Album Review: Robin & Linda Williams, ‘A Better Day A-Coming’
Slow banjo rolls and circling guitar fingerpicking notes weave around and under each other on the bright title track of Robin and Linda Williams’ new album. The spry bluegrass gospel ballad recalls Albert Brumley’s “I’ll Fly Away” as the Williams’ sweet harmonies float over a message of hope and the promise of a better day ahead.
The album’s title track contains the glimmering promise of the beauty of the remainder of the album, a combination of original songs, songs by contemporary writers, and traditional songs. Strolling in on swaying fiddles “Old Lover’s Waltz” dances across the floor with ease and with a movement etched in the bones: “you learn how to follow/you learn how to lead.” On the one hand, the song’s a tribute to long-lasting and enduring love and the dance we all do in relationships, and on the other hand, the song leads us up to the final waltz we all do before the death’s threshold and must leave behind those we love. The scampering “Living Your Bad Name Down”—with sonic echoes of “Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms”—rides along Robin’s and Kevin McNoldy’s high octane guitar work in a tale of small-town gossip and its effects. The sauntering version of Margaret Ann Rich’s “Life Has Its Little Ups and Downs,” with its descending and ascending harmonies and gliding instrumentation mimic the rolling hills of life the singers must ascend and descend. “Leaving Home” skitters along with a jauntiness that belies its murder ballad subject matter, while the duo’s somber take on Scott Miller’s “Someday and Sometime” reminds us of the uncertainties of life and our need to embrace life in spite of such vagaries. The Williams turn in an exalted a cappella version of the traditional “Done Found My Lost Sheep” that retells the biblical parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:1-7; the Williams’ jubilant version conveys the joy of the shepherd’s story of finding that one sheep.
A Better Day A-Coming is the 24th album from Robin and Linda Williams, and their first since 2013. It’s been worth the wait, for the Williams continue to make vibrant music with insightful lyrics that peer into the ragged ways of the human soul. Their warm voices and music wrap around us and comfort us, and we can be grateful for this gift they give us in A Better Day A-Coming.
A Better Day A-Coming is available HERE.
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