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Robin & Linda Williams

Deeper Waters – 2004 (Red House)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Robin & Linda Williams

In the three decades of their ongoing personal and professional partnership, Robin and Linda Williams have displayed the knack of winning fans not only in the various branches of country and folk music, but with the public at large as well through their many appearances on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion."

As anyone who's watched and listened to Linda play clawhammer banjo knows, their sound is deeply rooted in old time music, and the title of their new release reflects the fact that they've reached deeper into their reservoir of tradition than ever before, despite the apparent paradox that all but one of the tunes are originals. The result is one of their strongest efforts so far. Backed by the current lineup of their "Fine Group" (Jim Watson, bass, and Jimmy Gaudreau, mandolin) along with a cast of top-notch "hired guns" like Mary Chapin Carpenter, bluegrass fiddler par excellence Rickie Simpkins and Dobro king Mike Auldridge, the Williamses apply their distinctive talents with a haunting, old time feel throughout, as exemplified on standout tracks like "Leaving This Land," "Old Plank Road" and "Home #235."

As usual, the Williamses don't fit neatly into any single country or folk label, but this disc should have no problem finding a slot in the collection of anyone who likes any kind of "roots" music.