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Authentic Americana at The Prizery

SoVaNow.com / August 29, 2013
The Prizery has a treat in store for fans of bluegrass and folk music: a Sept. 14 concert by the acclaimed duo of Robin & Linda Williams, who have earned a huge cadre of fans and critical acclaim over three decades of performing the music that they love, “a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism.”

Some might call it “Americana,” but these two revered music masters were living and breathing this elixir 20 years before that label was turned into a radio format.

As The Washington Post puts it, “The Williamses are able to sum up a life in a few details with moving completeness.” The list of artists who have covered their original songs include some of the greats of country music — names like Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, George Hamilton IV, Tim and Mollie O’Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea and The Seldom Scene. 

“Among contemporary country performers, Robin and Linda Williams shine like a diamond amid rhinestones ... “ writes music critic David W. Johnson of The Boston Globe.

Linda is a native of Anniston, Alabama and Robin (the son of a Presbyterian minister) was born in Charlotte, N.C. They met and fell for each other in 1971 on a visit to Myrtle Beach, S.C. while Linda was teaching school and Robin was a full-time musician on a national coffeehouse circuit. It wasn’t long before they discovered additional magic when they combined their voices in harmony.

Despite being true children of the South, their career got its initial momentum up north in the Minneapolis folk scene. Robin had made many friends and connections there as a solo artist and in 1975 they recorded their first album in Minneapolis for a local record company. The same year they made their first appearance on a little radio show just getting off the ground called “A Prairie Home Companion” and their rich relationship with that icon of American broadcasting has continued for three decades.

Later, they began to tour with a band, “Their Fine Group,” and their already big sound grew all the more. 1993 saw increased exposure through a major tour with Mary Chapin Carpenter and the now large national audience of “A Prairie Home Companion.” With their career now at its 20-year mark Robin and Linda entered into a prolific period of artistic productivity. Within six years they released their all gospel CD (which garnered two nominations for Gospel Album of the Year) and three CD’s of predominately original material, beginning with 1996’s “Sugar For Sugar” (which spent 13 weeks on the Americana chart). This period of productivity, culminating with 2000’s “Company of Strangers,” served notice to an ever-increasing audience of Robin and Linda’s dedication to their artistry.

Robin & Linda Williams and Their Fine Group will perform at The Prizery on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available by calling The Prizery box office at 434-572-8339 or online at http://www.prizery.com.

The Sept. 14 concert will kick off the 2013-14 lineup at The Prizery, with other big shows slated through the year.

On Oct. 6, Aquila Theatre returns to The Prizery for a one-night performance of William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” the Bard’s raucous comedy of identical twins and mistaken identity, set in the mystical world of Illyria. With a cast of superb performers, a remarkable original musical score, Aquila’s much admired brand of innovative design and unique physical approach, this production of Twelfth Night will undoubtedly be an experience not to be missed.

In time for Christmas, The Prizery will bring to the local stage, “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings,” a brand-new show that offers the best of Christmas music in “Plaid-erized” style. The show will run from December 12-22.

For more information, visit http://www.prizery.com

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