Twangcast Top 10 - June 26th 2006
1. Steve Robinson - Find My Baby Blues
2. Dave Jorgenson -We Have a Winner
3. Wanda Jackson - You're Right, I'm Left, He's Gone
4. Wade Bowen - Walkin' Along the Fence
5. Sonny Burgess - The More I'm Around People, The More I Like My Dog
6. Rex Hobart - Every Night I Leave You In My Mind
7. Liz Talley/Billy Yates - Its Time to Cross That Bridge
8. Lucky Tomblin Band - Squaws Along the Yukon
9. The Daughters of Bluegrass - Back to the Well
10. Scott Miller/Commonwealth - Wild Things
TwangCast radio (Jun 26, 2006)
Over the course of his 57 years, native Long Islander Steve Robinson has been something of a jack-of-all-trades. He’s worked at everything from being a carpenter to an English teacher, a fisherman to a truck driver, an air traffic controller to a computer programmer, and pretty much everything in-between. Through it all though, music has always been a big part of his life and he’s been a fixture on LI’s original music scene for some time. He has an affinity for acoustic and roots/Americana based music and cites as among his favorite songwriters, John Hiatt, Delbert McClinton, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Kevin Welch, Paul Brady, Jimmy LaFave, and Slaid Cleaves. His live performances reflect that, as along with Steve’s own original songs, he often peppers many of their songs, among others, into his sets.
Despite this well-respected singer/songwriter’s lengthy tenure on the music scene, Steve has just gotten around to recording his first release, Back Roads. The album contains 12 of Steve’s original songs that run the gamut of roots music- blues, country and folk with occasional touches of soul and jazz, often mixed and matched in varying combinations.
Back Roads opens strongly with a shuffling “ramblin’ man” roadhouse blues, “Finding My Baby Blues,” which features some mighty tasty slide guitar work that gives the song a swampy delta feel. Steve shows off some outstanding finger picking and soulful vocals on the “rock on down to save your soul” N’awlins flavored boogie, “Mama’s Place.” The easy, laid back arrangement gives it a warm, toe tapping, back porch feel. Although the bulk of the album leans towards a quieter, more acoustic based sound, Steve does plug in and crank things up in a few spots. “Son Of The Night” is a dark, powerful blues-rocker that swirls around a man tormented by his inner demons. As harmonica relentlessly wails in the background of the percolating melody, it serves to accentuate the desperation of a man spurned by the untrue “Lucinda,” the tale of a woman who’s driven her jilted lover to murderous thoughts. A real standout, “Little Rock And Roller” is a driving, down & dirty electric blues that advises, there comes a point in time when it’s best to just bow out gracefully.
Another gem is “Forever And Always,” a serving of heartache done up with a smoky, swaying, late night lounge feel. In the sterling country-blues title track, “Back Roads,” Steve paints a vivid, melancholy portrait of a lost soul, the quiet pain of a man’s desperate search for that elusive “something to hold onto.” Some fine old-time country finger picking gives “Honeysuckle Breeze” a lazy back porch feel, while fiddle adds the same touch to the breezy, “Wake Up.” Family inspired a couple of Steve’s songs. A soulful, mid-tempo rocker, “Every Minute” is a lovely, heartfelt love song, inspired by his wife of 35 years, Ellen. “Little Bit Of Heaven” has one of the album’s most intriguing melodies. Steve combines a gentle bossa nova beat, luminous piano, and tender vocals that wrap themselves warmly around the reflective lyrics, resulting in a captivatingly pretty song that was inspired by his grandchildren. The album’s true highlight and most stunning song is the gorgeous, “I Could See It In Your Eyes.” This heartbreaker is a soaring ‘50s Orbison style ballad, with an infectious beat keeping time as guitars swell with the mournful ache of a love that’s been lost.
Steve Robinson is one guy with talent to burn. He possesses a pleasant, laid back and expressively soulful voice, he’s a gifted musician who plays with diversity and passion, and has a talent for well-written lyrics and an ear for a great melody. With veteran producer Bob Stander at the helm, along with the contributions of a well seasoned group of backing musicians in the studio, together they’ve crafted a solid album with just the right amount of polish that leaves no doubt about Steve Robinson’s talent, from the very first note of Back Roads, to it’s last.
