Saturday, March 31, 2007

Avenue of the Saints by Dana Robinson

One of the perks for a library with a folk music series is that musicians wanting to play the venue send free CDs. At Thomas Ford we recently received Avenue of the Saints from Dana Robinson, a North Carolinian who will come with his partner Susan to the library in September 2008 (we're booking far in advance). Dana said that he sent this CD to us because it has a more Mid-Western sound than his other CDs.

"Avenue of the Saints" is a good collection of songs, most written by Robinson, with a lot of variety evoking many moods. He is also a talented guitarist and has a very clear voice. Listeners understand what he sings and can pick up on the choruses. They will especially want to join in on the lively song "What Would Woody Do?" - a modern tribute to Woody Guthrie.

The title song refers to Robinson's driving around the Mid-West. The avenue is U.S. Highway 61, which takes travelers along the Mississippi River between St. Louis and St. Paul, where he notices not only "factory outlets and budget motels" but "bald eagles." Slowly he wakes for another day of driving, and you might want to join him.

My favorite song may be "Susquehanna/Casper & Dots" on which Robinson plays a mandolin and is accompanied by friends on accordion and banjo. The slow shuffle of the first piece moves into a bouncy bluegrass reel. I also really like the traditional song "Ain't No Cane," which has a Cajun sound.

Dana and Susan Robinson have a website with samples of their music (you can listen to samples, download individual songs or order CDs), their schedule, contact information, and entertaining notes from their tours.

I am adding Avenue of the Saints to our library's Friday at the Ford folk collection.

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