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About Nell Robinson Logo
Nell Robinson's Grandmothers Photo

Nell Robinson (left) & Thelma Bates (right)
Pickin' blueberries & shellin' peas with them are
some of the happiest memories that
linger in my heart.

NELL ROBINSON was my grandmother and when I decided to sing and perform, I wanted to honor her and feel a connection to my southern roots, so I sing under her name.

I named my band Nell Robinson & Red Level, and my debut album Nell Robinson in Loango, after small towns near my family's farm. My father had a long career in the Air Force, so we moved around a lot, and my southern kinfolk, the farm and other parts of Alabama felt more like home than anywhere else. My mother and my aunt and uncles attended school in Red Level. I have very fond memories of buying bottled Coke and boiled peanuts at the country store in Loango. My paternal grandmother was Thelma Bates and I have a dedication to her on Loango. When I think of these women (and my grandfathers too), the love and history I have been able to enjoy with my extended family -- I knew most of a slew of great-aunts and uncles -- I feel real lucky.

After 25 years of singing by myself in my car, I created Nell Robinson Music in 2007 to try some new music and house my ideas and dreams. Here is what I have been up to:

Nell Robinson Bluegrass and Country Music
Nell Robinson Bluegrass & Country Music - I have a band of local pickers called Nell Robinson & Red Level. A number of local musicians have come through that band in the past few years, and I have learned from and am grateful to each and all.

I released my first CD in the Fall of 2009, Nell Robinson in Loango, and am proud to be performing those songs and also new music with John Reischman and the Jaybirds. We have signed up with HearthMusic in Seattle, WA for booking. I truly loved the recording process, it's a master class in singing, because you get very close to every nuance of a song and the songs continue to unveil all they have to offer in melody and meaning. I've got lots of ideas for future CDs and ideas about folks to partner with, so keep your eyes peeled for the next one…

Take the Stage Logo
Take the Stage - a band performance workshop in partnership with the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse and the California Bluegrass Association. This is my way of giving back to the local music community. I was scared witless in my first band workshop, but with the support of the other participants in my band and the coaching from terrific musicians, I gained confidence and skills. It changed my life.

Henriettas Logo
The Henriettas - 1930s sisters' yodeling duo and revival of the DeZurik Sisters music. I became obsessed with the Dezurik Sisters in 2007 when I got my hands on a German compilation called "Flowers of the Wildwood." You can find out more about the Dezurik Sisters (aka the Cackle Sisters) here. It took me almost a year to slow down their song "I Left Her Standing There" and decode exactly what they were "saying" - clucking, yodeling etc. My friend Cary Sheldon joined me in this obsession and we have become incredibly fond of the sisters and their sweet and funny songs. Two of the Henrietta's songs are featured on my CD Nell Robinson in Loango.

Soldier Stories Logo
Soldier's Stories - benefit concerts for veterans’ health care programs.  A very small number of people are making an enormous sacrifice to fight and serve in wars that our government has committed to - while the rest of us can go about our days as if nothing is happening. These concerts are a small way of honoring service-members and veterans, bringing some attention and resources to their health care issues, and creating some community with people interested in reflecting on our history and relationship with war. My family has a long and complicated history with the military, war and service. Different family members fought on both sides of both the American Revolution and the Civil War and in just about every war since then. Some served as pacifists (as medics and chaplains), some were warriors.  My friend R. Parker Blackburn is taking documentary photos of veterans and their loved ones, which we hope will become a book accompanied by an album of music, with all proceeds going to veteran organizations.

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