CD REVIEW: Jimmy Robinson - Guitarworks
By Don Sechelski - 09/10/2012 - 08:42 PM EDT
Artist: Jimmy Robinson
Sounds Like: nobody else, he's an original
Technical Grade: 10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10
Commercial Value: 10
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 10
Performance Skill: 10
Best Songs: You and Me, Everything Must Go, Psycho Gras, Nu Slap
He’s back. New Orleans based Jimmy Robinson, for my money, is the best acoustic guitarist in America today. His first album, Vibrating Strings, was the best new CD I’d heard in the past 5 years. Now he’s back with a new release, Guitarworks, and it doesn’t disappoint. As he did on Vibrating Strings, Jimmy astounds on 6 and 12 string guitars with a dazzling virtuoso style that is unique and original.
Jimmy is joined Bonearama Horn section, consisting of Mark Mullins, Craig Klein, and Greg Hicks. He is also assisted by Susan Cowsill with some vocals, Washboard Chaz Leary on percussion, Timmy Malone on slide guitar, and Beth Patterson on vocals. But make no mistake about it, Jimmy with his incredible guitar work and whiskey smooth vocals is the star of this show. He wrote all the songs with the exception of the Hendrix tune, Little Wing, Trent Reznor’s Hurt, and the Byrds classic, Eight Miles High.
The album kicks off with Leary’s frenetic percussion and Jimmy’s slide on I Can’t Stop Drinking. “Big wine bottle’s about to lay me low” sings Jimmy as he slides into a falsetto. Ok, I’m hooked. Jimmy’s percussive attack on the guitar matches Leary’s wild drumming. The next cut, Everything Must Go is an evocative response to Hurricane Katrina, the storm that almost destroyed Jimmy’s beloved New Orleans. It morphs into a treatise on the fragility and pointlessness of material possessions. “Blood runs deeper than we ever knew. Everything must go. There’s nothing for us here.” Jimmy’s guitar provides the perfect complement.
Lynne Louise is a dazzling example of Jimmy’s unique and special guitar style, a style that is so original and mind-blowing that it’s unmatched by anyone else playing today. Both percussive and melodic, Jimmy wrenches sounds and emotions from his instrument that seem impossible. On You and Me, he teams with Susan Cowsill, the child star of the 60’s pop group, the Cowsills. She’s gone on to make a name for herself working with artists like Freedy Johnston, and Jon Dee Graham. Here her vocal fits perfectly with Jimmy’s southern drawl on this love song that “flies like a dream, floating in open space.” This is my favorite song on the CD.
The Bonearama Horns bring a touch of New Orleans funeral march to the Hendrix tune, Little Wings. Jimmy remakes this great song in his own image with his acoustic guitar that pays homage to Hendrix but sets a new standard. Arpeggios and harmonics blend with the Bonearama Horns to take this song to a whole new place.
Some other standouts include River of Tears, Psycho Gras, and Nu Slap but the truth is, there’s not a bad cut on the CD. Jimmy Robinson has no equal. I know there are some who might dispute this statement but my guess is, they’ve never heard Jimmy. The one way to prove it to yourself is to pick up Guitarworks. I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed. Then go pick up Vibrating Strings, and like me, you’ll be a believer.
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