record player featured artist

I just stumbled upon this lovely review on and thought i might post it in full here…


What this music undoubtedly has is life, and a firm grounding in the everyday. From bounce to melancholy we can hear Robin’s enthusiasm: his instrumentals are tight and expressive, his voice soothing and familiar. Mainly this is music to listen to for a celebration of the simple, good things going on in life. And if by some sad chance there aren’t any, then it might help a little on the road to recovery. It is certainly not damning with faint praise to call this offering well-meaning – what higher accolade could there be, if you think about it? And not just well-meaning: well-crafted and well-delivered too.

There is a kind of a theme among new contemporary folk musicians who think, and we have reviewed quite a number of them recently. Living in the same times as them must help a little, since we get the little references. For those of us living in London, we’ll maybe get a few more from Hackney-dwelling Robin Grey’s songs than most. I have never heard Amhurst Road mentioned in a folk track before, but for those of you further afield, don’t feel too despondent, because you’re invited to the party too.

As the tea and cake loving Grey plays out and about, teaches others what he knows and prepares to release a follow-on to last year’s excellent ‘Only the Missile’ LP, we have lots to look forward to. Grey has released his first album, as well as the EP ‘I Love Leonard Cohen’ which preceded it, under a creative commons licence in a brave and probably very sensible move. If you didn’t know, this allows anyone to share and remix his songs free, so long as it isn’t for commercial gain or without attribution. It is an interesting choice, and probably truer to the original nature of folk music dissemination than any other model.

Today, from his EP, ‘Shakes And Shudders’ is a beautiful tune for a bright grey morning, as we slowly awake to the week, this is just the thing to help us on our way.

frostclick review

My rather clever website (I love wordpress sooo much) just emailed me to tell me about a nice review on the Frostclick website.

Valerie has decided to review everything I have release in one go which is a first! Favourite bit is…

Grey can masterfully express his thoughts without so much shoving it down anyone’s throat.


…anyways, should probably get back to mixing now.

penny black review

Every so often i google my name. A guilty secret but i am sure i am not the only one. Once in a blue moon i discover a review that seems to have slipped under my radar. Today was one of those moments and i must further confess it totally made my day. The link is below but I have reprinted it in full anyway cos I am proud of it and I can.

by Malcolm Carter

I recently realised that the majority of new singer/songwriters that have made an impression over the last year or two have been predominantly female. It became quite worrying at one point, but when it came to male singers that I hadn’t heard before the fact was that of those I did hear none really shone vocally. Robin Grey has finally given me hope though that male singer/songwriters who can not only write songs but can actually sing do still exist.

I know next to nothing about Robin Grey and for once I am quite happy to keep it that way. I do know that ‘Strangers With Shoes’ is his second album although it is obviously the first I have heard. These days we can Google any name and find out what someone had for breakfast yesterday when we had never heard of them five minutes ago. It makes research a lot easier of course but sometimes all we need to know about our new favourite singer is in the songs on the album we just discovered. A little mystery is a good thing.

Robin Grey is the best ‘new’ male singer I’ve heard this year. His warm vocals grab your attention and while it’s not possible to come up with any comparisons vocally it feels like you have been listening to him for years. Grey doesn’t particularly sound like any other singer but he does sound strangely familiar. While I can’t imagine anyone actually disliking Grey’s vocals it’s hard to pinpoint just why he sounds so good. Just one of those voices I guess. I listened to this album maybe five or six times in the car and to be honest it did nothing for me. It was pleasant folk/pop and while it was obvious that Grey had a neat way lyrically, the eight songs didn’t really touch me in any way.

