MINDI ABAIR AND THE BONESHAKERS

 

Like many first-class leaders Mindi Abair (pronounced with a long A plus Bear) knows how to surround herself with greatness. She has been electrifying audiences with her dynamic live performances and utter command of the saxophone since her debut album in 2000. No one since Junior Walker has brought saxophone and vocals in one package to the forefront of modern music, with a raucous tone and such dynamic stage presence. After eight successful solo albums, the two-time GRAMMY nominated saxophonist, singer, songwriter teamed up with powerhouse Detroit band The Boneshakers, led by guitarist Randy Jacobs and released the critically acclaimed debut Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers LIVE in Seattle in September of 2015.

After 2 ½ years of non-stop touring with the five-piece band that includes vocalist Sweet Pea Atkinson, drummer Third Richardson, keyboardist Rodney Lee and Derek Frank on bass, she called on the talents of renowned Blues Rock producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Joe Bonamassa, The Black Crowes, Aerosmith) to guide them into the studio for their first studio recording.  They chose the famed Hollywood recording studio EastWest Studios, and recorded 11 new tracks of hard-driving blues, rock and soul in just five days. “The EastWest Sessions” includes guest appearances from Joe Bonamassa and the 2017 GRAMMY Best Contemporary Blues Album Winner Fantastic Negrito.

The album opens with the thumping soul rocker, ‘Vinyl,’ that is a celebration of love and the power of music, that name checks many of its inspirational characters. Abair and Jacobs share lead lines over the heavy tom tom-driven groove of the instrumental ‘I’m Not That Kind Of A Girl,’ that builds into the sheer abandon of a saxophone house party. Abair spells out her philosophy of self-reliance and determination on the rocker anthem ‘Play To Win.’ Choosing a bump and grind slow blues as her soap box, Abair takes aim at the boy’s club for the blistering rebuke ‘Pretty Good For A Girl,’ driving her point home by sparring with guitar-slinger and friend Joe Bonamassa. For the soul ballad ‘Let Me Hear It From You,’ Sweet Pea Atkinson takes the vocal reins, demonstrating the power and skills he honed as the acclaimed lead singer for Was Not Was, Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett. Some greasy wah-wah guitar mixes with Abair’s saxophone on the opening hook of the inventive almost instrumental Blues Rock anthem ‘Live My Life,’ that features a vocal chorus alternating with scorching solos. The gospel soaked ‘Freedom,’ starts out unfettered then jumps into a ripping guitar riff over a huge drum groove. This ain’t your daddy’s jazz saxophone for sure. The slinky beat from Third Richardson provides the template for Abair’s unapologetic confessional ‘I Had To Learn The Hard Way.’

Deep Blues pioneer Fantastic Negrito joins the crew on the expansive meditation ‘She Don’t Cry No More,’ a brooding work song dug up from the recesses of the human condition, filled with desperate weeping and wailing. Abair then plays a woman scorned on the dramatic ‘Done Me Wrong,’ pouring out her fury with tenacious vocals and blistering saxophone.  The playful cigar box guitar-driven country meets New Orleans two step, ‘I Love To Play The Saxophone,’ closes out the session. A sweet back porch sing-along with Abair touting her affection for the horn that has been the love of her life.

The title “The EastWest Sessions” refers to the LA studio used for recording the album in the city where they all met and started playing together, but upon further consideration what Mindi Abair And The Boneshakers have created is something deeper; a melding of styles and ideals. The tracks are a mixture of old school Eastern R&B swagger and soul meeting Modern West Coast Jazz and Commercial Rock sensibility, blended into a new groove for a new age.

Rick J Bowen

BIOGRAPHY

Two-time GRAMMY nominee Mindi Abair has made her mark as one of the most recognizable saxophonists in the US. You may know her as the saxophonist on American Idol, or the only saxophonist to tour with rock legends Aerosmith since 1973. You may have seen her on stage with Bruce Springsteen for a historic night at the Beacon Theater, or tuned in as she joined Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra on the Late Show with David Letterman, caught her appearance at The Grand Ole Opry, or recognized her as Al Pacino’s sax player in the movie Danny Collins or as the sax player in Adam Sandler’s film “Sandy Wexler.”

