That's Bill Roberson, the California-based folksinger, with an episode from his "Gripe and Grumpy Blues" on his CD for young people and families, "Keep On Singing" from Hermit Crab Music. You'd never imagine that Roberson had an unhappy day in his life, to judge by the picture of him on the cover of the CD, as a little boy, with a guitar slung over his shoulder, wearing a coonskin cap and an ear-to-ear smile. Nor would you be hearing the rumblings of storm clouds of angst in Roberson's music on this CD -- or on the Parent's Choice-award-winning recording that he has done with The Story Quilters, B. Z. Smith and Cynthia Restivo. All of Roberson's songs, whether they're someone else's or his own creations, have a kind, calm, joyful sincerity to them, like clear mountain streams running into pure, still lakes. There's nothing fancy or over-produced about his sound. His renditions of traditional tunes like "Buffalo Gals," "Little Red Caboose," or "When I First Came To this Land" could have been sung a century ago in gold-mining towns or on the range out west. And this openness invites you to drink in the words and sing along with him. For his music communicates an abiding respect and love for everything that music passes along to us, like a wish, a morning in the garden, or the story of a favorite shirt:
Copyright © 2002, John Cech
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Monday, 28-Oct-2002 21:03:34 EST