AnnMarie Harrington - Take Country Back Magazine (Mar, 2006)
Steve Robinson's taking to the highways with a wandering eye and a diverse taste in styles. He's taking the roots route, relying on the ear and sight to get him where he wants to go. Steve voyages through the homelands of Americana, up and down the coast and crossland too. Opening with "Find My Baby Blues", straight moving R&R courses through his veins in a similar way to Mel Melton or even the Grateful Dead's "New Minglewood Blues." "Every Minute" pours out love and appreciation, no superfluous words needed and it's rocking steady. "Honeysuckle Breeze" is a sweet southern loving done folky. In my mind, I hear Jonathan Edwards. The lessons of Jesse Colin Young infuse "I Could See It In Your Eyes" with bittersweet loss as Steve ably condenses feeling into its deepest essence and Chris Isaak flows within Bob Stander's electric guitar. Just In time, the bopping rocking of "Mama's Place' brightens the scene, guaranteeing some fine times. "Son of the Night" cries and wails with the darkness of a Louisiana night and "Lucinda" roils with desperate pain. Sonny Landreth or Zachary Richard couldn't do it better than that. Robinson's got soul heat and dark depths that only come from midnight meetings at the crossroad. Lowering the heat but not the feeling, ennui pours out of the titler "Back Roads" and "Forever and Always", joy and renewal reverberates from "Wake Up" and the platter closes with some fine Sun Studio styled slow stroll rock and roll called "Little Rock and Roller." Not content to deliver just a nice tempo and melody, there is a reality check enclosed in the lyrics. Steve makes you stand up and notice. He's a proud product of LI and holds it down with fine chops, tight construction, multilayered feeling and a natural feel. I want to thank Pops Westcott for the word up. Now, it's your turn to check out Steve Robinson and Back Roads.
Dr. Blues - Long Island Blues Sociey (Mar 7, 2006)
Steve’s Music and style combines Folk, Americana, and Nawlins all in one amazing package.
Frank Walker - Aural Fix Jan 2006 (Jan 6, 2006)
I’ve enormous respect for this man’s talent. In a word, Steve is the package
Roger Silverberg - Aural Fix Magazine (Jan 6, 2006)
From the opening track, Find My Baby Blues, I was hooked, as they say. This album encompasses blues and ragtime, rock, folk, and jazz and is great for driving to. Robinson, from Long Island, New York, has penned all 12 tracks on this release and his influences range from Steve Earle, and Delbert McClinton, to Paul Brady. As well as Steve on vocals and acoustic guitar, he’s aided and abetted by some first class musicians including John O. Reilly (drums, percussion), Bob Stander (bass, guitars), Tony Montalbo (bass, violin, harmonica), Paul Errico (piano, organ), and Mark Newman (slide guitar). Many of these have played with the likes of Richie Havens, Steve Forbert, and the Trans Siberian Orchestra.
Every Minute has a slow blues air about it whilst Honeysuckle Breeze has a blues/ragtime feel. The quality production of this recording allows the acoustic guitar work on tracks such as Mama’s Place to shine through. A Little Bit Of Heaven shows a gentler side to Robinson’s writing and makes use of some lovely acoustic guitar and piano. Back Roads also follows the slow blues path, and leads into Little Rock And Roller which has its roots firmly in the blues but more along the lines of Joe Ely. An excellent album available online form CD Baby
Rick Christian - Tradition Magazine - UK (Mar 25, 2006)
Steve Robinson is known for his special style of finger picking on guitar and he’s known by many acoustic musicians locally. His set consisted of melodic originals & covers with a few rockin’ ones mixed in. One of the melodic songs that stands out is “A Little Bit Of Heaven,” which is a simple yet beautiful song that was written for his young granddaughter. As to a rockin’ type song, Steve plays the hell out of a tune that I believe is called “Little Rock & Roller.” There are probably some folks in their 20’s that wish they could play guitar with the passion that Steve Robinson performs with.
Vinnie DiMarco - Aural Fix (Dec 30, 2005)