Robbie Robertson finally tells his own spellbinding story of the band that changed music history, his extraordinary personal journey, and his creative friendships with some of the greatest artists of the last half-century
Robbie Robertson (1943-2023) was the guitarist and principal songwriter in The Band. He produced many movie soundtracks for Martin Scorsese and others, and as a solo artist. His autobiography, Testimony, was written over the course of five years.
Robbie Robertson’s Testimony is a book of memories and wonders, a
personal testament of a magical time in American music from someone
who was there, at the centre of it all, playing and casting spells
and writing songs that helped define those great lost years.
There’s history here, and anecdote, regret and reminiscence, a long
fond look back at the trials and triumphs of finding your voice
then holding your ground. The tone is easy, conversational, like
reminiscing with a friend about things you never realized you were
part of too. Robbie brings you along with him, keeps you right by
his side first to last, just the way his songs do, drawing you
close, spellbound by his easy sorcery. You can feel the music in
[An] elegant, evocative memoir … Robertson was particularly suited to a supporting role, happiest pulling the strings in the background. It’s the perfect vantage point for a memoirist, and he makes the most of it … The first half of the book is a hugely atmospheric song of the road … Midway, Dylan hits the narrative like a firework tossed through a window … Robertson brings the chaos vividly to life … He tells it with style and affection, showing a keen eye for detail.
*Mail on Sunday*
An entertaining and valuable description of a rock’n’roll apprenticeship punctuated by encounters with such historic figures as Sonny Boy Williamson, Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters. He casts light on a vital phase of Dylan’s career and, of course, on the history of the Band.
For real insight into a musical unit’s workings, it would be hard to beat the Canadian guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson’s Testimony…packed with fascinating anecdote.
'We’re deep into the golden age of the classic-rock memoir … Testimony ends when its author was still relatively young, but it is packed with incident … His memoir is confident and well oiled. At times it has the mythic sweep of an early Terrence Malick movie … Mr. Dylan blows into this memoir like a blazing tumbleweed … [Robbie Robertson's] writing is wonderfully perceptive.
*New York Times*