Robin Miller – Debut Album – Beelines – Out Now
Robin Miller – Debut Album – Beelines //// Released 27th August 2021
“Contemporary roots at its finest” – Redhanded Magazine
“Hypnotically beautiful” – Bella Caledonia magazine
‘Beelines’, Robin Miller’s debut album, was recorded in Glasgow in a single afternoon with no overdubs.
Robin was born on South Uist and grew up in a remote part of the Hebridean island of Islay. “Half the island would go to the monthly auctions – these started off with livestock and finished off with second hand goods like old LP’s. When I had some money from stacking peat or chopping logs this was where I bought the records that opened my imagination. This is how I first heard Bert Jansch and Nick Drake.
Moving to Glasgow in his late teens, Robin busked at night (“I loved the sound of the guitar bouncing off the buildings and empty streets”) and played with folk bands eventually touring in France and Italy as a session player.
His eclectic fingerpicking style then became an integral part of Glasgow world music act Zuba and helped their 2005 album ‘Allez’ to achieve the JPF African Album of the Year award and be described by Bob Harris as ‘truly brilliant’.
After moving back to Argyll to work in elderly care, Robin returned to acoustic roots playing.
‘Beelines’ features thirteen tracks of deft melody-driven fingerpicking. It is a natural sound with little adornment and an effortless way in simultaneous melody and open-tuned chordal parts.
The tracks hint at the holy trinity of 60s British fingerstyle guitar (Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, John Renbourn), display a touch of Hebridean heritage and bring in influences from around the world.
The title track ‘Beelines’ references Robin’s father’s lifelong beekeeping passion. The Moorish ‘Jessie’s Kaftan’ started life in Glasgow and was completed after a trip to Morocco.
‘Rainer’, the next single from the album is a moving slide guitar tribute to the much missed Arizona musician Rainer Ptacek.
‘Tigh-na-Beart’ and ‘Birthe Marie Sails to Lunga’ reference the western isles – the metallic ‘Wyre Majestic’ is a musical sketch of the famous rusting shipwreck caught on the rocks between Islay and Jura.
“Although the album is instrumental I had fairly clear ideas about what I wanted each tune to say emotionally or in relation to the musicians who have inspired me. I hope that this can be wordlessly conveyed to anyone listening – hopefully the melodies and emotion come across more than the technique.
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