Her eight solo CDs have garnered ten #1 radio hits, seven top five spots and two #1 spots on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz album chart. Abair received a 2014 GRAMMY nomination in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category for “Summer Horns,” a #1 recording with her friends Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot, and more recently received a 2015 GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for her solo album “Wild Heart” featuring friends Gregg Allman, Joe Perry, Trombone Shorty, Booker T. Jones, Keb’ Mo’, and Max Weinberg.

After “Wild Heart,” Abair wanted to translate its edgier rock/soul sound to the stage. She called longtime friend Randy Jacobs (Bonnie Raitt, Was Not Was, Willie Nelson) to join her live band. Randy brought his Detroit blues/rock edge to her music.  Randy’s band, The Boneshakers, was playing The Newport Beach Jazz Festival on the same bill as Mindi’s band, where she hopped on stage to “sit in” with The Boneshakers. “There was so much electricity on stage. We all felt it. Everyone played with complete abandon,” Abair said. “It felt like home. And most of my band were also playing with Randy’s band. It was really only about hiring longtime Boneshakers vocalist, Sweet Pea Atkinson (Bonnie Raitt, Was (Not Was), Lyle Lovett). So, we made it official and hit the road as Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers.” “Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers LIVE in Seattle was released September 2015, featuring all the abandon of their live performances.

The artists she’s toured with and/or recorded with are a testament to her talent: Aerosmith, Gregg Allman, Keb’ Mo’, Joe Perry, Bobby Rush, Lalah Hathaway, Trombone Shorty, Duran Duran, Adam Sandler, Lee Ritenour, The Backstreet Boys, Booker T. Jones, Jimmy Webb, Mandy Moore, Max Weinberg, Bill Champlin, David Pack, Mocean Worker, The Ides of March and Teena Marie. Abair played on Bobby Rush’s album with Blinddog Smokin’ called “Decisions” and she produced, wrote, played and sang on “The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You.” Abair has also played on a few Keb’ Mo’ albums over the years and vice versa and she played on Sweet Pea Atkinson’s album releasing on Blue Note Records in Sept., produced by Keb’ Mo’ and Don Was.

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Kelly Z – Rescue

Kelly Z’s solo album, “Rescue,” is a collection of 60’s Funk, Rock and R&B produced, mixed and recorded by the acclaimed Chuck Kavooras. The eight tracks of inspired cover songs were recorded in 2011, but because of a set of fortunate and unfortunate events, never completed. When Chuck and Kelly Zirbes started talking about doing another project together, Chuck remembered the abandoned tracks and played them for Kelly. Both decided they were just too good to sit in a box, where no one would hear the power of these songs and skillful effort of the musicians. Kelly was brought in to sing on the tracks and finish the project. The whole album was recorded on analog at Slide Away Studios, recreating that big vintage sound, and featuring a full horn section, special guests – Teresa James, Shari Puorto & Lisa Orloff Staley – and the core studio band of Rick Reed, Bryan Head, John Marx, and Mo Beeks.

Kelly’s powerhouse rough and ready vocals draw instant comparisons to fellow blues belters, Lydia Pence, Dusty Springfield, Tina Turner and Irma Thomas. She rips out the scorching plea, ‘What Do I Have To Do,’ on the James Brown funk and fury opener, then dials it back for the smoldering soul of ‘Baby It’s You,’ and digs deep into her emotional tool kit for the slow blues ‘You Don’t Realize.’ Guitarist Perry Robertson plays Kelly’s foil on the Ike and Tina standard from 1963 ‘It’s Gonna Work Out Fine,’ complete with “Ikette” backups from Teresa, Shari & Lisa. Kavooras himself adds greasy slide guitar to the swamp rocker ‘Trying To Find My Mind.’ Soul classic ‘He Called Me Baby’ is given a tender but robust treatment and you can sink your teeth into the sexy groove of Isaac Hayes’ ‘Do Your Thing.’ The folk chestnut, ‘You Are My Sunshine,’ is given the full “Funky Broadway” treatment of a thundering jungle beat and blazing horn jabs to bolster Kelly’s steamy vocals. This collection was so worth every effort needed to complete the “Rescue.”