Then one evening I listened to the album on headphones and Grey completely blew me away. I’d take a guess that despite the songs hardly being shorn of instrumentation (there is ukulele, banjo, accordion, violin and flute fleshing out the usual guitar, bass and drums) Grey really comes to shine during those melancholy moments when we need a little real music to lift us up. I’m no technician but it wouldn’t surprise me if Grey, who recorded this music without the help of an outside producer, made this music so it is best appreciated on headphones. There’s just something about the sound on all of these songs that only comes alive when Grey is singing that close to you. It’s not just Grey’s vocals though; the opening song, ‘Younger Looking Skin’ where Grey showcases not just his talent for creating unforgettable, instant melodies but also his skill at writing thoughtful lyrics which can also raise the odd smile or two is a smart way of opening the album. It has you wondering if he can keep this high standard up throughout the album, and the answer is yes he can.

In fact the following song, ‘Till Dawn’ is even better. It’s more or less a duet with a female singer who, despite quite detailed sleeve notes, doesn’t appear to get a name-check which is a shame as her emotive vocals bring out a side to Grey’s work which he alone fails to do. It’s almost as if, because this un-named singer is just so damn good, that she pushes Grey, vocally at least, to another level. With Poppy Villiers-Stuart’s flute adding a jazzy feel to the song, ‘Till Dawn’ is an undoubted highlight on this all too short eight song CD.

Grey’s lyrics raise that smile again a few times during ‘I Love Leonard Cohen’ this time the female backing vocals come courtesy of Madelaine Hart and once again they add texture to the song and really do make the song complete.

Because Grey uses a wide selection of instruments there is always something new to discover in his songs and this really is an album that grows on you. Although those melodies are instant and Grey’s vocals are warm and invite you into his musical world I do feel that to fully appreciate his songs you have to immerse yourself into the songs and not allow yourself to be distracted by anything while listening to them. Grey really is one of those artists you wish you could have playing just for you in your front room.

‘Strangers With Shoes’ is a nice way to spend just over half an hour and leaves you wanting more every time which must be a good thing. Listened to in the right setting Grey has produced one of the most surprising and satisfying albums I’ve heard all year.

a quick round up – radio and reviews

A lovely recent review of ‘strangers with shoes’ here –

BBS radio in California have selected a few of my tunes in a recent playlist – as have ‘Baie des anges’ in France – – as has ‘The social media podcast’ in Austrailia – and there was a podcast from Germany too but I’ll be buggered if I can remember what it was!

Lastly a big shout out to ‘Fresh Air‘, the Edinburgh student radio station for being the first UK station to playlist me. Happy days and good luck with your dissertation Chris!

the russian connection

A while ago I had a few reviews in Russian which I was finding very hard to get translated – luckily a fellow called John just came across them on my site…

“In a previous existence I was a Russian translator, so I thought he might appreciate knowing what that mysterious internet write-up was about. It’s rather pompous (in a music-writerly kind of way), and I’m a bit rusty but the gist is:

“Only the Missile”
For his influences Robin has made discerning choices of true folk icons, but not icons who are usually associated with “genuine” folk per se. Chief among them Leonard Cohen and Ani Difranco.
Overall, if this had been a “commercial” release it would have been hailed as an “album of the year”. That has been said about “non-commercial” artists whose work rarely approaches this quality. This doesn’t just just apply to Robin himself, who plays numerous guitars, keyboards and percussion instruments, but also the guest musicians on a couple of tracks. Excellent performances all. 5/5
There then follows a lighthearted debate in the comments about whether he’s English or American (because of his singing accent), before someone tracks down the myspace page and they agree that he’s either from London, or based there.”

J’s Live Journal

Стиль: сонграйтерский фолк.

В качестве образца для подражания Робин выбрал настоящие иконы фолка, но иконы специфические, которые и с “настоящим” фолком-то обычно не связывают – в первую очередь, Леонарда Коэна и Эни диФранко. По большому счету, если бы этот альбом попался мне среди “платников”, он вряд ли попал бы в “альбомы года”, но заметным явлением стал бы наверняка – что уж говорить о “бесплатниках”, среди которых работы подобного качества попадаются крайне редко – причем здесь стоит отметить как самого Робина, сыгравшего на многочисленных струнных, клавишных и ударных инструментах, но и о его приглашенных на одну-две песни соратниках: молодцы все.


