Reviews

Nell RobinsonNell Robinson
Album: The Rose Of No-Man's Land
Label: Compass
Tracks: 20
Website: http://www.nellrobinsonmusic.com/

Nell Robinson a singer songwriter from Alabama has been compared with early Dolly Parton, Hazel Dickens and a modern Patsy Cline.

Nell Robinson is fascinated by her family's military past; hence why she adopted Nell Robinson as a name, this was the name of her grandmother.

Nell Robinson's voice ingrained with the swirling sounds of the Deep South.

This included not only the 'time-out-of-mind way of living' but also the discouragement of self-expression and the imperativeness of conformity.

The Rose of No-man's land is an experiment looking back into her family's strong military background. Creating musical tales of specific experiences and memories from members of her family. The album and songs acts as an archive, bringing together a collection of stories, letters and poems from the Revolutionary war to the present day. Pairing the emotive songs with snips of real experience, through letters and the spoken word adds a whole new layer to the album. It almost serves in a similar way to a documentary about the families of soldiers during in war.

Two original tracks appear on the album: Rodney Crowell - Scot's Irish and Guy Clark's - Heroes. These explore the sad fact that more veterans commit suicide than those who are killed in active fire. Captured by the line: "Everybody needs heroes…whose going to save the hero from himself". As she puts herself in her family's shoes we are also taken back in time and place. Nell's blues and country vocals do not fill you with sadness despite the solemn occurrences explored here, instead you feel like you are being shown something with a new light. It's not all doom and gloom; there is a lot of positive ness surrounding family unity here, such as 'waiting for the boys to come home'. Her vocals are enhanced by special guest performances Jack Elliot, John Doe, Maxine Hong Kingston and Kathy Baker.

This album is not only a collection of rich and enthralling country songs, but it is a history lesson, a novel and a family album rolled into one.

The Rose of No-Man's Land is to be released on November 4, 2014.

Leah Parker-Turnock

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Rose Of No-Man's Land Trailer


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