Rick J Bowen

BIOGRAPHY

Kelly Zirbes and her band Kelly’s Lot have been playing and recording in Los Angeles since the mid 90’s, and have recorded eleven albums and toured nationally and internationally, amassing a strong following. Currently, the full band is Kelly Zirbes on vocals, Perry Robertson and Rob Zucca on guitars, Matt McFadden on bass, Sebastian Sheehan on drums, Bill Johnston on sax, Dave Welch on trumpet, Bobby Orgel on keys and Frank Hinojosa on harmonica.

“Test Drive” gave the band its first official release. Through the first ten years they recorded three live albums, “Live At The Troubadour,” “Stop And Make A Difference” and “Trio,” headlined local festivals, toured regionally and embarked on two national tours. Many radio stations, have played their albums including their seven-song EP “Come To This,” which was recorded to showcase the band’s journey towards more blues.

Kelly’s Lot has been featured on many media outlets for the music and charity work the band has embraced. Some of the appearances include ABC Perspectives, Channel 4 in Milwaukee, Rock City News, LA Times, Pasadena Weekly, Independent Songwriter Magazine, Mixdown Magazine, The Debra Duncan Show, Good Morning Texas, The Gordon Keith show and Fox TV Houston to name a few.

In 2008 “The Light” was released, which showcased more of the rock and blues the band was getting known for. Their next release in 2009, “Pastrami and Jam,” included a list of covers the band enjoys playing.

Kelly and her band have opened for Tommy Castro, Shemekia Copeland, Marcia Ball, John Mayall, Curtis Salgado, Coco Montoya, to name just a few, and have hosted blues events for charities and for fellow blues musicians. With the support of European fans, the band toured across Belgium, France, Germany, England, Scotland, and The Netherlands. In 2011, they released a live album from Brussels, “Live in Brussels,” which was released both in Belgium and the U.S. “Plain Simple Me” came next and brings the listener back to the roots of this band, when Kelly was playing solo shows as a singer/songwriter.

“Don’t Give My Blues Away,” the next studio recording, was released with a horn section and keys with guest artists Teresa James, Robert Dill and Fred Mandel lending their musical genius to the project, which helped book new gigs for the group including the Valencia Jazz Festival and The Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival. “Bittersweet,” their early 2017 release is a mix of many genres and features a new side of the duo’s songwriting. Kelly and Perry have written songs for a 2018 blues release.

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Liked on YouTube: Bruce Cockburn- States I’m In

Bruce Cockburn- States I’m In
The first single off of Bruce Cockburn’s latest release “Bone On Bone” from True North Records.

Pre-order ‘Bone On Bone’ now:
True North: http://bit.ly/2ufirbM
iTunes: http://apple.co/2ufrV6y
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2v9ynsh

* All photos by Daniel Keebler
Edited by De St Croix

ALMOST THERE JIM !

TME.FM Radios ALBUM OF THE MONTH  rocks up to #2.

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Northwest Music Scene Review.

The 14 new tracks were recorded at the famed Blackbird Studio in Nashville by a production team led by Grammy-winning producer, drummer and songwriter Tom Hambridge. The group of A-list players involved also includes Michael Rhodes on bass, Reese Wynans on piano and Hammond B3, Pat Buchannan and Rob McNelly on guitar, and the “Heart Attack Horns,” led by Bill Bergman and Lee Thornburg. If this wasn’t enough fire power, Allchin and Hambridge recruited Niki Crawford, Wendy Moten, Seattle soul man Mycle Wastman, and international blues super star Keb’ Mo’ to join in on vocals, rounding out the all-star team.

