Review of "Forever and Always"
What an excellent Jazz Blues piece! "Forever and Always" is a melodically rich and very well-constructed piece of songwriting that is both full of charm and surprisingly soothing! Steve Robinson has wonderfully blended Jazz and Blues elements to create an expertly textured and harmonically interesting piece of music that you can't help but get swept up in, great stuff! To start with, the vocal performance is excellent, not only does it fit the style very well, but it showcases both great dynamic and tonal control, they express the lyrics with great heart and feel, and the lyrics themselves encapsulate the genres marvelously. The instrumentation is great and provides great variation in texture, the prominent and wonderfully full-bodied double bass outlines the harmony beautifully alongside the delicate sounding acoustic guitar and subtly nuanced piano, combined they create an exceedingly strong backdrop for the vocal lines and let's not forget the smartly understated percussion reinforcing the rhythmic backbone of the song. The melodic ideas are both diverse and mature in their writing and are expertly woven together with refinement and confidence. Lastly, the production and overall mix are very strong, allowing plenty of room for the instruments to breathe, as well as successfully retaining the subtle intricacies of the individual performances, excellent! This is a very well put together track, the performances across the board are stellar and are obviously a result of seasoned musicians with many years of experience, the writing is inspired, and the attention to detail throughout is top-notch, I don't see any areas that require improvement and I'm sure if there were any changes to be made, they will have already been made.
About the Reviewer:
Andre is a freelance session musician, composer, and sound engineer based in the U.K. Having studied music production and composition at a degree level, he has taken his passion for all things audio-related and strived to become a competent musician and performer. Being a self-confessed "Guitar Nerd" Andre has been continually studying the guitar, as well as teaching it, helping students both learn the instrument, develop their songwriting, and how to become proficient in home recording.
Review of "Little Rock and Roller"
Little Rock & Roller is a new blues-inspired rock tune by Steve Robinson. Robinson has perfected making the guitar match the mood of the lyrics. I love a song that opens with a solo. Starting strong with a blazing guitar solo, Little Rock & Roller makes its identity known and doesn't hold back. Focusing on the life of a rocker who is growing with age, the lyrics highlight the successes and ultimate wearing down of the rocker's career. Providing a relatable story perfect for the blues, Robinson's lyrics are full of nostalgia and a coming-of-age realization that all good things must end. Robinson's vocal work is spot on in this song, nailing the essence behind each lyric. Both the opening and main guitar solos are full of emotion and intricate finger work. With great new releases like Little Rock & Roller, here's to hoping Steve Robinson never closes his case. Fans of blues and classic rock will greatly appreciate Little Rock & Roller by Steve Robinson.
About The Reviewer: Zachary Larson is a professional touring guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Getting his start in high school rock bands, he has since toured internationally as a classical chamber musician, in the show band onboard luxury cruise lines, and with the broadway musical Finding Neverland. His recorded work spans from classical works and jazzy holiday tunes, to mind-bending experimental music. His arrangements of orchestral music are published through Clear Note Publications. Classically trained, he holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Denver
“The term “been there, done that” seems to have been made specifically for Mr. Steve Robinson, who has been involved in more professions than a small crowd combined. Though Steve personifies the term “Jack of All Trades”, it seems that his heart right now lies mainly in the field of music, where he surely must have tons to write about from the “hasn’t been dull” lifestyle his wife describes him as having. Ok, so the spirit is there, but what about the caliber of the songwriting? Well, before I can even listen to the music, I can’t help but notice that Mr. Robinson has recruited an all star band, of which all of the members have been involved in varying degrees of fame. Being the winner of the ISS Writer’s Choice award isn’t a bad thing either, especially considering that it was the first time Steve had ever entered the competition. With that, it’s time to see if the music is just as good as the back story. With the plucking bend of guitar, “Mama’s Place” begins to play, a song with the appeal of a commercial jingle with the addition of substance. This guitar waddles around the tune, playing second only to Robinson’s vocals, detailing the “feels like home” vibe of wherever Mama’s place may be. The band is like a smooth drink on a hot day, everything is mixed exactly as it should sound. The deep precision of the bass, the country vibrato on Robinson’s voice, the punctuated percussion, it’s all there. He may have resided in Long Island his whole life, but Steve Robinson surely could make you think he was born and raised in the southern sun. “Honeysuckle Breeze” is a throwback to the old time jazz/country standards with picturesque lyrics and a captivating chord progression. This is the type of song that I could see other musicians continually covering, ala classics such as “Ain’t Misbehavin” or “Summertime”. The song even metaphorically sways like a breeze, completely morphing its own subject matter. I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the