Thanks John!

a few more reviews…

Fense Post

…a hidden treasure of the European underground … (Strangers With Shoes is) a thing of complete and utter beauty.

full review here


Catching The Waves

…in case I haven’t made myself clear, Robin Grey has talent coming out of his ears.

full review here



I can’t help but just be thankful to be aliveI’ll probably keep (Strangers With Shoes) on repeat for about three weeks.

full review here


Music Liberation

Strangers With Shoes is about to enjoy an extended residency on my ipod play list this year …(Robin’s) every day commentary of normal life inject a refreshing shot of energy into a genre which can sometimes get bogged down with too much heavy emotion and feelings.

full review here

Full unpeeled review

Reprinted in full as his old reviews don’t seem to be archived


ROBIN GREY “Strangers In shoes” (Self-Released)

RELEASED? Out now.

SOUNDS LIKE? One man and his guitar singing songs that hold a mirror up to life with a voice that makes you want to reflect on life.  Along the way he’s accompanied by violin, bass and a few other instruments that can be found lying around the place. Sometimes there is a woman’s voice to be heard. I do not know her name. She sounds like a ghost, or possibly a wood elf. Ethereal, maybe. Yeah, that’s a good word. That’s a keeper.

IS IT ANY GOOD? I guess he caught me in the right mood. Right now I’m in the middle of a break up and I’m feeling melancholy, a bit sorry for myself, but hopeful for the future. I’m reflecting on what went wrong, but I can’t not think about how right it felt when it was going well. I’m in the type of mood where I want to be left alone to smoke cigarettes and listen to music that doesn’t cheer me up. So, right now, Robin Grey is keeping me company. I’ll probably keep him on repeat for about three weeks.

After that, say my i-Sock is on random and say a song like ‘Montreal’ comes on and it won’t matter if I’m shopping for tuna or collecting the larger cigarette butts from the supermarket car park, that song will come on and I’ll be right back there amidst the shame and loss, a distant, catatonic shell mechanically lighting one foul tasting cigarette after another. I don’t want to imagine the swiftness of the regression if I hear ‘The Suitors of Ballyhoo’, with the lyrics “I want you” and “I love you” in tandem. It’s a violent yanking open of tender wounds that tickles the fancy of my masochistic side, but doesn’t help me get my tuna any faster and may actually make my eyes leak. Maybe.

Bonus features include an opener that states “I don’t like your fashion business, mister” with a whole load of banjo, fiddle, accordion, guitar and shaky stuff put together with that general good time revolutionary feel of good, honest folk music. ‘I Love Leonard Cohen’ is a nostalgia drenched pimp, name dropping Weezer, Jeff Buckley and Meatloaf with derision whilst giving eternal love to the titular songsmith, Big Co’. I can’t help thinking that between those four massive heavyweights of popular music I know who I’d pick, but it would only be after asking if you had any other CDs. How about MP3’s?  Alright, Meatloaf. But it better be ‘Bat Out of Hell’ and not that Bon Jovi ‘Beauty and the Beast’ comeback shit that festered in the charts like a performing corpse for like a Wet Wet Wet half-life in the Nineties. I’d rather just sit in silence. Luckily I don’t have to make that choice and can instead listen to Robin Grey, and I can’t help think it will be alright in the end.

And it is, with the final track, ‘Roses From Africa’ riffing on the whole Bill Hicks “it’s just a ride” theme I can’t help but just be thankful to be alive, but before it finishes I skip it back a track to ‘Ninety Days’. I did this once with Cat Stevens and now I can’t ever listen to ‘Wild World’ again without tearfully hiccupping shame and loss. ‘Ninety Days’ is my new ‘Wild World’. I guess that was meant as a compliment.

WHERE IS IT? Full album also streaming on Spotify.

call it folk’s ‘indie honors wall’


a kind gentleman from just outside of Philadelphia has just written some very nice things about my music on his blog ‘call it folk‘…

‘a brilliant singer-songwriter ready for a much larger audience’

i also have the honor of making it onto his indie honors wall which is causing quite a spike of traffic to my site it must be said!

you can read the full review here –