The core quartet opens the album on the rockin’ blues shuffle “Artificial Life,” with Allchin extolling the turmoil and tribulations of the modern day working man blues. The team then heads south of the border on a rollicking trip to “The Mexican End,” an easygoing four-on-the-floor groove with hot horns and blistering lead guitar. Allchin then cranks up the volume for the heavy-hitting track ‘Bad Decisions,’ featuring more molten fret work and organ from Wynans on one of several songs co-written by Hambridge. The mood mellows for the introspective ‘Healing Ground,’ with Allchin trading verses with Keb’ Mo’ speaking to the precious gift of life that surrounds us and the power of healing available to all, if we will only listen.

The house-rockin’ shuffle “Blew Me Away” features the “Heart Attack Horns,” who bolster Allchin’s guitar chops on a good old-fashioned song about falling in love at first sight. The piano driven “She Is It” continues the theme as he testifies to the virtues of the love of his life during the easy pop ballad. The gang whips out all the Nashville cat tricks on the blazing boogie woogie instrumental “Just Plain Sick,” trading hot licks like old pros. The barn-burning “Friends” rolls out like a staple from the B.B King songbook, with Allchin delivering a sermon on trust and being wary of fair-weather toady’s and sycophants. Allchin dons an acoustic guitar to emphasize his point and our need for peace and understanding delivered via the easy-going country blues of “You Might Be Wrong,” celebrating our differences in a party atmosphere to sell an important life lesson.

The second instrumental on the record centers around soaring guitar melodies and intertwining harmonic lines that ebb and flow with emotion. The edgy “Don’t Care” finds Allchin playing the role of a man done wrong and standing his ground while his guitar does most of the talking. He then digs deeper into the blues for the torch song “Stop Hurting Me,” featuring dulcet piano from Wynans and a solo from Allchin that rips like Gary Moore. The tender tribute “My Father’s Eyes” will touch the hearts of anyone who lost a parent at an early age and longs for them to know how much they are missed and still loved. The album closes with a third guitars-driven instrumental simply titled “Destiny,” with Allchin pouring out the passion he feels for this magical instrument through his fingertips.

Jim Allchin describes the collection in the album notes as a study in the decisions we make in our life about identity, relationships, and “how to live life authentically.” Themes reflected in the lyrical content and in the choice of every note from his cerebral guitar work and soulful vocals. This is quite an album; the stuff dreams are made of.

David Rawlings – Poor David’s Almanack

The third release (and the first under just his name) for the guitarist/producer features Gillian Welch as well as Brittany Haas, Paul Kowert, Ketch Secor, and Willie Watson.

 

The Observer (UK) 80
It is, ultimately, unfair to parse a Rawlings album looking for traces of Welch. It’s wisest to thrill to an Americana record you can howl along to in the car until your heart feels replenished, to guitar work that stands among the finest.
Mojo 80
No 11-minute epics this time, but there are two stand-outs: Neil Young-esque Cumberland Gap, and Airplane, as hypnotic and moving as anything on The Harrow & The Harvest.
The Independent (UK) 80
As ever on Welch & Rawlings records, their harmonies are sublime, warmed by guitarist Willie Watson’s third part; but there are fewer dark shadows here than usual, with songs like “Good God A Woman” and “Yup” offering light-hearted fables of God’s and Satan’s dealings with women.
Exclaim 80
Rawlings’ and Welch’s music always feels like a return visit, and Poor David’s Almanack in particular seems perfectly suited to tack up on your wall and consult at home.

Over the past decade, ever since releasing the first album under his own name — 2009’s Friend Of A Friend – David Rawlings has gradually emerged in his partnership with Gillian Welch as the duo’s primary vocal outlet. Though it often seems as though the only discernible difference between albums under Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings is who happens to be singing lead, three of their past four albums have been released under Rawlings’ name.

Poor David’s Almanack takes a more full-band approach toward Welch and Rawlings’ neo-traditionalist American roots music. Enlisting longtime collaborators like Willie Watson, Brittany Haas and Ketch Secor, Rawlings runs through a mix of light folk-rock, orchestrated country-soul, traditional country-gospel, and folksy low-country blues.

