Robin O' Acoustic Blues, Gospel and Original Music

Berkshires Week
October 10, 2002
The Beat
by Seth Rogovoy

Robin O'Herin of Lee jokes that when she was growing up her parents actually paid her not to sing -- not because she was a bad singer, but because she was an incessant singer. Parents should know better than to discourage their children from doing something, because more often than not that means they will just continue. O'Herin's parents couldn't stop her, nor could motherhood and the demands of a full-time job. Now, after several decades of performing at open-mikes, church basements and folk coffeehouses, O'Herin is ready to celebrate the release of her first recording, "Red, White and Blues," with a CD release concert this Sunday at 3 at the Berkshire Blues Cafe on Route 102 in South Lee. Admission is free. O'Herin's CD, recorded by Robby Baier at his SoulTube Substation Studio in Housatonic, is subtitled "Blues, Gospel and Originals Done in the Tradition of Country Blues." Indeed, the recording is a pleasant mix of well-worn standards like "Abilene," "Corinna, Corinna," Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues" and Thomas A. Dorsey's "Precious Lord" with half a dozen O'Herin originals that blend right in with the standards. An acoustic, rootsy effort that alternates solo numbers with full-band arrangements by an all-star Berkshire cast including drummer Terry Hall, vocalist Vikki True, bassist Darren Todd, keyboardists Peter Schneider and Dave Carter, and Charlie Mead on harmonica -- all of whom will be on hand on Sunday to perform with O'Herin -- "Red, White and Blues" is an easy-going, laid-back effort, a tribute to tradition that extends that tradition forward in a personal vein. It also highlights O'Herin's deft fingerpicking and slide-guitar work on numbers like Willie Moore's "Old Country Rock" and her committed vocals on "Abilene" and a few humorous, original tunes, including "Junkfood Junkie Blues" and "The Driving Song (Commuter Blues)." If you can't make it to Sunday's gig, O'Herin returns to the Dream Away Lodge, where she occasionally performs, on Oct. 18 at 9.