– Jennifer Tobin, Arts Coord, Village Theater of Canton
Ever since their first meeting, over twenty years ago, Robert Jones and Matt Watroba have been musical partners. Their relationship started when they hosted back to back, radio shows on WDET-FM, Detroit. Later on they started performing together and, in doing so, they discovered a friendship based in mutual respect and a love for traditional American music. Now, Matt and Robert literally travel the nation extolling the virtues of “Music That Matters”.
For Matt and Robert, American Roots Music (Folk, Blues, Spirituals, Work Songs, Chants, etc.) is music that matters. This is the music that America and the world have in common. It is music that reflects history, social change, migration, hopes and dreams. It is music that is rich and diverse, direct and powerful. As talented as they are individually, Matt and Robert together form a synergy that hard to describe. Whether for a performance, a workshop or a school presentation any organization would be well served by bringing in this duo.
Veteran performer, teacher, radio host, song writer…the list goes on, but what Matt prefers to be known as is a community singer, song leader and educator.
Many know Matt as the voice of folk music in Michigan for his work with WDET–Detroit Public Radio. As producer and host of the Folks Like Us program, and the nationally syndicated, Sing Out Radio Magazine and Folk Alley, Watroba has come in contact with many aspects of folk music and culture. This has helped shape a repertoire and presentation that is unique on stages across the state and country. He is committed to inspiring the world to sing– one town at a time.
Rev. Robert Jones, Sr. is a native Detroiter and an inspirational storyteller and musician celebrating the history, humor and power of American Roots music. His deep love for traditional African American and American traditional music is shared inlive performances that interweave timeless stories with original and traditional songs.
For more than thirty years Robert has entertained and educated audiences of all ages in schools, colleges, libraries, union halls, prisons, churches and civil rights organizations. At the heart of his message is the belief that our cultural diversity tells a story that should celebrate, not just tolerate.
Acclaimed photographer James Fraher writes about Robert: “Perhaps the world’s most highly educated blues musician, an ordained minister, a longtime DJ, and a living encyclopedia of blues history, the Reverend Robert Jones is comfortable among juke joint loud talkers, fancy-hatted church ladies, and PhDs alike.”