Folk artist Robinson released his latest EP Triune this week. From East Lancashire, his influences include James Taylor, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Robinson typically writes songs of social commentary and stories that are inspired by his own life and community. Triune is the culmination of his life experiences and his expertise in telling a compelling narrative.
The first aspect of Robinson’s music that I noticed was how expertly the guitar was played. The second aspect was pretty obvious; the sustained shhh and ssss sounds. It’s an interesting technique that’s difficult to pull off without sounding like a children’s TV host. My last observations were more questions than actual acknowledgements. Who is Jacqui? Why is Ganesh her favourite Hindu god? For once I actually paid attention to the lyrics, and this in itself says something about Robinson’s storytelling ability. I thought the song itself was a little too long and could have ended after the four minute mark (after one lot of Ganeshhhh). But overall it was an interesting track that is definitely worth more analysis.
Maggie & Emily again uses acoustic guitar but focuses more on broken chords and subtlety than the first song. There was a very brief guitar solo up in the higher register that was sweet and gentle in nature. It was an absolutely perfect choice for the lullaby. Robinson’s vocals were on show in The Big Issue. Interestingly, his tone is airy but also has a strong and rough element to it that has the capacity to make his voice stand out against the rest. He also sings in his natural spoken accent, and if you’ve read any of my other articles you’ll know I’m a great believer in this practice.
Robinson is a great storyteller. His lyrics take you on a journey (yes I used the dreaded ‘j’ word) and have you questioning what you just heard. The musical settings of these stories are well performed and provide sufficent background to the narrative. With a few tweaks, I think Robinson could make a great impact on the folk music scene. I give the EP 8/10.