Nell Robinson | Nell Robinson in Loango

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Nell Robinson in Loango

by Nell Robinson

Warm, sexy and fresh - a new voice for original and traditional American string band music backed by world-class musicians. Rollicking energy, sweet harmonies, and hot pickin'…plus bonus tracks with the Henriettas, that old-time sisters duo.
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
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  Song Share Time Download
1. In My Dear Old Southern Home (feat. Laurie Lewis))
Nell Robinson
1:57 $0.99
2. When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again
Nell Robinson
4:35 $0.99
3. Forgotten Soldier Boy (feat. Laurie Lewis))
Nell Robinson
3:21 $0.99
4. Misty Moonlight
Nell Robinson
4:37 $0.99
5. If Tears Could Heal
Nell Robinson
2:22 $0.99
6. I Walk the Line
Nell Robinson
3:45 $0.99
7. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Nell Robinson
3:51 $0.99
8. Love Me or Leave Me Alone
Nell Robinson
2:48 $0.99
9. Butch
Nell Robinson
3:09 $0.99
10. Trouble-Minded Blues
Nell Robinson
3:30 $0.99
11. No Part of Nothing
Nell Robinson
3:40 $0.99
12. Scraps from Your Table
Nell Robinson
3:25 $0.99
13. Fine-feathered Pair of Song Sisters
Nell Robinson
0:31 album only
14. He Left Me Standing There
Nell Robinson
2:50 $0.99
15. Ole Ernie Might Be Surprised
Nell Robinson
0:17 album only
16. You Really Lose Your Mind
The Henriettas
2:20 $0.99
17. Goodnight!
Nell Robinson
0:13 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
My debut album was produced by Laurie Lewis and Jim Nunally. Some of my liner notes are below. For more information about Nell, please visit
Loango, Alabama

Picking blueberries, shelling peas, sitting on the porchswing, drinking sweet tea.

Small town near the family farm where my mother was born and where several generations of my ancestors settled. There is a store there where we used to buy bottled cokes and boiled peanuts when I was a kid. I expect you still can.

It was magical to walk down the dirt road and know that just about every farmhouse had kinfolk in it. A truck would pull up to me, and a fellow I had never met before would yell out the window—Hey are you Irene’s girl? You look just like her!

This album is dedicated to my grandmothers, Nell Robinson and Thelma Bates.
Heartfelt Thanks

I am deeply grateful to my producers, Laurie Lewis and Jim Nunally. I sang alone in my car for 25 years and these two incredibly talented and kind folks gave me guidance to bring my voice out. Love to my husband and daughter for their support, my sisters, brother and my parents, whose strong sense of humor and family roots is so very important to me. Special thanks to: Cary Sheldon, yodeling sister; Larry Carlin, whose generosity and support has been invaluable; Steve Baker; the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse; Caffe Trieste in North Beach which gave me my first gig; the California Bluegrass Association; Jeff Kazor and Lou Ponticas for their fresh ears; and most especially to the world-class musicians who performed on this album and the audiences who turn on a light in me.



to write a review

Jared Ford

Loango Reviews
Read the Reviews of Nell Robinson in Loango:

Reviewed by Brenda Hough, Bluegrass Breakdown, California Bluegrass Association

When Hilary Perkins decided to pursue her dream of a singing career, she took the name of her grandmother, Nell Robinson, and the ancestral hometown of Red Level, Alabama to honor her roots. The songs on the album are a senti- mental look back at a simpler time and place – the small Alabama farm towns of Red Level, Brooklyn, and Loango are filled with Robinson kin folk, and it’s a delightful journey accompanied by a photograph of both Nells perched on the bumper of an old Chevy truck.

