bluegrass now
September/October 1996

Robin & Linda Williams

Sugar For Sugar

Traditionalists may balk at the mix of country and folk that adorns this CD along with the straight-ahead bluegrass and gospel. Granted, they should have known better when it comes to the singing/songwriting duo of Robin and LInda Williams, but the bluegrass here is in such wonderful company that the experience will be one of sweet sorrow.

These great duet stylists offer 11 new original tunes that span the spectrum, yet all carry a hint of the genre's influence. With the likes of Stuart Duncan, Jimmy Gaudreau, Tim and Mollie O'Brien, Kevin Maul and Jim Watson as their support crew, even Mary Chapin Carpenter's warm harmonies carry a thread of the true vine.

The project's only cover song, "The Cheapest Kind," penned by the masterful Greg Brown, is rich with the duo's hand-in-glove harmony. Twenty years of partnership are in evidence as Robin's baritone seamlessly fuses with Linda's soring lead. Her breathy and ethereal lead on the melancholy "High Atmosphere" is matched by the emotion of Sturat Duncan's high and lonesome fiddle. Take time to catch your breath after this one.

Robin's high-octane delivery on the love song "Border Bound" is a traveler's tune fueled by a signature Gaudreau break that makes the CD worth the price.

The high marks here are blurred by the success of each track, but the jewels have to be the O'Briens' harmony on the title cut and James Leva's joyful fiddle on the tongue-in-cheek, red-light-running "Traffic Light," delivered by Robin with a song in his heart and a smile on his face. Kevin Maul's beautifully shaded resonator and Hawaiian guitar work throughout must certainly get much more than an honorable mention.

The heart of any Williams and Williams production is the care taken to employ each voice to its best use. As witnessed again here, these two are masters of subtlety, achieving glittering phrasing and nuance resulting in a vocal hybrid that only their professional and personal familiarity could achieve.

The result this time is an oh-so-sweet! taste for everyone. (PH)

Return to:
R & L's homepage Welcome Biography Discography The Band On the Air
Tour Info Newsclips Scrapbook Music Links Fun Links Yak-Yak-Yak

Robin & Linda's Homepage was created by Patti Simmons.
E-mail Patti with your comments.