Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hearsay, there and everywhere...

Although it's still up and running quite nicely thank you very much, is currently undergoing a little refurbishment. As a result, the Reviews section of the site hasn't been updated in some time. This situation will be remedied shortly and links to recent reviews should soon be posted.

In the meantime I thought I'd share a few recent quotes of note:

"Every cut is a crystalline gem" --Luke Torn, Uncut

"One of the better discs of 2007 that I've heard" --Stephen Ferra, Absolute Powerpop

"'Undercurrent' is often gorgeously melodic - the ballad 'Love Is Real' borders on majestic - and Robinson's clear, controlled tenor is the perfect conduit" --Eric Snider, Creative Loafing

"Great guitars, great harmonies and awesome lyrics" --Johanna Bodde, Insurgent Country (The Netherlands)

"Elegantly crafted Beatlesque folk-rock of the highest calibre" --Rob Lincoln, CD

"His songwriting and guitar playing are, as his label suggests, drenched in sunshine" --David Cowling, Americana UK

"Can I please put my Hannah Montana CD on now, dad?" --Emma Robinson

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Blessed are the Meeks...

On the heels of his rather glowing Indie Launchpad review, Colin Meeks kindly featured my nostalgia-tripping school playground singalong "The Best Days Of Your Life" alongside tracks by The Weakerthans , Jane Taylor and Chris Brown on Episode #74 of his Indie Launchpad Podcast .

Colin's love for his family, and his unabashed enthusiasm for Indie music that moves him, are on full display during his podcasts, and it's quite endearing. It's also quite contagious--after listening to him positively gush over every one of his selections, I felt compelled to investigate them all further.

Quality stuff, as it turned out. Chris Brown, in particular, impressed me. His track All My Rivals made me think of The Beach Boys' underappreciated "Holland" album. See if you don't agree.

If not, it's detention for the lot of you.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Is that an Irish lilt, or do you always stand like that?...

I'm pleased to announce that the smart online retailer Miles Of Music has added "Undercurrent" to their catalogue. They passed on my last release, so I was quite pleased that they saw fit to take this one on board. They're even selling it with a money-back guarantee, apparently.

Miles Of Music reviewer Jeff Weiss writes -- "Robinson...creates pop gems teeming with mandolin, harmony, touches of English folk, Irish lilt and baroque pop."

Let's not argue with the man; let's all click here, or on the logo above to read more, and to listen to audio samples of "Wooden Hill" and "Wasted And Waiting", shall we?

If you don't do it for the mandolin or the harmony, at least do it for the Irish lilt.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Absolute Power Pop...sort of...
Living as I do, in that grey area between Folk and Pop music, I'm quite accustomed to occasional rejection notices from Folk radio stations for being too poppy, and from AAA radio stations for being a little too folk. Without being a mind reader it's impossible to know exactly where you may have crossed the line and moved into an undesirable genre. My guess is that to the ears of many a AAA programmer it could be something as simple as the abundant use of mandolins or harmonicas, whereas electric guitar riffs and programmed instruments may well cause folkie Music Directors to reach for the Tylenol.

I think it can often be a very fine line though. I recently heard from a AAA station in Colorado that they were declining to add my album to their playlist because it was a little too folky for their pop/Adult Alternative format, yet later that day, the same record was the recipient of a rather glowing review on the Absolute Power Pop website. Conversely, a certain folk show programmer politely informed me that he'd passed my CD on to another, more pop-orientated dj at his station, just the day before I discovered that three songs from it had been added to the playlist of the excellent Online Folk Festival Radio.

To cloud matters even further, the Dutch review site Insurgent Country not only posted a review of "Undercurrent", but also asked me to write a few words about my previous, country album, "Away For The Day". (Interested parties can click on the"Reviews" tab to access both articles)

Identity crises aside, you have to embrace this don't you? People are always going to label your music, and there seems to be so many genres and sub-genres out there, that there's bound to be some overlap. I try to look at it as a positive; a way to scamper under the various descriptive umbrellas out there and sneak a radio spin wherever possible. Being labelled a stylistic imposter once in a while is a small price to pay, really.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and brush up on my stand-up bass skills--there are several Bluegrass radio stations out there that are ripe for the plucking.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

DigStation - Indie Music Downloads
Can you dig it?...
Yes you jolly well can, dear friends. Individual tracks from the new album are now available for download at Digstation . Of course, you can also download the whole thing, liner notes and cover art and all, if you're so inclined.

For the more traditional-minded among you; those who still prefer to have an actual hard copy release, CDs are now available for purchase at CD Baby.
While you're there, have a listen to lo-fi clips of the songs, and then, if you're sufficiently impressed, you can always spring for the full, er...mid-fi experience.

If not, I'll totally understand. We'll part friends, and you can trot off and tell everyone how Robinson has lost it, and has not only written a song (Road To Ruin) that veers awfully close to anti-war/protest song territory (something I've long claimed I would never do) and hired a young and gifted fiddle player (Victor Gagnon of Seven Nations/Rathkeltair fame) in an attempt to enliven and add a little Celtic flavour to an otherwise lumpen, drunken "Wasted And Waiting" tale (something I've long wanted to do), but has also resorted to adorning the knees-up nostalgia-fest known as "The Best Days Of Your Life" with a (gasp!) tuba solo (something I may well do again).

