October 2008


Red House Records RHR CD213

In the days of vinyl I would have received plenty of exercise from this release through constant flipping from side one to two as it was played incessantly for a few days.

Thanks to technology I have to move much less often, if at all, plus I can play it in the car too. But this music would have been appropriate in the vinyl age, as it still is in the time of download, although I can think of no reason why anyone would not want all of the tracks. The Williams husband and wife team have been around for more than 30 years making quality country music, but they have never achieved the heights they do here. Produced by Tim O'Brien who provides tasty instrumental and vocal support and may also be responsible for hiring the exemplary Jerry Douglas, O'Brien ensures all of the parts are in the right place and the right proportions. Robin and Linda contribute 11 really excellent original songs, nicely understated harmony singing, and some solid guitar work.

Most importantly right from the opening bars of "Going, Going Gone," the first track, they are right on the pulse of the music. The timing, the bits they play, and the bits they leave out are perfect. The songs are extremely well crafted, both lyrically and melodically, and even ideas that could bomb out, like the song "Maybelle's Guitar and Monroe's Mandolin" work.

Music with no real commercial aspirations, that exists to be played, enjoyed and will be referred to many times over the years as a classic example of the genre.

John Atkins



January 2009


Red House Records

A new high point in the careers and music of Robin and Linda Williams, this CD confirms the duo's ability to still deliver fresh and exciting music via stellar original songs and indelible performances.

A studio album backed by some of the best acoustic musicians in the business, "Buena Vista" was produced by Tim O'Brien, who plays fiddle, bouzouki, mandolin and low-strung guitar, and features Jerry Douglas on dobro and Kenny Malone on drums and percussion.

Stylistically, the songs fit in a crevice between bluegrass, old-time/vintage country, and folk. Some, like the title track, have a timeless quality in the melody that sounds at home in places during the last 50 years. But the lyrics on "Buena Vista" have more edge than you normally hear from a country tune. Instead of a drunkard's nostalgic lament from the imbiber's point of view, we get to feel the effects of his addiction on everyone around him.

Other tunes have more conventional subject matter, such as "Maybelle's Guitar and Monroe's Mandolin," which is about Gibson's two most famous instruments. Traditionalists will enjoy the Williams' reworking of the bluegrass standard "Pretty Polly," which morphs into "Pretty Polly Williams," with more detail than the standard version.

The album also spotlights the Williams' superb vocals. On "That's The Way Love Goes" their duel lead vocals twist like wisps of smoke on a still night. "Visions Of Mother and Dad" features Robin on lead while "Going, Going Gone" is led by Linda's strong alto. The Williams' never resort to theatrics to deliver their message; instead, they let the songs unfold at their own pas. - SS



Buena Vista

Rating 3 1/2

Robin & Linda Williams
(Red House)

What are the odds?
Not only have Robin and Linda Williams been married for more than 30 years, they've also been musical partners for just as long. That same admirable constancy underpins Buena Vista's fine harmonies, clean arrangements and emotional integrity just as it has the duo's 19 earlier albums.

With the exception of Lefty Frizzell's That's The Way Love Goes, the disc's blend of traditional country, Americana and bluegrass is all well-crafted original material. The wry reflection on marriage's ups and downs, For Better Or Worse, has a particular ring of authenticity.

Buena Vista, to be released Tuesday,(September 16, 2008) reveals the duo's southern musical roots and songwriting sensibilities, mixed with their northern folk influences. Unfortunately, the Williams never seem to get as far north as Ottawa.
Patrick Langston



Email story Print Choose text size Report typo or correction View newspaper PDF September 18, 2008

ROBIN AND LINDA WILLIAMS -- BUENA VISTA BLUES (RED HOUSE RECORDS) Buena Vista Blues might have been recorded in a studio. But listening to the latest offering from Robin and Linda Williams is like dropping in on a folk jam on the porch of their home in rural Virginia. In keeping with the spirit of warm conviviality they invited some of their dearest musical friends to join them, including Grammy winner Tim O'Brien, who produced, in addition to Dobro ace Jerry Douglas, bassist Dennis Crouch, drummer Kenny Malone and Ray Bonneville on mouth-harp. Save for Lefty Frizzell's That's the Way Love Goes, all of the songs spanning country, bluegrass and folk are original compositions, co-written by the couple who have been performing together for more than three decades. The Williams are incapable of releasing anything but fine recordings, and this, their first studio album in four years, proves the point once again.


Hi Robin & Linda,
    Just in Time for my upcoming radio shows, Sept 18th and 25th. I'll be on WERU, East Orland, ME.
        I love Buena Vista and can't wait to get some of the songs on the air around these parts!

                                         All the best!
                                    Marilyn Ryan
                                    P.O. Box 974
                                    Bar Harbor, ME 04609


I LOVE your new CD!  Just listened to it yesterday.  Great new bunch of songs.  Cool that you had some help from Mr. Tim O and Mr. Douglas, et al. But as always those R&L pipes are as golden and sweet as ever.  Keep on rollin'!

Rik James
Bozeman, MT
"Americana Backroads" (KGLT-FM)


The new album is GREAT!  Premiering it here this Saturday night on the Americana show with a three-song set, including the amazing title track.

Seth Williamson
Roanoke, VA