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Robin Bullock | Midnight Howl

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Midnight Howl

by Robin Bullock

A celebration of Celtic roots and the wild American spirit in traditional, Irish and old-time music on 6- and 12-string guitars, cittern, mandolin, fiddle, viola, pennywhistle, piano and bass and also Celtic harp Sue Richards, Grammy-nominated Chris Norma
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. John Mackenzie's Fancy
3:45 $0.99
2. For Ireland I'd Not Tell Her Name
4:18 $0.99
3. Jaybird Suite
7:51 $0.99
4. Spider
3:41 $0.99
5. Carrickfergus
5:06 $0.99
6. Bob and Margie's Waltz
4:24 $0.99
7. Rascal's Castle
3:26 $0.99
8. Ash Grove Suite
8:06 $0.99
9. Maho Snaps/Port of Call/Midnight Howl
3:45 $0.99
10. Belle of Lexington / Forty Miles to Louisville
4:24 $0.99
11. Lost Hollow Lament
4:23 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Hailed as "a master flatpicker" (SING OUT!), Robin is also one of a handful of masters of the cittern, a flat-backed double-strung instrument often called a bouzouki. He roams the musical landscape with a wide palette of skills, bringing his unique vision of influences to Celtic music. Hear a hard-driving flatpicker, a lyrical fingerstyle guitarist and an old-time swing fiddler, all in one. Robin Bullock is currently on the the "A" list of best acoutic fingerpicking and flat picking guitar players in the USA, and recently praised by Guitar Player Magazine "Whether flying solo or soaring with others, Bullock has an extraordinary command of timbre and dynamics. From shimmering harmonics to densely woven strands of counterpoint, his every note rings clear. Part of this is due to the transparent, airy recording, but it's Bullock's knack for arranging that lets each instrument shine so brightly. You can hear that he has dedicated years to absorbing the lesson of traditional folk music: A poignant melody, not fancy fretwork, stands the test of time."


Scottish pipe tune turns tribal stomp. The mandolin heard on this track was built by my North Carolina buddy, Rob Sharer. Robin on citterns, mandolin, guitar & bass; Steve on dumbek, ashiko, djembe & shakers.
Artists: Robin Bullock - Guitar, cittern, mandolin & bass guitar
Steve Bloom - Djembe, ashiko, dumbek & shakere
Producer: Robin Bullock

My Americanized take on an Irish air. The lyrics tell of a poet's visitation by a mysterious lady. When she reveals herself to be the nation of Ireland personified, he vows to keep her secret. (But then he gives it away in the title!) Robin on guitar, piano & fiddle.
Artists: Robin Bullock - Guitar, fiddle & piano
Producer: Robin Bullock

3 JAYBIRD SUITE (Little Brown Coffin/Madam Bonaparte/Jaybird/Drink Shank)
Irish hornpipe and set dance followed by two American old-time fiddle tunes. This suite features the cittern, a larger cousin of the mandolin. Robin on 12-string guitar, citterns, bass, 6-string guitar, mandolin & fiddle.
Artists: Robin Bullock - 12-string guitar, cittern, mandolin, fiddle & bass guitar
Producer: Robin Bullock

A composition named after an all-black bicycle I used to own. Robin on guitar.
Artists: Robin Bullock - Guitars
Producer: Robin Bullock

A famous Irish song of exile and longing. The town of Carrickfergus is in County Antrim in the northeast of Ireland. Robin on cittern, guitar & viola; Sue on Celtic harp; Chris on wooden flute.
Chris Norman - Wooden flute
Sue Richards - Celtic harp
Producer: Robin Bullock

For treasured friends, Bob and Margie Farmer. Robin on guitar.
Artists: Robin Bullock - Guitar
Producer: Robin Bullock

A New Age Celtic mambo (how's that for a category?). I took the name from a van I once saw on the highway. Robin on guitar & bass; Steve on ganza & congas.
Artists: Robin Bullock - Guitars & bass guitar
Steve Bloom - Congas & ganza
Producer: Robin Bullock

8 ASH GROVE SUITE (Ash Grove/Three Ravens/Morgan Megan/Planxty Tom Bombadil)
The first two tunes are well-known throughout Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, and are claimed by all four nations. The third is a composition by legendary Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738). The final tune, composed as O'Carolan might have if he'd had chromatic notes available on his harp, is a planxty (tribute) in honor of the marvelous character in J.R.R. Tolkien's
THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Robin on guitar.
Artists: Robin Bullock - Guitars
Producer: Robin Bullock

I learned the first jig from Irish piper Joe McHugh and hammer dulcimerist Barry Carroll during a wild weekend at the International Hackbrett Festival in Munich. The second is named in honor of Solomons Island, Maryland. The title of the third is self-explanatory (woof!). Robin on mandolins, citterns, piano, fiddle, guitar & bass; Myron on bodhran.
Artists: Robin Bullock - Guitar, cittern, mandolin, fiddle, piano & bass guitar
Myron Bretholz - Bodhran
Producer: Robin Bullock

