Monday, May 20, 2013

Prescription Bluegrass Reviews Kim Robins’ - 40 Years Late

Image635046331817134067Kim Robins project, “40 Years Late”, is a breath of fresh air.

It appears that Kim has spent her time not only honing her craft, but also finding her voice and knowing exactly who she is as a singer.

You will not hear someone trying to imitate other female singers, or singing in the rafters, on this recording. Instead, you will hear a woman with a mid-range, bluesy, voice that puts you in the mood for some good traditional bluegrass and classic country.

Kim has surrounded herself with an ensemble of, to say the least, solid musicians. Appearing on the project are Don Brummett, Michael Cleveland, Mike Curtis, Jeff Guernsey, Nathan Livers, Lynn Manzenberger, Seth Mulder, Butch Robins, Mark Stonecipher, and Richard Torstrick. Providing harmony vocals throughout the project are fellow Indiana residents Misty Stevens, singer, songwriter, and leader of her own band, and Kent Todd, singer and fiddle player with Blue Mafia.

The title cut of this project, written by Kim, is so well penned that many listeners will easily relate to the song. The lyrics of this song are honest and will hit home with, not only singers that are chasing Image635046321136553172the dream of success later in life, but also everyone that has had to put their dreams on hold for other choices.

While I cannot pick one song to call my favorite, because I actually have quite a few on this project, I enjoy Kim’s upbeat tribute to Connie Smith with “I’ve Got My Baby On My Mind”. Kim states that she spent many hours trying to imitate Smith’s voice until her Dad told her to “sing like yourself”. Advice many singers should follow and advice I am glad Kim took.

Another song on the project that caught my attention is the duet “The Last Thing On My Mind” that Kim performs with Jeff Guernsey. While many artists have recorded this song, Kim and Jeff’s voices complement each other so well, that I found myself replaying this tune numerous times and just enjoying the harmony.

Kim wrote seven songs on this project. Her writings are candid, sincere, and from the heart. A few of the songs revolve around various forms of the done-me-wrong subject matter, and personally, I would have liked a bit more variety in that aspect. However, the songs vary in tempo and feel which does make the listening interesting and easy to appreciate Kim’s songwriting talent.

One song that stands out in the above mentioned done-me-wrong subject matter is the sassy number “So Long”. While this tune highlights several of the musicians involved with the project, it showcases Michael Cleveland on the fiddle. Cleveland’s fiddle gives an extra edge to the song and molds around Kim’s voice perfectly.


I found the gospel number “I Want To Know”, also written by Kim, to really hit home for me. Again, Kim’s straightforward lyrics make the song relatable. The questions raised in this song are not new but Kim does a great job at expressing them and one can see the lyrics unfolding as she sings. A nod must be given to Richard Torstrick for his wonderful bass singing on this song.

Kim Robins may say she is forty years late but, if this project is the measure, those years have not been wasted and she is right on time. In my opinion, bluegrass is ready for a female singer that knows her range and is content singing in that range. Kim does not try to push her voice into the rafters, use a lot of falsetto, or sound like anyone but herself. As a listener, I appreciate that. I am already looking forward to another project from Kim and look forward to hearing more from her.


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