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Spokesman For The Shoeless

by: Cydney Robinson

Album Artwork

Spokesman for the Shoeless
B'Dangit Records

She calls what she does alternative mountain music and there is something in the presentation or the music or her voice that makes you believe it. She could be from the Appalachians or the swamps of Louisiana or the dark woods of Arkansas, but she is, in fact, Texas born and bred. If the strong arm of the music industry were in Texas, she would more than likely still be there, but the music which had been growing in her since birth gained strength until she had to shake the Lone Star dust from her heels and head to Los Angeles, the closest mecca of the recording empire. With music in her soul and a roll of bills saved from over two years of waiting tables and taking odd jobs, she loaded up a U-Haul trailer with her every possession, hooked it to her Camaro and headed west. What she found was a music industry in disarray, lawyers and accountants inhabiting offices formerly peopled with those more in tune with music and musicians.

Undaunted, she popped the rubber bands off the roll of remaining bills and set up shop. After a short time, she gathered a handful of musicians in tune with her vision, tied up with Tony Hoffer, who had worked with Belle & Sebastian, Supergrass and Beck to name a few and after a few rehearsals, headed into the studio. When the dust cleared, she had in her hand the perfect introduction to, you guessed it, alternative mountain music.

That music at times reflects the world through the eyes (or ears) of a character from a William Faulkner or Stephen King novel, Robinson tripping along the edge of sanity--- or at least the norm. “My Wedding” is an eerie look at marriage Las Vegas-style, complete with black dress and consummation on a mattress on the floor. The devil's seed is planted by a backwoods preacher in “Jebadiah”, “Hold Me Now” has a surreal revival meeting feel not unlike the river scene with the sirens in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, and “Amos Henry” , down and out, gambles his life away and hangs himself to the backwoods and bluesy slide of the dobro and Robinson's desolate voice. The slow and mournful “Texas” is homesickness personified and “Pelican Bay” is off the edge, Robinson's soul seemingly bared through the slow and reflective voice and the slightly off-kilter guitar work, and the background vocals belong in a cemetery at midnight.

All are not downers, though. She channels young Dolly Parton in the upbeat and raucous “Georgia” on which Sleven-Rucci-Airo and possibly Ben Peeler crank up banjo and electric guitar in fine pickin' style, and the following “Butterflies & Diamonds” pounds away as Robinson reaches way down and shows surprising vocal force. And not many people can really pull off the country blues, but Robinson does it almost Steve Young-fashion in the closer “Follow Me Down”, slightly off-key dance hall piano supplying intriguing background.

Bottom line is that Cydney Robinson has the goods. Someone, somewhere will hear it and we'll be hearing more of her. You might do yourself a favor, though, and check her out at her myspace page where she has samples to hear and even links to a couple of videos of her performing live. After that, if you are so inclined, order her CD and get in line with a growing number of fans awaiting her next release. It's a small line now, but who knows? Modern extreme hillbilly music might just be the next big thing.

-Frank Gutch

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