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Late the Song Bird: B.C. woman releases her debut country album at 80

Greater Victoria’s Emma Robbins began writing her own songs 15 years ago
The cover for 80 Where Late the Song Birds Sing by Emma Robbins. (Courtesy of James Robbins)

Sidney country singer-songwriter Emma Robbins has put out her first solo album at the age of 80, after hanging up her hat for decades.

The album titled, 80 Where Late the Song Birds Sing, came out Nov. 12 and features nine songs that Robbins began recording two years ago.

“It covers various things,” Robbins said. “It covers aging, long marriages, sending women into battle and the stages of life.”

Robbins has always loved music and started singing at competitions when she was 10 years old. She finished in third place at the first singing contest she entered, which was put on by the Capital Co-op Jamboree in Fredericton, N.B. She’d return to take first place at the jamboree at the age of 16.

Earl Mitton & The Valley Rhythm Boys had Robbins join the group as their female vocalist from 1958 to 1960. The band performed weekly on CHSJ-TV.

“I was the right person to join that group,” Robbins said. “They are in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Fredericton. We did shows around the province.”

Robbins took a break from music when she was pregnant with her first child in 1961.

“You couldn’t perform on TV if you were pregnant at that time.”

Robbins also sang with the Legenders for a short period in 1965.

She eventually put her music career on pause to raise her family.

Robbins said her son James encouraged her to finally record the album that she began writing in 2007.

“He got me going on this and is handling everything,” Robbins said. “These are my protest songs. Most of the songs will appeal to others.”

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Brendan Mayer

About the Author: Brendan Mayer

I spent my upbringing in Saskatoon, and in 2021, I made the move to Vancouver Island.
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