This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 6/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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On his latest release, Dana Robinson again opens himself up and shares his thoughts and feelings. The combination of his lyrics and presentation create a comfortable level of intimacy, as if he is singing directly to the listener. His words are aided by the sweet gentleness of his vocals and the clear, clean instrumentation surrounding each song. Written primarily on the road, the origin and creation date of each cut is thoughtfully detailed in the liner notes, a nice touch more artists should emulate.
Employing a double meaning in the title song "The Trade," Robinson ties together his craft with the exchange between performer and audience:
"...A handful of words, these are my toolsIn "Ballad Tree," he offers a wonderful tune that burrows beneath the surface of the Kerrville Folk Festival and gets to the true heart of the matter:
I'll drive for miles, I'll be the fool
An empty sky, a long stretch of road
Are just as familiar as any home
That is the trade
The distance we go for the connection we make
That is the trade..."
"...I heard that there was breath here found for breathing"Chautauqua Day" celebrates the spirit of this old-time community get-together. In a very danceable rhythm, Robinson sings:
And branch by branch the ballad tree revealed
That I could leave behind these endless fists a' knocking
For the safety and abundance of this glowing field...
We take with us the taste of our communion
And all those voices ringing in my ears
I look forward to the moments of our reunion
In this home away from home, year after year."
"I'm running like the thread"Rainbow Sign," in part, continues his traveling troubadour theme:
Through the eye of a needle
Stitching up time with my hands on the wheel
Oh Chautauqua day
Take me to the blessing of the next cafe..."
"...I rambled o'er a mountainsideThis release is also loaded with excellent fiddle, mandolin, banjo and guitar riffs and combinations, another specialty of Robinson and friends.
Toward some wishing pool
I found naught but a desert dry
And proved to be the fool
But a rambling fool I'd rather be
With stories full to tell
There we'll find the water sweet
From a deeper well..."
So settle in for your date with Dana, for he only has words for you.
Robinson, on vocals, guitar, banjo and mandolin, is assisted by Lui Collins on vocals and guitar; Rose Sinclair on banjo and accordion; Robert Bowlin on fiddle, mandolin and guitar; Viktor Krauss on acoustic and electric bass; Kenny Malone on drums and percussion; Johnny Hiland on electric guitar; Rob Ikes on dobro and Dar Williams on vocals.
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