Dana & Susan Robinson in Concert
For the Cornell Folk Song Society
Saturday, March 3, 8 pm,
165 McGraw Hall, Cornell Arts Quad
Hailing nowadays from Asheville, North Carolina (by way of the Pacific Northwest and New England), Dana and Susan Robinson have the rare ability to write contemporary songs set deep within the American tradition and to transport their audience along on their journey through time and place. Their stories unfold through brilliant instrumentation (fingerstyle guitar, fiddle, clawhammer banjo, mandolin) and lovely, intimate vocal harmonies. They’re also acclaimed devotees and hot pickers of old-timey Appalachian music.
Dana’s a gifted song creator with something to say; he took a path to full-time touring (since 1994) after off-grid homesteading and running a bakery and folk music café in northern Vermont. Susan came to traditional music by way of environmental work and classical training in piano, oboe, and Scottish fiddle, which got tweaked when she learned from real old-timers in the North Carolina mountains. Because they love and breathe the songs, they can throw together Robert Johnson, Lui Collins, cowboys and farmers, Child ballads, a dash of Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, railroad hobos, Annie Dillard, and Bill Steele’s Griselda, and can evoke a Mississippi paddlewheeler, the Nebraska sandhills, or the Outer Hebrides while remaining cohesive and true to themselves.
Dirty Linen proclaims Dana and Susan Robinson worthy to wear Woody Guthrie’s mantle because they “embody the heart and soul of folk music.” They have “a poet’s perspective delivered in quietly spectacular musicianship… the music sounds laid back even while the guitar licks are knocking your socks off” (Music Matters Review). A reviewer for Music Upstream (Hartford, CT) describes their music as “physical and spiritual, contemporary and ancient, up to its eyeballs in mud and transcendent–in and of this world with a vengeance, but filled with brilliant epiphanies that throw narrow shafts of light into the corners of worlds barely imagined.” Come and hear for yourself!
Tickets: Ithaca Guitar Works, GreenStar, Autumn Leaves Bookstore, Bound for Glory, and online at www.cornellfolksong.org/. $15 advance/$17 door; $3 rebate for members, seniors, teens; children 12 & under free. Cornell students $10/$12. Info: 607-279-2027 or website.
– Margaret Shepard