American singer-songwriters, Robin and Linda Williams have long since established a high mark in consistency as both recording and performing acts. Recorded in Nashville and produced by genial legend of countless acoustic-based masterpieces, Jim Rooney (John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, Iris DeMent, Nanci Griffith, Barry & Holly Tashian, Hal Ketchum, Sean Keane among others) the duo are about to celebrate 40 years playing together and I am delighted to announce, they neither have plans to quit or is there any signs of their benchmark slipping! Fans of the likes of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Tim O’Brien will more than likely, be aware of the husband and wife duo through interconnecting use of their work. Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Tom T Hall and Mary Black have also all pulled from their stock of material.
From the moment Linda eases into their song, ‘Lonesome’ to the accompaniment of her banjo, Dobro (Al Perkins), fiddle, mandolin (Chris Brashear), guitar, harmony vocals (Robin) and upright bass the theme and standard of work is set. Not to be outdone, Robin bleeds sorrowful emotion on the lonesome to the bone ‘These Old Dark Hills’ and their version of Ron Davies’ (brother of Gail Davies) heart tugging ‘Beyond The Realm Of Words’. Sandwiched in between you have skip-a-long ditty ‘Arizona’ that like another from the duo, ‘Tessie Mae’ lends a bright and breezy feel but it isn’t long before they are utilising a strong feel of emotion. This time it is via Jessi Colter’s ‘Storms Never Last’. Which has a nice accompaniment of tinkling steel guitar (Perkins) and mandolin (Brashear) to go with some wonderful vocal harmonies.
For a wistful tale concerning leaving from a more usual source since you don’t often hear a piece from Alfred Lord Tennyson (with music from Rani Arbo) on an Americana record. As for the remainder ‘Looking For Love’ has a bouncy feel and in Bruce Springsteen’s ‘My Lucky Day’ Linda makes every lyric hit home in a beautiful, under stated fashion that is so typical of the duo who can make a love song a hit every time (as in the steel guitar steeped ‘Forever’). And how apt it is they end with the gospel affair ‘World Wide Peace’ —performed a cappella style it has Linda’s fine lead aided by Robin, Chris Brashear and band member, Jim Watson (his one and only appearance on the record). File under; Country, folk, bluegrass / singer-songwriter Americana.
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