I can live with that; fair's fair, I suppose. Do me a favour though--don't mention the bodhran, ok?

Buy the CD

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Plans for the release of the new CD, "Undercurrent" are going swimmingly...

It's been over two years since the release of "Away For The Day", and one would think that I've had ample time to leisurely work on this follow-up record. One would be bloody well mistaken.

For various reasons (most of them my fault) the CD pressing deadline I had, turned out to be a rather concrete one, so the last couple of months have been an insane, mad dash to the finish line. The reasons why aren't really important; what IS important is that I publicly acknowledge the Herculean efforts of my friends and co-producers, Ed Woltil and Brian Merrill, without whom this posting would be an apology for an unfinished project rather than a release date announcement.

Yes, for want of a better term, Ed and Brian saved my sorry arse. What started as a casual, good-natured invitation to embellish my half-finished home-recorded tracks at Brian's studio B, quickly became a succession of hastily scheduled, late-night recording and mixing sessions that proved to be essential in ensuring that "Undercurrent" was released as an LP rather than an EP.

Fueled by Ed and Brian's boundless energy, enthusiasm (and the occasional Belgian Trappist ale), drum tracks, electric guitars and bass tracks were somehow miraculously recorded in time to meet the rapidly approaching deadline. In between sessions, Ed continued to somehow find the time to add his always sympathetic (and at times telepathic) touch to my songs, even co-writing one of them ("Class Clown"), as well as programming additional parts at his own home studio. Yes, schedules were interrupted and sleep was sacrificed; there was even rumours of Brian being seen mixing in his pyjamas. Be that as it may, the bottom line is that the two of these fine gentlemen went so far above and beyond the call of duty, that it verges on the embarrassing. I remain in awe of their tenacity and talent, and I thank them from the heart of my bottom.

So, who's on it? Well... unlike the last DIY effort, this one is a more collaborative affair. Aside from the aforementioned input from Mr Woltil, "Undercurrent" also features veteran drummer Chuck Darling(Nineveh Project); a guest spot from young Celtic fiddler Victor Gagnon(Seven Nations, Rathkeltair), as well as some harmony vocal help from my ten year-old daughter,Emma, who managed to nail her parts in two takes (her dad could learn a thing or two).

As far as the songs go...there's an unapologetically Beatle-ish pop song of love and commitment (Love Is Real); a Celtic-tinged folk-rock expression of awe at the bond between a parent and a child (Please Emmalene); a nursery rhyme-infused homage to a dearly departed mother (Wooden Hill), and an old-timey, music hall-influenced singalong remembrance of schooldays past (The Best Days Of Your Life).

Lest this all sounds a little too much like an exercise in ever-sentimental, rose-tinted nostalgia, I also tossed in a rather disquieting strangled-folk rumination on global religious conflict (Road To Ruin); a tale of drunken excess, emotional disconnect and failed ambition(Wasted And Waiting) and an apologetic lament on the pervasive celebrity worship culture that we humans seem content to wallow in (Boring God). A little undercurrent, you might say.

And where might one purchase said confection? Well, I'm expecting to have CDs in hand by May 24th; retail outlets like CDBaby,Kool Kat Musik,Woven Wheat Whispers, and Not Lame etc., should have them a few days after. I'll post details as soon as I have them. If you prefer, you could always e-mail me via the website, and for the paltry sum of $12, I'll send one directly to you. No messing. I'll not even charge you for shipping and mishandling. Of course, it will be arriving via carrier pigeon, but you know what they say about looking a gift horse in the beak...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Get Carried Away...every home should have one, you know.

I speak, of course, of the latest Sunshine Drenchy Records release, Carried Away by The Ditchflowers

When you think about it, it's preposterous that I even have to mention this. If exposure were directly proportionate to raw talent, we'd probably all be quite sick of them by now. Several of these tracks would be in heavy Clear Channel rotation; CD artwork and oversized promo displays would be beckoning to patrons in Best Buy outlets nationwide, and nationally-syndicated TV shows would be serenading us with Ditchflowery soundtracks all over the bloody place. Of course, some of us would be falling over ourselves to reminisce aloud about how we used to go and see Ed Woltil's "Mad For Electra" and Brian Merrill's "Barely Pink" in the clubs and bars back in the day, and how they were so much better back then, before they sold out.

As we all know, however, talent seems to have fallen way down on the list of prerequisites for commercial success these days. Generally speaking, you have to scavenge and forage about the outskirts of the pop landscape in order to find the true gems. No, it's not what you'd call fair, I suppose, but there is a special kind of satisfaction to be had in such discoveries.
It's not my intention to review this stellar album, track-by-track for you; I'd rather you enjoy unearthing the little beauties for yourself. So, off you go-- have a Listen and tell me that these Ditchflower lads aren't making some of the tastiest pop music you've heard in donkey's years, and I'll meet you at dawn, rapier at the ready.

Will they sell out? They will if there's any justice.