A stellar cast of local musicians, including members of the Jaybirds, joins Nell on the album. Laurie Lewis and Jim Nunally produced the songs on the album, and their careful blend of musicians and songs gives each song its own special setting. “In My Dear Old Southern Home” is an old Jimmie Rodgers song, and the image of an old home cabin is graced with a yodeling duet from Laurie and Nell. Nell and Keith Little blend their voices in “When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again,” and John Reischman’s mandolin, Nick Hornbuckle’s banjo and Greg Spatz’s fiddle just invite a nostalgic sing-a-long. Keith and Nell sing the stirring hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” with a cadence that would move the rafters of the old white church house. “Misty Moonlight” has a Joe Craven and Jim Nunally instrumental backdrop with steel guitar and percussion and the music just invites a little dance around the porch. “Butch” is a tribute to Nell’s Dad who had the “heart to rise above sorrow” and follow his own dreams. Hazel Dickens’ “Scraps From Your Table” is a love song with an attitude and Nell gives her rendition the right dose of vinegar as she sings of being “tired of picking up the mess she makes of you.” Cary Sheldon and Nell perform two DeZurik Sisters songs complete with hen cackles, yodels, and a vintage bounce that makes you happy to listen. Southern hospitality would dictate that any visitor would be treated to the best in the house, and Nell’s songs have a love of life and a joy of discovery that will make you pull up a rocker and rest a spell.


The Wide-Ranging Southern
Roots Of An East Bay Singer
By Michael Hall

"Nell Robinson In Loango"
Red Level Records,

The new solo CD from Berkeley's Nell Robinson (Hilary Perkins to her closest friends) is a tribute to her family's roots near Loango, Alabama, but the backing musicians are a Who's Who of Bay Area bluegrass performers.Robinson recently emerged on the Northern Californiasc ene as the lead singer of the bluegrass band Red Level, a group named for another Alabama hamlet.

The album pulls from all of Nell's musical interests -- bluegrass, soldier songs, older country tunes, and southeastern favorites of the past, plus some original material from Nell and Laurie Lewis, and a revival of 1930s radio female duets and humor.

Familiar material done in a creative style appears throughout the CD's offerings. "When My Blue Moon
Turns To Gold Again" is Nell's smoothly evocative, warm voice at its best. Nell does a excellent softer, feminine version of Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line." Her take on Hazel Dickens' "Scraps From Your Table" is upbeat,confident, and forward-looking. Jimmie Rodgers' "In My Good Old Southern Home" is presented in a lively bluegrass-yodeling style, while "Trouble-Minded Blues" from Cliff Carlisle is the bluesy-est cut on the album.

The theme of Nell's "Soldier Stories" concerts is recalled in "Forgotten Soldier Boy," the story of a World War Isoldier experiencing the horrors of death and destruction followed by the sadness of a vet's life after war's end. The more optimistic Nell/Laurie tune "Butch" recalls the life of an Alabama man who overcomes adversity by joining the military and then returning to successfully raise his own happy family, a benefit denied him as a child.

"Misty Moonlight" is the western-style lament of a woman waiting too long for the return of her lover. The Nell original "If Tears Could Heal" is a delightful addition to bluegrass literature -- sad lyrics wrapped in a happy tune. "No Part Of Nothing" is a bluegrassy lament for the end of a loving relationship, while "Love Me Or Leave Me Alone" is a woman's powerful declaration of independence from a unfaithful partner.

The 1700s-era hymn "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" was written by Englishman Robert Robinson
well after Nell's pilgrim forebears had sailed to the Massachusetts colony, so his relationship to her family is unknown, but the Presbyterian standard was the favorite of Nell's mother.

The final section of the CD is a faux radio program announced by Tony Marcus and featuring a retro
singing act called "The Henriettas" (Nell and Cary Sheldon). Two DeZurik Sisters songs culled from that
band's 1930s radio program ("He Left Me Standing There" and "You Really Lose Your Mind" provide
lighthearted musical duet material among the on-air banter, with plenty of yodeling and chicken-cackling

The album art features historic family photos that explain the East Bay resident's deep south influence
that is evident in Nell's vocal stylings. This is an excellent initial solo project with interesting and varied material and quality musical performances. The Bay Area is lucky to be able to welcome Nell Robinson to our bluegrass community.

