The Dallas Morning News
Feb 3, 2002

Robin and Linda Williams
Visions Of Love

Sugar Hill Records

"Couple's folksy tunes are calming"

While husband and wife duo Robin and Linda Williams have spent much of their recording career creating original material for the coffeehouse circvuit, Visions of Love finds blurring stylistic lines as they interpret Americana classics.

The record, produced by Garrison Keillor, encompasses the sounds of traditional country, Southern gospel, straight-ahead bluegrass and front porch folk. The ambiance of the disc is homespun, comfortable and tranquil. This is an album meant to soothe the soul.

And yet there's a sense of urgency in the Williams' renditions of Hank Williams' "Ramblin' Man" and Merle Haggard's "Hungry Eyes." It's a quiet intensity, one that shines through the stripped-down instrumentation and the sincere deliveries.

Spiced with banjo, harmonica, piano, fiddle and mandolin to accompany the couple's signature guitar work, Visions of Love brims with an acoustic sensibility even if it is an electric effort.

The centerpiece of the project is the opening track,"I'll Twine "Mid the Ringlets." Best known as the Carter Family's "Wildwood Flower," the song revels in its forlorn beauty no matter what the title. With Linda on lead vocals and Robin providing subtle harmonies, the track has a spirtual tinge. It would fit just as nicely in church as it would at a bluegrass gathering.

The opposite of "Ringlets" is another Hank Williams chestnut, "The Blues Come Around." This time, Robin is on lead with Linda on harmonies. What makes the song so intriguing is its arrangement, which is not much more than a plucking mondolin, and the almost jubilant mood of the track. You'd be hard-pressed to think anybody would be melancholy during this number.

Through all 13 cuts, the Williams wrap these classics in a warm musical blanket. The pair's folk base serves them well here, allowing them the freedom to explore the corners of the American songbook.

And they treat these borrowed tunes with the same loving care they shower on their own compositions. Most covers albums should be this sweetly, and genuinely, presented.

--Mario Tarradell