Robin and Linda Williams
The year 2003 marked the 30th year that Robin and Linda Williams have been performing together and Deeper Waters could be considered a memorable anniversary gift to their fans. I can think of only a few artists in the realm of folk/countryÐfolk/Americana/trad-folk/whateveryacallit whose recorded output is earmarked by such a high level of consistency and quality for such a long period of time, and this album 17 marches along with the rest of the Williamses catalog and doesnÕt miss a step.
While their previous CD included only traditional and cover tunes "Visions Of Love"[Sugar Hill]), SUG-CD-1068, the new effort is 11/12ths Robin and Linda Williams material. Opening the proceedings is the soothing "Whippoorwill," featuring Mike Auldridge's Dobro, Robin singing lead with plenty of R & L harmonizing as well. This track wears like your most comfortable sweater on a crisp almost-spring morning. The Williamses keep that sweater handy for the next selection, "October Light," here Linda takes the vocal lead on a mid-tempo, reflective offering about the coming of autumn. I could crow with heaping praise about each remaining cut, and it's difficult just to choose a few more to highlight, but "Saving Me A Place" is a warm gospelly number full of hope about reuniting with loved ones in the hereafter. The uplifting feel-good track "Home, #235" deals with the topic of what and where "home" really is. The traditional track "IÕll Remember You Love In My Prayers," made more relevant now with many servicemen and women serving overseas, segues into happier times with four minutes of instrumental bliss via "Liza Jane/The Old StillHouse." But the greatest among them all is their rousing take on "Old Plank Road." The show-stopping rendition features dynamite singing and picking, and their lyrics are about carefree singing and picking, just for the fun of it, in a rural country store setting, three minutes, 36 seconds of unmitigated joy! Joining the Williamses (Robin plays guitar, Linda plays guitar and banjo) are their band members Jim Watson (bass) and Jimmy Gaudreau (mandolin), plus a few guests such as Ricky Simpkins (fiddle), vocalists Iris DeMent, Sissy Spacek with her daughter Schuyler Fisk, and Mary Chapin Carpenter, the latter three all contributing to the merrymaking on "Old Plank Road." Musically speaking, Robin and Linda Williams can swim with ease in Deeper Waters wherever they go. Highly recommended.
Al Reiss (Buffalo, NY)