Feb 10, 2000

Robin and Linda Williams
In The Company Of Strangers

Sugar Hill Records

Robin and Linda Williams began collaborating musically more than 25 years ago and shortly after releasing their first album in 1975 and were made a virtually permanent feature of Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion. The couple, along with their Fine Band, craft a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism.

"The Perfect Country Song", a low-key but impassioned attack on what the couple see as the vacuity of much of what passes for contemporary country music contains the refrain "Once, a long time ago I was on every jukebox/ you'd hear about me on the radio - tough as nails and dumb as an ox/ Everything I done, I done it wrong, I was the perfect country song." The song moves along at a reasonably brisk pace and Robin's round, warm voice positively chuckles at the absurdity of singing the praise of something so obviously flawed and yet so desperately missed.

Linda's touching and plangent voice is given free rein to roam over the desolate landscape of an unrequited love in "Cold, Cold Heart," a song whose touchingly simple lyric evokes all the pain one person can bear.

The couple left Nashville for the Shenandoah Valley in the early '80s and since then have built a loyal following through an extensive touring schedule and friendly shows. In the Company of Strangers will be released January 26.