Reviewed by Michael Hall, Bluegrass By the Bay, Northern California Bluegrass Society

Newcomer Nell Robinson’s CD Release Show at the Freight in Berkeley
By Larry Carlin

When she and her band Red Level burst onto the Bay Area bluegrass scene two years ago, bluegrass and country singer Nell Robinson hadn’t sung in public since elementary school. She has now played many of the best regional festivals, sold out the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley twice, won the Bluegrassin’ In The Foothills “Emerging Artist Award,” founded a very popular bluegrass band performance workshop called Take the Stage, and produced and performed a veterans benefit show called Soldier Stories. Now she is about to add another feather to her cap – her debut album Nell Robinson in Loango, and she will be celebrating its release with a party at the new Freight & Salvage in Berkeley at 8 p.m. on December 10th.

Nell Robinson in Loango is a trip back home with her to the little towns and farmhouses filled with kinfolk in southern Alabama. Nell has traveled a long way from her close-knit family home near Loango (the town referred to in the album title), Alabama. Sweet memories of a childhood visiting the local store that sold bottled cokes and boiled peanuts, picking blueberries and shelling peas with her grandmothers are reflected in the album liner notes, photographs and artwork. And the first song is a fitting one: “In My Dear Old Southern Home,” a rambunctious yodeling duet of an old Jimmie Rodgers’ song.

The CD – also being released on vinyl for those who can dust off their old turntables – was produced by Grammy-Award winners Laurie Lewis and Jim Nunally, and features a who’s-who of bluegrass musicians, including John Reischman & The Jaybirds, Tom Rozum, Keith Little, Todd Phillips, Patrick Sauber, Chad Manning and Kathy Kallick.

Nell offers some of her own originals on the album, “Butch” and “If Tears Could Heal.” The song list also features new music by Bay Area musician and writer Richard Brandenburg, a hymn from the mid-18th century, a Johnny Cash favorite, and several other fresh takes on bluegrass favorites, such as “When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again.” And Nell's duo singing with Cary Sheldon – they call themselves The Henriettas – takes you back to the 1930s for a reprise of The DeZurik Sisters novelty yodeling act, with Tony Marcus as the radio announcer.

Nell lives in Berkeley with her husband Skip and daughter, Cass, a high school senior, and their greyhound Willie. But how did this late-blooming chanteuse get started?

“I wanted to sing a song to my husband for our wedding anniversary a few years ago. He and I love to sing along to the radio and I decided to surprise him and he just loved it. But I also ended up surprising myself – I had dreamed about singing all my life. I had a pickup truck without a radio, and I just used to sing all alone driving up and down the state for work. Something just turned on in me – a light, maybe, when I sang to my husband and friends.”

And it didn’t end there. She was bitten by the musical muse, and has been busy ever since.

“I took some singing lessons and a band workshop at Sweetwater in Marin County. I then met Laurie Lewis and one thing lead to another.”

While good fortune surely played a role in her recent successes, Nell is a bit of an indefatigable workhorse too. “I sing every day, starting with vocal exercises, scales and intervals. I’ll work on one phrase all afternoon. Good thing I love repetition!”

Her album is getting good reviews for her distinctive renditions and vocal style, warm and sexy voice, and the world-class band backing her. For the release show at the Freight Nell will be bringing together many of the Loango musicians who worked with her on the recording of the CD. She has also quickly developed a reputation for a “sunny charisma” and her onstage live performances are very engaging and entertaining. She is currently working on new music, some of which will be previewed at the Freight show.

In closing, the effervescent Nell says, "I'll be the first to admit how lucky I am! I am so grateful to the great musicians I've been able to sing with and to the music community for embracing me."

To get your copy of Nell Robinson in Loango, don’t miss seeing Nell Robinson in Berkeley on December 10th.

For more info about the CD release show, go to and