When recording under the Rawlings name, Welch and Rawlings are freer to toy around musically and stray from the note-perfect craftsmanship of the acoustic duo format they tend to stick to when performing as Gillian Welch.  Poor David’s Almanack, for instance, features plenty of electric guitar, full string sections, rollicking fiddle and ramshackle three-part harmonies. 

A large component of Rawlings and Welch’s musical/historical project with their David Rawlings’ releases is their repeated insistence that in traditional music, there’s no such thing as a novelty song. Like on past comical high-dramas like 2009’s “Sweet Tooth” and 2015’s “Candy,” new numbers like “Yup,” “Good God A Woman” and “Money Is The Meat In The Coconut” are humorous, deadpan allegories that often tell deeper stories of lust, greed sex, and violence.

What’s so profoundly American about these songs are the way they often deploy humorous metaphor and simple, child-like storytelling devices to convey deeper, darker truths. Other times, the songs are simply funny stories without a larger lesson. In this way, Dave Rawlings records exist as an important counterweight to the inherent gravitas and high stakes seriousness in Gillian Welch albums.

Elles Bailey – Wildfire

Bristol-based Elles Bailey has a talent for crafting and seamlessly weaving rootsy blues, country, and soulful rock, with a contemporary edge. What’s more fate has blessed her with a ‘smoky vocal’ style that perfectly fits her music.

Elles’s trademark husky, lived-in voice may sound like this young songstress keeps up a 60-a-day habit, but was actually caused by a serious childhood illness. At the tender age of three, Elles contracted both viral and bacterial pneumonia. Ever-resilient, Elles recovered,but her voice had changed completely.  An ENT visit revealed no permanent damage, but as the specialist prophetically observed, “If she ever wants to sing, she’ll be a natural blues vocalist!”

Now, the miracle girl with the made-for-the-blues voice is about to release her debut album, ‘Wildfire’, on 1st September, 2017.

Elles had The opportunity to record ‘Wildfire’ at Blackbird Studio in Nashville Tennessee  where she drew together an amazing pool of musical and production talent and expertise.

“It was always my plan to release my debut album in 2017,” says Elles, “It had been a long time coming, but I could never have imagined getting the opportunity to make it in Nashville, at a studio like Blackbird Studios, where so many iconic albums have been made! I’m very excited about sharing this record with the world!”

Produced by Brad Nowell ‘Wildfire’ assembled a host of Nashville’s finest, including Grammy Award winner and two-time CMA ‘Musician of the Year’ Brent Mason on guitar, three-time ‘Musician Hall Of Famer’ Bobby Wood on piano, joined by Chris Leuzinger (Garth Brooks) on guitar, Mike Brignardello (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Amy Grant) on bass, Wes Little (Stevie Wonder, Melissa Etheridge) on drums, and even legendary Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter Roger Cook came on board to help add some extra sparkle. Blended together back in the UK with the likes of Jonny Henderson (Robyn Ford, Matt Schofield) on Hammond organ and Joe Wilkins on blistering guitar, the result is a unique trans-Atlantic coming together of styles.

As well as being supported by Radio 2, her single ‘Wildfire’ finally came off the Planet Rock playlist after a whopping 10 weeks and she’s back on their play list again, with her most recent single ‘Same Flame’. She has remained on the Country Rocks Spotify playlist for over a month now and cracked the magic 150k marker. Wildfire recently landed radio 1 playlist in Holland and has been voted the number 1 album in the IBBA blues radio charts. What’s more, Bailey’s most recent single ‘Same Flame’ and its accompanying video went on in June to make Song of the Day at Songwriting Magazine.

Reviewers have been wowed by Elles and her debut album, Wildfire due to be released on 1st September 2017. Maverick Magazine gave ‘Wildfire’ top marks (5/5) and went on to predict a glowing career for this talented artiste: “If Bailey can follow this album up with something equally as good as ‘Wildfire’, there’s no reason why she can’t hit the heights Swift did in country- and perhaps move even further up the country mountain than Swift did.”

“It’s a fact that very few make it to the big stage,” Blues In Britain reminds us, but “Elles Bailey has the necessary talent, the drive, and no) the product.”

