Spartanburg, S.C — The Authors @ Upstate Visiting Writers Series kicks off the 2011-2012 academic season with a reading by poet and songwriter Wayne Robbins at the University of South Carolina Upstate’s JM Smith Boardroom of the Health and Education Complex on Wednesday, August 31 at 4 p.m. A reception will follow the reading. The event is free and open to the public, and copies of his albums may be purchased at the university bookstore.
After moving to Asheville in 1997, Robbins formed the band Wayne Robbins & The Hellsayers. They released the critically acclaimed “The Lonesome Sea” album on the Dell’Orso Records label in London in 2007. The album garnered much acclaim with themes of death, love, religion and mariner’s tales – all twisted up in a themed concoction of folk, indie rock, electronica and traditional music. Even with minimal distribution and exposure, glowing reviews poured in from all over the United States and Europe. “The Lonesome Sea” was featured on NPR, The Discovery Channel’s Urban Explorers show and caught the attention of many a like-minded act, leading to invitations to share the stage with acts such as My Morning Jacket, Chris Robinson (Black Crowes), Smog, Magnolia Electric Co. and others. The band toured Europe with Band of Horses in the spring of 2007, playing London, Glasgow, Paris, and Lucerne, Switzerland.
The band’s sophomore release, “All You Need to Sleep,” also recorded in the mountains of North Carolina and mixed by Mitch Easter of REM and Pavement fame, was released in the United States in February 2010. The album builds on the themes from “The Lonesome Sea,” but also takes them to the stratosphere with distorted layered guitars and swirling Buffalo Springfield meets Radiohead harmonies. “Rowboat of Stone,” one of the most accessible and yet strangest songs on the album, was produced by Super Furry Animals wizard Cian Ciaran.
Wayne Robbins received his BA in English from Appalachian State University and MA in English from East Carolina University. He has taught English and creative writing at Western Carolina University, The University of North Carolina Asheville, and Longwood University in Virginia. He has been teaching at USC Upstate since 2008.