feeling, believing that everyday moments can be made a little more sublime with the right melody, a few choice lyrics, and a voice that cuts through the fray.