Brimming with Southern charm, Nell Robinson’s new album, On the Brooklyn Road, is rooted deeply in its culture as a bucoulic celebration of family and heritage. Named after the red clay dirt road leading to her family’s rural Alabama farm, this record includes “field recordings” recounting family stories and folklore from Robinson’s mother and uncles . Produced by Nell and Jim Nunally, On the Brooklyn Road is a collection of original and traditional songs that showcase Nell’s lovely, crystal-clear voice while featuring a stellar lineup of bluegrass musicians like Nunally, Laurie Lewis, John Reischman, Keith Little and Rob Ickes among others.
At the age of 50, Nell is a little late to music. Having only been singing for four years, she has had great success, appearing on A Prairie Home Companion and selling out Berkeley institution Frieght & Salvage Coffeehouse. Despite being relatively new, Nell seems like a seasoned pro on On the Brooklyn Road, exhibiting great songwriting skill in her original material and care while performing the traditional songs. Musically her songs vary from sentimental like “Mayflies” to a Cajun-like romp about temptation such as “Don’t Light My Fire” to the seriousness of an alcholic’s denial in “I’m Brilliant.” Nell also does an exceptional job covering such classic country tunes as Loretta Lynn’s “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” and Hank Williams’ beloved gospel song, “I Saw the Light.” In the South where Elvis is still king and God reigns, Nell includes her gorgeous rendition of the popular Elvis ballad, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” and adds gospel favorite “Turn Your Radio On” to sing along to. And for fun, she includes two yodeling-style bonus songs from The Henriettas, which is her and Cary Sheldon’s tribute to the 30s sister act, the Dezurik Sisters, as a unique surprise.
“I’m a Honky Tonk Girl”