It was beginning to look like another forty years wait for Kim Robins’ second release. Her first, titled 40 Years Late, was self-released in 2013. Then came another gap. Now this new one finally arrives, and it seems to have been worth the delay. Not only is she with a label (Pinecastle Records), but her delivery, her support, and her song choices sound much more convincing. Having three/fifths of The Boxcars (banjoist and fiddler Ron Stewart, mandolinist Adam Steffey, and bassist Harold Nixon) matched with Ricky Wasson makes for a unified sound with plenty of pop.
Robins includes three originals and no standards, opting instead for strong, recently written tunes from the likes of Mike Evans, Bill Castle, and Donna Hughes. The closest to a warhorse is Asleep At The Wheel’s “My Baby Thinks He’s A Train.” That stands among the modal tale of revenge titled “Eye For An Eye,” the bluesy stomp of “I’ll Be Loving You,” Jay Don Johnson’s “Stone Cold Blue,” and the sliding country of “Blue Yesterdays.” Robins’ three originals fit well beside them. Her best is the title tune, taken slow and watery with a touch of autobiography. Although her “She’s Just Like You,” fast and with an extremely catchy chorus, is not far off.
Finally, note the strengthening of Robins’ voice. She is definitely more confident now and more consistent. She’s sliding into notes, bending them and twisting, and reaching up higher. It’s all so impressive—the band, the songs, the voice—and worth the wait. (Pinecastle Records, 2514 River Rd., Ste. 105, Piedmont, SC 29673, www.pinecastlemusic.com.)BW