February, 2000

Robin and Linda Williams
In The Company Of Strangers

Sugar Hill Records

Here's a perplexing mystery of the Americana scene: Why the devil isn't this Virginia-based duo as well known as tradition-minded singer-songwriters Lucinda Williams, Iris DeMent, and Greg Brown?

Judging from In the Company of Strangers, Robin and Linda Williams are every bit their equals. Contrary to the title, these 11 original songs (plus an exquisite cover of "Cold, Cold Heart") find the twosome surrounded by longtime friends

  • Kevin Maul (Dobro and pedal steel)
  • Tim O'Brien (fiddle and mandolin)
  • Stuart Duncan (fiddle)
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter (harmonies)
  • Stuart Gunter (drums).

    The songs are loving studies in the art of personal but universal songcraft: clichˇ-bucking lyrics of sorrowful but inevitable departure, spiritual hope, and lessons found on life's hardest journeys.

    Sung and played with the effortless intuition of musicians who've immersed themselves in the many streams of American roots music, this is a wholly satisfying work of melodic country and time-defying folk art.

    Roy Kasten