Not only will Elles be doing her own headline tour of the UK through out October and November she has also been asked to open for guitar legend Eric Gales on his UK & Ireland tour.

 

ELMORE MAGAZINE REVIEW.

With ‘Wildfire’ she now delivers a debut album featuring a dozen tracks that are brim-full of fiery blues and confidence.

The pace and pitch is delightfully varied while the smoky-vocals are clear, clean and confidently self-assured, shades of the late Dusty Springfield at times, with hints of many of the old female blues greats swilling around in the background. Recorded in Music City USA, Nashville, and featuring some of the city’s finest sidemen, the keys and guitar work are driving, forceful, pounding along at times while at others pulling back off the gas and sliding along with zinging, ringing taste and control.

In many ways this album is a genuine triumph. It’s one thing to turn out a limited six-track EP but quite another to follow through soon afterwards with a fully formed, 12-track album. Bailey on this wonderful offering has pulled the trick off with absolute ease and assurance. This is an album that both promises much and delivers. In addition, it is a promising release that hints at yet more to come in the future pipeline. This is an album that crosses the acoustic-slide/electric blues divide comfortably and confidently. Get out and grab a copy of ‘Wildfire,’ you certainly won’t be disappointed. Ellis Bailey is a rising star to keep an eye on, for sure.

—Iain Patience

ANE BRUN NEW ALBUM ‘LEAVE ME BREATHLESS’ OUT OCTOBER 6th ON BALLOON RANGER RECORDS

Multiple Norwegian Grammy Award winning artist Ane Brun´s new album, ‘Leave Me Breathless’ will be released on October 6th on Balloon Ranger Records. The album is her seventh studio release and most personal yet given that it consists of fourteen cover versions.

Love and romance have never been themes Ane Brun has shied away from, her songs frequently overflowing with candid, confessional insights. Nonetheless, Brun confides, “the whole project started with me falling head over heels with someone new. I recorded cover songs for this person because, quite simply, I was overwhelmed by emotions. The love story was short, but, when it ended, I continued the project. The original idea had been to interpret love songs, romantic songs, but, in the end, there are a few with other themes as well.”

‘Leave Me Breathless’ features intimate versions of classic works from Foreigner, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Elvis Presley, The Righteous Brothers, Mariah Cary, Nick Cave, Tom Petty, Joni Mitchell, Sade, Mariah Carey and many more.

Moshe Vilozny

Born in Portland Oregon and raised in Santa Cruz California, Moshé grew up  spending  summers in Israel and winters throughout Latin America,  Moshe incorporates his life experiences into his original songs to create music without borders, with musical influences from around the world.  

Moshe has been writing & performing original songs since age 13.  In 2004, Moshe released “Revolucion” with his world music group Universal Language.  An album featuring 12 of his original songs sung in English, Spanish & Hebrew.  The group toured throughout the west coast packing venues and headlining festivals including Earthdance,  Sierra Nevada & Reggae On The River where they were joined by Michael Franti (a video of which is on the UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE tab  of this site)  As players moved out of the area & country and Moshe settled down into family life, the group took a hiatus, with occasional reunion shows.

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2016 found Moshe returning full circle back to his roots as a singer songwriter with the release of “Lost & Found”.  One of the last projects  recorded at Gadgetbox Studios in Santa Cruz, the album features 13  original songs performed live in  studio.  The album features all acoustic instrumentation, &  some of Santa Cruz’s finest players.  The album was put onto heavy rotation on AAA Americana radio station KPIG where it is often requested. 

2017 finds Moshe writing more than ever as he draws on his life changes, including the birth of his daughter Isla on July 6th.  He has written the material for his 3rd album which will be his most intimate effort yet.  He is performing mainly as a solo artist showcasing songs from his previous two albums and his forthcoming album bringing  honest, heartfelt original live music to his audiences.

Kim Robins

Kim Robins has blended the sounds of hardcore traditional and progressive bluegrass to produce her debut CD, 40 Years Late – a collection of intimate stories that reflect Robins’ own journey as told through a mix of original songs and remakes of bluegrass and country legends.