tune that solidified Robinson as an ISS award winner. In fact I believe I’ve just listened to it about 5 or 6 times in a row without any thought of pushing the stop button. The structure is crafted in a way that keeps the interest strong for the listener around every turn. With “Little Rock and Roller”, Robinson has a swing at some 12 bar blues, which I followed with “I Can See It In Your Eyes”, a tune with the component of western attitude combined with a 1950s slow dance vibe. Every song by Robinson and his band of rock stars seems to hold my interest with its unique twist on something that’s already familiar. It’s almost as if they knew that some of these styles have been long stale or out of commission, breathing fresh life into them as they stretched out their creative styles. The song “Son of the Night” only closes this assumption even further, with its touches of hard rock and 60’s Hammond organ. So what’s my final though on Steve Robinson? Well, at first I must question why this band only has one award. With their blend of revitalization injected into familiar genres, Robinson simply cannot write a bad song. If you are into music AT ALL, you will definitely dig SR, as there is always an avenue of their sound to offer you an invitation into the rest of their catalogue. With wisdom, experience, and damn good musicianship, Steve Robinson and his band busts out the old record collection and hands out the unavoidable new product.” - Dan Lavagna
“Twangcast Top 10 - June 26th 2006 1. Steve Robinson - Find My Baby Blues 2. Dave Jorgenson -We Have a Winner 3. Wanda Jackson - You're Right, I'm Left, He's Gone 4. Wade Bowen - Walkin' Along the Fence 5. Sonny Burgess - The More I'm Around People, The More I Like My Dog 6. Rex Hobart - Every Night I Leave You In My Mind 7. Liz Talley/Billy Yates - Its Time to Cross That Bridge 8. Lucky Tomblin Band - Squaws Along the Yukon 9. The Daughters of Bluegrass - Back to the Well 10. Scott Miller/Commonwealth - Wild Things http://www.live365.com/stations/tcback?play www.myspace.com/twangcast”
— TwangCast radio
“The disc is "Back Roads" by Steve Robinson, a singer-songwriter from Massapequa Park with roots in the blues and an ear for classic rock, '50s pop, country and even bossa nova. None of his 12 songs here are alike, but together they create a coherent whole, woven together by Robinson's versatile guitar playing and clear, unpretentious vocals. A team of skilled session musicians gives the album a polished, solid feel. Robinson kicks off with "Find My Baby Blues," a roadhouse rambler with a galloping beat and some nifty slide guitar. From there, he delves into soft rock ("Every Minute") and old-time country picking ("Honeysuckle Breeze"). But then comes a surprise: the waltzing rhythm and expansive guitar of "I Could See It In Your Eyes," a terrific '50s-style ballad with Robinson crooning like Roy Orbison. That's just the first of the unexpected but somehow logical turns Robinson takes throughout "Back Roads." On "A Little Bit Of Heaven," he matches a bossa nova beat to a melancholy melody that recalls America's "Ventura Highway." On "Wake Up," he enlists a jazzy fiddle, creating a sunny tune that's halfway between Hank Williams and Stéphane Grappelli. Robinson's gentle guitar intertwines nicely with the tinkling piano on "Forever and Always," a smoky supper-club number. Robinson, 57, clearly has a handle on numerous musical genres,... he hits his stride more often than not, especially on the moody title song. Overall, "Back Roads" blazes some fresh trails in well-marked territory.” - Rafer Guzman
“Over the course of his 70+ years, native Long Islander Steve Robinson has been something of a jack-of-all-trades. He’s worked at everything from being a carpenter to an English teacher, a commercial fisherman to a truck driver, an air traffic controller to a computer programmer, and pretty much everything in-between. Through it all though, music has always been a big part of his life and he’s been a fixture on LI’s original music scene for some time. He has an affinity for acoustic and roots/Americana based music and cites as among his favorite songwriters, John Hiatt, Delbert McClinton, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Kevin Welch, Paul Brady, Jimmy LaFave, and Slaid Cleaves. His live performances reflect that, as along with Steve’s own original songs, he often peppers many of their songs, among others, into his sets. Despite this well-respected singer/songwriter’s lengthy tenure on the music scene, Steve has just gotten around to recording his first release, Back Roads. The album contains 12 of Steve’s original songs that run the gamut of roots music- blues, country and folk with occasional touches of soul and jazz, often mixed and matched in varying combinations. Back Roads opens strongly with a shuffling “ramblin’ man” roadhouse blues, “Finding My Baby Blues,” which features some mighty tasty slide guitar work that gives the song a swampy delta feel. Steve shows off some outstanding finger picking and soulful vocals on the “rock on down to save your soul” N’awlins flavored boogie, “Mama’s Place.” The easy, laid back arrangement gives it a warm, toe tapping, back porch feel. Although the bulk of the album leans towards a quieter, more acoustic based sound, Steve does plug in and crank things up in a few spots. “Son Of The Night” is a dark, powerful blues-rocker that swirls around a man tormented by his inner demons. As harmonica relentlessly wails in the background of the percolating melody, it serves to accentuate the desperation of a man spurned by the untrue “Lucinda,” the tale of a woman who’s driven her jilted lover to murderous thoughts. A real standout, “Little Rock And Roller” is a driving, down & dirty electric blues that advises, there comes a point in time when it’s best to just bow out gracefully. Another gem is “Forever And Always,” a serving of heartache done up with a smoky, swaying, late night lounge feel. In the sterling country-blues title track, “Back Roads,” Steve paints a vivid, melancholy portrait of a lost soul, the quiet pain of a man’s desperate search for that elusive “something to hold onto.” Some fine old-time country finger picking gives “Honeysuckle Breeze” a lazy back porch feel, while fiddle adds the same touch to the breezy, “Wake Up.” Family inspired a couple of Steve’s songs. A soulful, mid-tempo rocker, “Every Minute” is a lovely, heartfelt love song, inspired by his wife of 35 years, Ellen. “Little Bit Of Heaven” has one of the album’s most intriguing melodies. Steve combines a gentle bossa nova beat, luminous piano, and tender vocals that wrap themselves warmly around the reflective lyrics, resulting in a captivatingly pretty song that was inspired by his grandchildren. The album’s true highlight and most stunning song is the gorgeous, “I Could See It In Your Eyes.” This heartbreaker is a soaring ‘50s Orbison style ballad, with an infectious beat keeping time as guitars swell with the mournful ache of a love that’s been lost. Steve Robinson is one guy with talent to burn. He possesses a pleasant, laid back and expressively soulful voice, he’s a gifted musician who plays with diversity and passion, and has a talent for well-written lyrics and an ear for a great melody. With veteran producer Bob Stander at the helm, along with the contributions of a well seasoned group of backing musicians in the studio, together they’ve crafted a solid album with just the right amount of polish that leaves no doubt about Steve Robinson’s talent, from the very first note of Back Roads, to it’s last.” - AnnMarie Harrington
— Take Country Back Magazine
“Steve Robinson's taking to the highways with a wandering eye and a diverse taste in styles. He's taking the roots route, relying on the ear and sight to get him where he wants to go. Steve voyages through the homelands of Americana, up and down the coast and crossland too. Opening with "Find My Baby Blues", straight moving R&R courses through his veins in a similar way to Mel Melton or even the Grateful Dead's "New Minglewood Blues." "Every Minute" pours out love and appreciation, no superfluous words needed and it's rocking steady. "Honeysuckle Breeze" is a sweet southern loving done folky. In my mind, I hear Jonathan Edwards. The lessons of Jesse Colin Young infuse "I Could See It In Your Eyes" with bittersweet loss as Steve ably condenses feeling into its deepest essence and Chris Isaak flows within Bob Stander's electric guitar. Just In time, the bopping rocking of "Mama's Place' brightens the scene, guaranteeing some fine times. "Son of the Night" cries and wails with the darkness of a Louisiana night and "Lucinda" roils with desperate pain. Sonny Landreth or Zachary Richard couldn't do it better than that. Robinson's got soul heat and dark depths that only come from midnight meetings at the crossroad. Lowering the heat but not the feeling, ennui pours out of the titler "Back Roads" and "Forever and Always", joy and renewal reverberates from "Wake Up" and the platter closes with some fine Sun Studio styled slow stroll rock and roll called "Little Rock and Roller." Not content to deliver just a nice tempo and melody, there is a reality check enclosed in the lyrics. Steve makes you stand up and notice. He's a proud product of LI and holds it down with fine chops, tight construction, multilayered feeling and a natural feel. I want to thank Pops Westcott for the word up. Now, it's your turn to check out Steve Robinson and Back Roads.” - Dr. Blues
— Long Island Blues Sociey
“Steve’s Music and style combines Folk, Americana, and Nawlins all in one amazing package.” - Frank Walker
— Aural Fix Jan 2006
“I’ve enormous respect for this man’s talent. In a word, Steve is the package” - Roger Silverberg
— Aural Fix Magazine
“From the opening track, Find My Baby Blues, I was hooked, as they say. This album encompasses blues and ragtime, rock, folk, and jazz and is great for driving to. Robinson, from Long Island, New York, has penned all 12 tracks on this release and his influences range from Steve Earle, and Delbert McClinton, to Paul Brady. As well as Steve on vocals and acoustic guitar, he’s aided and abetted by some first class musicians including John O. Reilly (drums, percussion), Bob Stander (bass, guitars), Tony Montalbo (bass, violin, harmonica), Paul Errico (piano, organ), and Mark Newman (slide guitar). Many of these have played with the likes of Richie Havens, Steve Forbert, and the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Every Minute has a slow blues air about it whilst Honeysuckle Breeze has a blues/ragtime feel. The quality production of this recording allows the acoustic guitar work on tracks such as Mama’s Place to shine through. A Little Bit Of Heaven shows a gentler side to Robinson’s writing and makes use of some lovely acoustic guitar and piano. Back Roads also follows the slow blues path, and leads into Little Rock And Roller which has its roots firmly in the blues but more along the lines of Joe Ely. An excellent album available online form CD Baby” - Rick Christian
— Tradition Magazine - UK
“Steve Robinson is known for his special style of finger picking on guitar and he’s known by many acoustic musicians locally. His set consisted of melodic originals & covers with a few rockin’ ones mixed in. One of the melodic songs that stands out is “A Little Bit Of Heaven,” which is a simple yet beautiful song that was written for his young granddaughter. As to a rockin’ type song, Steve plays the hell out of a tune that I believe is called “Little Rock & Roller.” There are probably some folks in their 20’s that wish they could play guitar with the passion that Steve Robinson performs with.” - Vinnie DiMarco
— Aural Fix