With a rich career spanning four decades, Virginia-based duo Robin & Linda Williams have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism. Today some might call it “Americana,” but these two revered music masters were living and breathing this elixir 20 years before that term was turned into a radio format. With the release of their new studio album Back 40, the Williams celebrate their musical legacy with a newly recorded album that features fresh treatments of their early classics (many from albums long out of print) and favorites by other writers, as well as a brand new song, “The Old Familiar House on Christmas Day.”
Produced in Nashville by Grammy-winning producer Jim Rooney (Nanci Griffith, Iris DeMent, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, etc), the Williams are backed by the able trio of Todd Phillips (David Grisman Quintet, Tony Rice Unit) on standup bass, Al Perkins (Flying Burrito Brothers, Emmylou Harris & The Nash Ramblers) on Dobro and pedal steel, and bandmates Chris Brashear on mandolin and fiddle and Jim Watson (former Red Clay Rambler) on vocal harmony.”
Producer Jim Rooney says of the album, “I love listening to them sing this collection of songs. I have several favorites – their takes on ‘Urge For Going’ and ‘Boots Of Spanish Leather’ are as good as any I have heard. ‘The Real Thing’ and ‘Green Summertime’ get me every time. Don’t get me started! Pretty damn good to have this freshness and energy after all the years and miles.”
Their stirring concerts have earned them a huge body of fans over the years. But as gifted songwriters Robin and Linda have earned an even rarer honor — the devotion and deep respect of their musical peers. Their songs have endured and been recorded by the likes of Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, George Hamilton IV, Tim & Mollie O’Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, and The Seldom Scene. As live performers they are second to none, keeping a busy tour schedule and also guesting on A Prairie Home Companion, which they’ve appeared on since the public radio show’s early days (they’re also featured in the A Prairie Home Companion film).
Back 40 is a milestone release by this celebrated Southern duo.