For The Sake Of The Song: Robinella “Press On”

Music can sometimes really take you to different places. My idea of tranquility is to put on a pair of headphones – get out my iPod – and go to my Chill Out Playlist. Immersing myself into a specially curated selection of laid-back, beautiful songs – this manages to take me to a dreamy, relaxing and gorgeous place. Top of this particular playlist is this simply stunning song from Robinella – aka Robin Ella Bailey.

She started her career straight out of college with her husband, mandolin master Cruz Contreras, as a bluegrass, country and jazz duo – Robinella and the CC Stringband. They released two albums independently in 2000 and 2001 and out of the blue Columbia Records signed them in 2002 and re-packaged some songs from their first two albums into a debut release for the label – quickly followed up with a full album in 2003 – ‘Robinella and the CC Stringband‘.

She then toured with the likes of Bob Dylan, Nickel Creek, Robert Earl Keen, Kasey Chambers and Rodney Crowell amongst many others. She was nominated for ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ at the Americana Music Awards in 2006 and then her debut for Dualtone was released – the magnificent ‘Solace For The Lonely’.

It’s an album that combines a wide range of styles including Applachian church music, bluegrass, honky- tonk, jazz, blues and americana. The album features Contreras and his wonderful mandolin, but their sound was expanded by adding a Rhodes keyboard and piano in the mix, as well as brushed snares, funky double-bass and really atmospheric percussion. It’s carefully produced by Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin) and the album includes a superb cover of Melanie’s ‘Brand New Key‘ – Bailey’s voice is so like Melanie’s it’s a little spooky.

The album leads with a jazz tinged, acoustic tune – ‘Break It Down, Baby’ –  which gradually builds to a gorgeous hand clapper of a song. But it’s track two – ‘Press On’ – that really impresses. Opening with a moody piano and drum feel, with some lovely additional keyboard sounds in the background, the listener is gently taken into a dreamy and chilled space with Robinella’s powerful vocals enhancing the fantastic tune. The song is posted below and there’s also a brilliant live version with Bailey and Contreras. It’s a majestic and atmospheric listen – so get those headphones on, close your eyes and be taken to a wonderful and beautiful place. Ahhh.

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