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The Charlotte Folk Society is thrilled to present the duo of Robin & Linda Williams at our September 12th Gathering! Join us in the beautiful listening room of the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in the edge of Uptown Charlotte. The music gets underway at 7:30 PM. Doors open at 7 PM; arrive early to be sure of admission.
Free parking is available in the surface lot adjacent to the Stella Center and in the Fourth Street county government deck, accessed from the surface lot as well as from Fourth Street. Elizabeth Avenue is now open from both the Kings Drive and the McDowell Street intersections. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground floor door on the parking lot side of the building. Drivers may park temporarily to discharge passengers needing that entrance; a CFS volunteer is ready to assist those folks into the building.
Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free; donations are appreciated and essential to our presenting concerts in the Stella Center. Refreshments, a song circle, a slow old-time jam, and the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club follow the hour-long concert. Visitors are welcome to take part in activities or simply enjoy listening.
For more than four decades now, Robin & Linda Williams have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, "a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism." Today, some might call it "Americana," but these two music masters were living, breathing, writing, and performing this fusion of traditional genres twenty years before the label was turned into a radio format.
As live performers they are second to none. Their stirring concerts have earned them a huge body of fans over the years. As gifted songwriters Robin and Linda have earned an even rarer honor, the devotion and deep respect of their musical peers. As The Washington Post put it, "The Williamses are able to sum up a life in a few details with moving completeness." The list of artists who have covered their original songs include some of the greats of country music, names like Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, George Hamilton IV, Tim & Mollie O'Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, and The Seldom Scene.
Robin, the son of a Presbyterian minister, was born in Charlotte. Linda is a native of Anniston, Alabama. They met and fell for each other in 1971 on a visit to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Linda was then teaching school and Robin was a full-time musician on a national coffeehouse circuit. It wasn't long before they discovered additional magic when they combined their voices in harmony.
Despite being true children of the South, their career got its initial momentum up north in the Minneapolis folk scene. Robin had made many friends and connections there as a solo artist and in 1975 they recorded their first album in Minneapolis for a local record company. The same year they made their first appearance on a little radio show just getting off the ground called A Prairie Home Companion and their rich relationship with that icon of American broadcasting has continued for nearly four decades.
In the years since, Robin and Linda have crisscrossed the country, past miles and miles of highway signs, thrilling audiences with their songs and harmonies. Folk and country fans alike loved their honest heartfelt music. The twenty-three albums they’ve recorded of mostly original material have garnered both popular and critical acclaim. Their most recent CD, Back 40, was released last October to mark their 40 years of performing together. It includes songs they originally recorded on vinyl, a few by their songwriting heroes, and a brand new one they penned, The Old Familiar House on Christmas Day. Robin and Linda say, “We’re still as we were when we started, a couple that wants a life together and a life in music.”
Robin and Linda have made appearances on such major programs as The Grand Old Opry, Austin City Limits, Music City Tonight, Mountain Stage, Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour, and they continue to make frequent appearances on A Prairie Home Companion. ". . . .vocally and instrumentally, the Williamses combine impeccable musical discipline with a bare simplicity and an utter lack of pretension." – Stephen Holden, The New York Times.
In the late ‘80s they teamed up with Prairie Home Companion host, Garrison Keillor, and bluegrass songstress Kate MacKenzie to form The Hopeful Gospel Quartet. This wonderful sideline ensemble went on to release two albums and tour the USA, British Isles and Europe.
Robin and Linda appeared as themselves in Robert Altman’s final film, A Prairie Home Companion, released in 2006. The movie is a fictional representation of behind-the-scenes activities at the long-running public radio show of the same name. Filmed at the Fitzgerald Theater, the movie pooled the talents of four Oscar winners. Critics' general reaction to the film was favorable. Roger Ebert awarded the film four out of four stars and later added the film to his "Great Movies" list.
"Among contemporary country performers, Robin and Linda Williams shine like a diamond amid rhinestones. . . ." – David W. Johnson, The Boston Globe
"Robin and Linda Williams create music that is both comfortable and thoughtful – a rare combination that explains why and how the Williamses are able to keep on an even keel while musical trends come and go. They don't play at being country – they are country." – No Depression Magazine
CFS Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.