fensepost review

I just got home from the streets of London to discover a truly lovely review from a US blog called fensepost which I have printed in full below as it made my day…

‘Here is an artist that seems to revel in acoustic sweetness. London’s Robin Grey invites you into his coffee shop friendly world on his latest release. “I Love Leonard Cohen” is a five-track EP so splendid Mr. Cohen himself should be more than honored to have such a talented fan. Anyone looking for a fun-filled depressive state, look no further.

Grey reminisces of greater times on the title track “I Love Leonard Cohen”. This is a masterful folk bit paying a strange tribute to anyone with a regretful memory, as well as simple odes to Meat Loaf, Jeff Buckley, R.E.M., and, more so than others, outplayed Weezer CDs. The blindingly smooth “Shakes and Shudders” is a beautiful backdrop while reading Kerouac’s tale of strength defying times at Desolation Peak – calm, beautiful, and a bit resentful of the pretentious normalcy.

Robin Grey will not need to do too much to prove himself an incendiary artist in the world of folk music. His calmly exquisite mannerisms seem to bring you back to a simpler time and place, whenever you want it to be. There is literature in his words. And “I Love Leonard Cohen” is a beautiful story, desperate to be told.’

taken from http://www.fensepost.com/main/?p=1439

golden brown

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Last month I spent another day recording with the wonderful Dean Firth but this time I brought some friends along.

My favourite take of the day was this cover of ‘Golden Brown’ by The Stranglers which I have uploaded for your listening pleasure here – https://www.robingrey.com/mp3/goldenbrown.mp3

iain macleod and christian lewcock

I am hoping to do much more live recording work like this. Capturing a live performance with an ensemble is such a different experience to over dubbing instruments in my little studio!

Christian Lewcock – Percussion and Backing Vocals

Iain Macleod – Banjo and Backing Vocals

Barbara Bartz – Violin

Dean Firth – Electric Bass

these songs were begun one winter

After following some intriguing big arrows from Broadway Market in London Fields I randomly came across an awesome art exhibition back in December called ‘These Songs Were Begun One Winter’ which featured the work of a very talented lady called Caitlin Hinshelwood and some of her equally talented friends.

The exhibition was inspired by a poem of the same name by Brian Patten and has in turn inspired a song which I have just recorded also of the same name.

The poem can be found in Brian Patten’s Collected Love Poems (published by Harper Perennial). Here is the link to buy it from Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Collected-Love-Poems-Brian-Patten/

Caitlin will hopefully be doing some illustrations for modifythevan’s website and perhaps even some artwork for me in the future. Happy days. You can see more of her work at

http://www.caitlinhinshelwood.co.uk and http://whenthisyousee.blogspot.com/

Lyrics

This song was begun underneath the thumb
Of one who’s thickened by the cold
Listless, longer, bolder than perhaps he ought to be
Forgive quiet and then lie down here lengthways on the floor
Hoping that the blood with flow again

Easily forgot, what was lifted first felt
An anchor to the blood
Howling at the moon as the stars are falling fast
Leaves Wind Earth and Rain
We look forward to look back

These songs were begun one winter
On a window thick with frost her finger drew
A map of all possibilities

the waiting room

I had the hillarious honour of being nominated for ‘Best Cover Version Of The Year’ award on The Waiting Room’s excellent podcast for my version of ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’ by Kirsty MacColl.

I didn’t win but hey, my first nomination for anything since a certain school debating competition when I was fifteen…

If you haven’t discovered this gem yet do go have a listen at http://www.twrhq.com/ and check out the christmas awards special.

interview with tart

Just before christmas I did an interview with Tarty Tart for her lovely blog.

The original can be found here (http://www.euphonioushabitus.net/) but I thought i might post the interview in its entirety as she asked some really good questions…

Tart: The most obvious question: have you got to meet your hero, Leonard Cohen!?

Robin: Nope, not yet – I must confess I left The Glastonbury Festival before he went on stage this summer, wanting to get home before the end of festival crush so I haven’t even got to see him play live…

This may be a good thing as my expectations tend to run a little on the high side – anything other than a profoundly life changing experience would have likely been a bit of a let down for me 🙂

I have read a fair number of interviews and books, as well as spending quality time with his music and poetry, so we are fairly well acquainted nowadays without having met.

Tart: Some of the songs, especially on your LP, Only The Missile, deal with lost love. Is heartache a kinder muse than happiness for you? And how so? “These Days” comes to mind for me on this theme, as does “Every Waking Hour,” of course but also “Shakes and Shudders.”

Robin: Heartache used to be my most steady muse but she has been a less frequent visitor of late and other muses have been dropping by in her place. It has been a great relief for me to have a wider pool of inspiration as I was getting a little tired of singing solely about unrequited and lost love.

I am happy to say that my next record looks likely to touch on life, politics, global warming, permaculture gardening, transience, Leonard Cohen, nostalgia and family amongst other themes.

Tart: I love your voice as it’s sounding lower on the EP, I Love Leonard Cohen, you seem to be taking it down to the lower register more than on the LP, is that intentional? For me, it’s the vocals that catch me, then I start to hear the words and after that the musical arrangement. Somehow the EP sounds more personal, more heartfelt and well… “you.” What do you think of my analysis? How do you prefer to sing? Do you write for your voice or for the guitar?

Robin: I am still taking my first few fledgling steps both in discovering my voice and also in learning how to sing my songs. This has been far and away the biggest learning curve and challenge in the last two years. I am slowly growing in confidence with my singing which is allowing me to capture performances that are more real – I think you are close to the mark in your analysis and I thank you for recognizing that.

I have not found a preferred way to sing yet and enjoy a varied approach to writing. There are many songs I am still working out how to perform and I joust with them regularly; indeed a couple of my best tunes have yet to yield and I don’t feel I will be ready to sing them for a good while yet. I like that they are watching me from the wings waiting for the right moment to take the stage.

Tart: Why release an EP so soon after the LP (was the EP a kind of “clearing of the air” as I suspect?) and just how many songs do you have up your sleeve, man!? 🙂

Robin: My song ‘I Love Leonard Cohen’ was far too impatient to wait for another album to come along so took it upon itself to gather up a few other songs and release an EP. I really had very little to do with it but was grateful for the excuse to have another launch party.

I am approaching forty songs that have got past the cutting room floor and my pen is still being kind enough to provide more candidates with reasonable regularity.

Tart: I’m so curious about your choice of releasing your music on a creative commons license. Tell me why you chose that avenue and how Jamendo is working out for you?

Robin: I was inspired by Ruth Theodore’s use of the creative commons license on her amazing debut album ‘Worm Food’ which I had the privilege to work on.

I feel it absurd to criminalize anyone who wants to share my music; creative commons has provided an inspiring legal framework for solidifying this intuition.

The creative commons website Jamendo has exposed a huge number of people to my music who otherwise wouldn’t have heard it and that can only be a good thing.

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Mr. Grey, I can assure you, is full up of good things! Sometimes with a simple guitar backing, others with glorious harmonizing vocals and harmonica, his songs are pure folk and excellent storytelling. There’s a sense of humor, a sense of heartache, a sense of longing in them.

It’s great music to sit and listen to intently the first time and then to have on throughout the day from that point on. I hope you find his music as much of a comfort and a joy as I have. It’s the perfect antidote to those post-holiday blues, just snuggle up with your favorite blankie, or better yet, your favorite lover and have a good listen to these gorgeous tunes from quite a talented chap.

You can also donate a few extra dollars to him on Jamendo’s site in lieu of a purchase price for his album. Surely you have a little something left over, darlings xoxoxo