Strumming Janet Robin’s guitar-shaped heartstring is crafty finger work from the hand of excitement, as this week marks the start of her tour to promote the United States digital release of her album “Everything Has Changed,” which became available Tuesday on iTunes and several other digital outlets.
The singer-songwriter will debut at Cooldog Concert Series Saturday, sharing the bill with Americana band Runaway Train, of central Delaware.
Despite debuting her first solo project in 1998 with “Open the Door,” Robin continues to show she’s a monster on guitar in “Everything Has Changed."
This time around she really wanted to highlight her magic fingers, so she performed “all the guitar playing, solos and all the leads,” said Robin, of Los Angeles, Calif.
“I just wanted to make sure that vibe was captured,” she said. “I think the thread that runs through the entire record is, of course me, but, my guitar playing. I’ve been more of a guitarist and a singer, than a singer-guitarist. And maybe you’d say that about Hendrix, too. I wanted to feature my playing on this record.”
“Everything Has Changed” — first released in Europe in 2010 by German-based record label Hypertension Music, and now available in the U.S. as a digital album only, since Robin and her team “didn’t like the offers” distribution companies made to push the project, resulting in her deciding to release it via digital outlets — is grounded in Americana, rock and it also displays a “little bluesy” sound, she said.
The album was recorded in Nashville, Tenn., by respected producer John Carter Cash, son of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Johnny Cash.
“That was a very special scenario,” Robin said of working with Cash. “I’ve never really done anything like that. I’ve never recorded outside of Los Angeles. I certainly worked with other producers, but nobody really of that caliber or background.”
Working with Cash was a hand-in-glove fit since the dynamic duo share a similar musical background.
“John comes from his mom and dad’s background, but he really grew up listening to Iron Maiden,” Robin said. “I grew up listening to that, too. I kind of have a hard rock background, so I just knew it was going to be a perfect match.”
The pair cranked out 10 songs for the album, including a “sexed up” cover of legendary singer-songwriter Roy Orbison’s rock classic “Dream Baby,” in which Robin spices up the tune using a wah pedal. Another premier track on the album is the Latin-sounding “Everybody Falls in Love in Prague,” offering a prime example of her “crazy finger work.”
Page 2 of 2 - Ain’t no party like a house party
With several house concerts on her tour schedule, Robin says playing at those venues have become knights in shinning armor to artists like her who aren’t signed to major labels.
“It’s people like Paul [Gumerman, host of Cooldog] and many other house concert-hosts, to me they are the saviors of the touring music business,” Robin said. “Although I do like playing with a band, it gives me that up-close, intimate relationship with new fans and people who’ve never seen me before. And there’s no distractions. They know exactly why they're there. They sit and have to watch the show. And I think they get that real music vibe right in front of them, and you get to mingle with them.”