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 –

unpeeled review of golden hour book and cd

golden hour

“my new favourite song contained within is ‘Women’ by Robin Grey, mainly because he sums up most hip-hop songs that have been made in two sharply written verses beautiful in their simplicity and wit”

Taken from a recent review of the golden hour book on – you can buy the book and cd from – an excellent xmas present for sure – it has been keeping me up at night thanks to some truly great poems and stories within.

Full review….

THE GOLDEN HOUR “Book ii” (Forest Publications)

Well, the book is kind of quiet unless you read it out loud, but the CD sounds like that tent you find in the middle of the madness of one of the larger festivals. You know the tent, the one where you have no idea who any of the people on the stage are, but you find yourself staying there all day just to see who’s on next. The next day you have no idea where that tent is, and don’t want to in case it ruins the magic of the previous day. That’s how it sounds, only on a CD and the names of the people are written in the book attached so you can google them all.

The Golden Hour is a monthly cabaret night held at The Forest Cafe in Edinburgh which gives space for writers and musicians to mingle and meet and perform to the world. This book and CD is a record of some of the contributors, their poems, stories and songs. I went to The Forest Cafe when I last went to the Fringe and it ended up being the place I hung the most as it seemed to be one of the only places I could shelter from the self congratulating ego wanking that was going on around me, everyone faking smiles that were showing cracks at the edges. I’m not surprised this book and CD is a product of this bastion of warm reality.

The CD is full of the type of music you expect to hear coming from a small stage, not overly produced and made with instruments that can be easily carried. The sounds and songs that emerge from your speakers are all well crafted and played with obvious passion and hunger, with each track being stamped with an individual personality. With over 20 contributors, including the likes of Billy Liar, Withered hand, Skeleton Bob, Johnny Berliner, Chandra and The Black Diamond Express amongst others( A massive embarrassment of treasures) you may find something you don’t like ( I personally find the Tuberians contribution, ‘Tuberians Have landed’ makes me want to donate my ears to a vivisection lab), but I can almost guarantee that your new favourite song is contained within, waiting to be discovered (with me it is ‘Women’ by Robin Grey, mainly because he sums up most Hip-Hop songs that have been made in two sharply written verses beautiful in their simplicity and wit).

Now I have to say that reviewing the book was a task I did not relish. Normally I can do the dishes, or beat off, or sew up the holes in my socks, or get on with any of the other small tasks that fill up my day from waking to unconsciousness whilst listening to the music I’m reviewing, but a book is different. A book is something that requires your complete attention, often silence and an open fire, or a bowel movement. And reading a book that is awful because you have to would be excruciating, but while reading the first story in this compilation, ’When We Were Broke’ by Erika Duffy, all of my fears and worries melted away, in fact everything melted away. It is possibly one of the most beautiful and true stories I have ever read. It’s been a long time since a story has made me choke up. Suffice to say I read on with a relish. Other highlights, which are hard to pick out from a book made up of highlights, include ‘The Birds, Like’ by Phil Harrison, a wickedly captivating tale of told from the point of view of a frustrated bully, and the poem ‘Lunch’ by Aiko Harman, if only because it mentions peanut butter, which in my world is a condiment. Other contributors include Claire Askew, Spencer Thompson, Alan Gillis and Russell Jones, again there are many more for you to discover and enjoy. All in all this collection is a superb little package that you will return to over and over, highly recommended.