Born into a musical family and singing from the age of five in church and in her father’s band, Robins was influenced largely by the music of Connie Smith, Loretta Lynn, Buck Owens, Ray Price, Bill Monroe, and Barbara Mandrell. She was an original member, and the youngest, of the Little Nashville Opry in Nashville, Indiana. Her mother’s encouragement that she practice daily and sing loud paid off as she traveled all over the country, opening for legends such as Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Barbara Mandrell and The Oak Ridge Boys.

Robins grew up with music in her veins but, at age 19, gave her first love a backseat to a new love – her baby girl. After earning two college degrees, single handedly raising her daughter and establishing a career, Robins met and married renowned banjo player Butch Robins – and her dream of performing music was reignited. With Butch’s encouragement, she started writing music and finding venues to showcase her powerful vocals – starting with singing backup harmony with bluegrass band Misty Stevens and Reminisce Road. Since then, Robins has gained attention with her high-energy, contemporary sound, performing at the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America, The Folk Alliance in Memphis, and opening for Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice at the Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series.

All at once feminine yet fierce, transparent yet tough, vulnerable yet versatile, 40 Years Late includes 12 songs that center on the theme of heartbreak and redemption. Of the seven which were written by Robins herself, the title track deals with the heartache and redemption of the relationship between a little girl and her father, and of the heartache and redemption of putting passions on hold. With a hint to her years on the road as a medical sales rep, dreaming of one day being able to perform music again, it speaks to anyone who has given a back seat to dreams:

And years out on the highway has brought me where I am today
We all have a dream but some of us must wait
But we are all defined by the choices that we make
This time I’m gonna make it work, I’m just 40 years late.

Others, of course, deal with romantic heartache and of grace both extended and received. In “It’s Me Again,” written by Sheila Stephen and Jerry Salley, Robins sings from the point of view of a betrayed lover:                    

When the touch you left me for
Don’t satisfy you anymore
You’ll close your eyes and you’ll pretend
It’s me again.

And, in her original “Cry,” she sings from the point of view of the betrayer:                    

I tried a million times to tell him but I couldn’t find a way out
They say the truth is hidden in a lie
Until a warm night in autumn, at a motel close to our home
The truth I no longer could deny

Traditional bluegrass fans will enjoy remakes of the likes of Bill Monroe, Dolly Parton, and Porter Wagoner, and should keep an ear open for some humor as well. In a tribute to her idol Connie Smith, “I’ve Got My Baby On My Mind,” Robins sneaks in Smith’s trademark hiccup. 

Lastly, the CD comes full circle with a bonus track featuring the man who originally ignited Robins’ love for bluegrass – her 82 year-old father — and the man who fanned the flame forty years later – bluegrass great Butch Robins. Of his original album’s namesake, Butch Robins says Kim Robins’ 40 Years Late is in the top 25% of all first time efforts he has ever heard.

Robins has managed to assemble a team for 40 Years Late to produce a sound that is both impeccable and ingenious —  legendary musicians including Butch Robins on banjo; Michael Cleveland, International Bluegrass Music Association’s nine-time Fiddle Performer of the Year; Jeff Guernsey, former fiddle player for Vince Gill, on guitar; and Lynn Manzenberger, formerly with The Wildwood Valley Boys, on bass. Cleveland’s mandolin player, Nathan Livers, also played on several tracks.  Richard Torstrick engineered and co-produced 40 Years Late, and local favorites Mark Stonecipher, Mike Curtis, Seth Mulder, Misty Stevens and Kent Todd of Blue Mafia also contributed.

Jeff Guernsey says “There is something for everyone, from traditionalist to progressive bluegrass lovers.”

Now married to businessman and college basketball official Mark Gines, Robins resides in her hometown of Bloomington, Indiana, balancing her career as Registered Nurse for a Wound Care Physician, with time enjoyed with her husband, daughter, two stepsons, and two grandchildren. And, some forty years after she started, she is writing, recording, and performing music — proving that, sometimes, even forty years late is right on time.