Robin O' Acoustic Blues, Gospel and Original Music

Blues In Britain Magazine
Fall 2003
by Michael Rainsford

Robin O’Herin – Red, White and Blues

Robin O’Herin has been playing blues, gospel, Appalachian and folk music around New England for over twenty years, and these are the major influences that pervade the two fine sets under consideration here. Red, White and Blues comes with the sub-title “blues, gospel and originals done in the tradition of the country blues”, which is a perfect description of the music on offer. O’Herin’s vocals have a natural ambience with these styles, evoking a warmth and sincerity which brings a palpable poignancy to numbers like Hold On, accentuated by her lilting slide and Peter Schneider’s Fender Rhodes keyboard, whilst her own vocals and the harmonies of Vikki True add a strong spiritual feel. Hold On is the first of six originals on this set, other favourites being the Mississippi John Hurt styled Junkfood Junkie Blues with it’s melancholy harmonies; the Bonnie Raitt styled boogie/rock-n-roll of The Driving Song (Commuter Blues) with it’s rocking piano and pulsing bass lines; and the lilting instrumental Ever Hopeful, with it’s fine finger picking.
There are five well chosen covers including a plaintive Sonny & Brownie styled Corinna, Corrina, replete with fine country harp from Charlie Mead; the Blind Willie Mctell styled Old Country Rock with it’s evocative slide; the bass driven Walking Blues, with it’s “moaned” vocals, haunting slide and the drum and fife band feel of Terry Hall’s drumming; and the lingering beauty of O’Herin’s delicate finger picking and gospel harmonies on Precious Lord.

The Road Home

The Road Home is subtitled “Holy Blues And Gospel”, and like Red, White and Blues you get a mixture of O’Herin’s traditional influences on both originals and covers.
Blind Willie Johnson was one of O’Herin’s major influences, so we are treated to three songs associated with the master; the intoxicating intimacy of her vocals meshing seamlessly with her slide on a haunting Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning and God Don’t Never Change, and adding plaintiveness laced with grit on Nobody’s Fault But Mine, and Mississippi John Hurt’s Glory, Glory.
Wayfaring Stranger reminds me of the work of Linda Tillery, O’Herin’s clear and evocative tone and richly melodic harmonies underpinned by Dan Broad’s reverberating bass lines and Terry Hall’s finger popping percussion; I Am A Pilgrim has a jug-band feel to it’s rhythms accentuated by Schneider’s jaunty piano, LuAnn Herring’s reverential harmonies providing an intimate counterpoint; whilst Blessed Are They comes replete with some beautifully understated hypnotic slide.
A haunting acapella rendition of Guide me O Great Jehovah, and two lilting renditions of Psalm 23 (one vocal, one instrumental) are further highlights of this fine set. (
... if you have a penchant for acoustic blues and purchase all of these CDs, I guarantee you will return to them time and time again, providing you with many of pure listening pleasure.