Ben Robinson was 13 years old when he first played on The Late Show with David Letterman. That was 10 years ago, and now, at age 23, this one-time child prodigy has turned into one of the best undiscovered bluesmen of the 21st century. These days, Robinson boasts a new independent album to his credit, aptly titled Best Served Loud, which was released in early 2009.
Recorded albums never have and never will do justice to the blues; luckily, Robinson puts on a hell of show. Take, for example, his opening set at Sam Friend's vinyl release party last month, when he even riffed off of Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade" during a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe." With his fancy finger work and raw vocals, Robinson can work a crowd, even when they're not paying attention.
Though he got his start in California, Robinson is currently based out of Jacksonville and has been touring Florida relentlessly, everywhere from Key West to Tallahassee. Catch his free, headlining set at Bardot this Friday for some unencumbered, rollicking blues.
Ben Robinson. 10 p.m. Friday, April 9. Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Admission is free; age 21 and up. 305-576-5570; bardotmiami.com
-- Hilary Saunders