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Music Review: Andy Robinson – Music Bucket

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The former drummer for San Diego progressive rock band Horsefeathers, and L.A. cult groups Elton Duck and Invisible Zoo, Andy Robinson is now a purveyor of an experimental Americana sound. His 2004 debut solo album is called Exotic America. Now, his latest album’s title, Music Bucket, refers to the pail lowered into a well and the musical surprises it holds when pulled back up. Robinson admits that he even surprised himself on this stirring album.

Besides some vocals, the multi-instrumentalist uses an arsenal of tools including mountain dulcimer, guitar, synthesizer, percussion, lap steel, kalimba, toy xylophone and harmonica. By far, the most whimsical piece is “Cartoon,” dedicated to Zal Yankovsky. According to the liner notes, that track even includes “various junk recorded at the Blue Moon Bunny Farm,” tastefully incorporated into the mix. He uses loops on three tracks (“The Golden Feather,” “Surge,” “November Too”), which impart a Zen-like flow and upwelling to his music. Speaking of Zen, Andy Robinson demonstrates that he not only carries a song inside but that he has found a successful recipe for unlocking the door and sharing his discoveries.

Music Bucket features guests Mike Keneally (electric guitar), Carlos Olmeda (vocals), David Ryan Norgren (vocals), Dennis Caplinger (fiddle, mandolin), Tripp Sprague (sax), Jamie White (bass), PJ Bovee (bass), Coco Brown (bass), Nicki Elledge (vocals), and Doug Robinson (bass). Chuck Elledge, Allison Boles, Mick and Cynthia Garris add voices to the opening cut, “Yeah.” Andy closes the project with “The Open Door,” the song’s genesis evolving from solo kalimba to a transcendent statement that seems to encourage exploration, innovation and adventure. That’s the organic nature of his music that resonates with character and emotion. Tapping his heart’s spirit, Andy Robinson’s music bursts forth with a shout from the soul.

You’ve got to appreciate any instrumentalist who not only has fun with his compositions, but also understands the business of music. Until the end of April, 2012, Robinson is sponsoring a video contest which is open to anyone buying Music Bucket as a CD or download. With simple creativity and good taste being the main criterias to win, each suitable entry will be posted to YouTube with Robinson’s critique and is eligible for cash prizes.

 

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