A pair of Kentucky fiddle tunes, just for fun. My source for the second was the late Merle Watson, still one of my favorite musicians. Robin on fiddles, mandolin, guitar & bass.
Artists: Robin Bullock - Guitar, mandolin, fiddle & bass guitar
Producer: Robin Bullock

Lost Hollow is a private name for my secret wooded refuge. This piece is a tribute to the healing power of wild places, and a lament for their disappearance. Robin on guitar & pennywhistle.
Artists: Robin Bullock - Guitar & pennywhistle
Producer: Robin Bullock

"Celtic guitar god." - Baltimore City Paper

"Breathtaking...brilliant technique, always in service of the music." - Guitar Player

"A musician whose technical skill and stylistic expertise are second to none...a time-served folkie of the highest calibre." - Classical Guitar (U.K.)

Robin Bullock -award-winning Celtic/American string wizard is a prolific composer, respected instructor and workshop leader, and virtuoso multi-instrumentalist, specializing in 6- and 12-string guitars, cittern and mandolin.

A founding member of the innovative acoustic world-music trio Helicon (winners of the Association for Independent Music's prestigious INDIE Award for Best Seasonal Recording) and an alumnus of trailblazing Celtic groups The John Whelan Band and Greenfire, Robin has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe and appeared on over two dozen CDs. His own recorded work includes 2 critically acclaimed solo CDs (Midnight Howl, Between Earth and Sky) and collaborations such as Travellers with legendary bluegrass mandolinists Butch Baldassari and John Reischman, A Midnight Clear: A Celtic Christmas with fellow INDIE winners Al Petteway and Amy White, Celtic Guitar Summit with California fingerstylist Steve Baughman, and The Irish Girl with French flute and whistle champion Michel Sikiotakis), as well as four CDs with Helicon, two with John Whelan and two with Greenfire. Robin's further credits include three Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE Awards, a Governor's Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a feature broadcast on National Public Radio's hugely popular Celtic music program "The Thistle and Shamrock."

Born in 1964 in Washington DC, a major focal point for both bluegrass and Irish music, Robin began playing guitar at age seven, initially inspired by Doc and Merle Watson, Norman Blake and John Fahey. Robin's apprenticeship years were spent at fiddlers' conventions, bluegrass festivals and Irish seisuns, mastering the subtleties of a half-dozen instruments in both American and Celtic styles. Today, Robin is recognized as one of the few musicians who can so successfully blend the ancient airs and dance tunes of the Celtic lands with the roots music traditions of the "New World."

In 2000, Robin relocated to France, and now lives in the tiny village of Tripleval, on the Seine river northwest of Paris. He continues to tour and record on both sides of the Atlantic, in a number of contexts: solo, in duos with guitarist Steve Baughman and flute player Michel Sikiotakis, and the annual "Winter Celebration" concert tour with Al Petteway and Amy White.

"Dazzling spirit...what he offers is not just virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity, but also the sensibility of one on a quest between past and present, traditional and modern." - Trad Magazine (France)



to write a review

Jim & Kay Z

This is the kind of music we like to put on, kick off our shoes and just let it wash over the soul.

David Mutchler

The gorgeous mandolin start on the first tune (JOHN MACKENZIE'S FANCY) sets the tone for this great CD. The all-instrumental CD includes fast-paced jigs with great mandolin, cittern & various traditional percussion, alongside beautiful airs on guitar, piano & fiddle. The tunes are traditional, but given a modern slant (and volume/pace), ala Silly Wizard and other great Irish bands. For example, the liner notes describes the lovely second tune as "My Americanized take on an Irish air." The musicianship is absolutely first-rate throughout -- simply could not be better. A real jewel of an album for anyone who likes modern versions of traditional Celtic music.

Joe Ross

Robin's a first class musician of breathtaking ability
I was familiar with Robin's work with the eclectic acoustic trio, Helicon. Knowing about his mastery of many instruments, I've been wanting to get this album of his for quite some time. Robin plays nine different instruments on "Midnight Howl." Steve Bloom's percussion is right on, and we also hear some expert bodhran, wooden flute and Celtic harp from Myron Bretholz, Chris Norman and Sue Richards, respectively. No slouches there! The CD starts with a lively "John MacKenzie's Fancy" that imparts a rhythmic intensity that is very powerful. Throughout the journey, he follows his quick paced romps with leisurely musical strolls. Arrangements are well thought out, and it's a true pleasure to hear the genesis of 8-minute numbers like "Jaybird Suite" and "Ash Grove Suite." Robin Bullock is a first class musician of breathtaking ability. (Joe Ross)

Brenda Waters

I love this CD! It makes me want to get up and dance!