Black Guy Fawkes
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Black Guy Fawkes

Cumberland, Maryland, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Cumberland, Maryland, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Alternative Folk




"Rock Revolt"

Black Guy Fawkes’ album “Trying Times” really challenges you as a person and a music lover.
Not only is Robinson a great lyricist who combines punk ideals with folk sound, but he really takes you into his life and shows you his perspective on the trying times he’s endured.

The album wasn’t what I was expecting. Going into my first listen only knowing the title of the album, I figured that the album would be a progression from the bad times to the good. That type of album has been done many times, but Robinson completely throws you off course by tackling racial, political and personal issues while also analyzing mortality.

I had to listen to every song at least a handful of times because each one is a very different story, with each topic being as emotional as the next.

The album is less of a progression and more of a collection. Each song tells a story and all of them connect through a family tree of emotions that is rooted in darkness, but the branches lead in many directions.

The album opens with the song the album is named after, “Trying Times.” This song draws the audience into a synchronized mental place: it’s what people going through trouble would raise their glasses to.

“OH! Let’s raise a glass! Here’s to our past (crowd repeats)/ We may not stop this world from burning (crowd repeats)/ But we can sit and watch these days go down in flames/ These trying times won’t last.”

While mimicking the build of a drinking tune, the track unifies the listeners in a place that can only be summed up as “fuck it.”

We all start to see that while everything may seem bad now, it will get better. Which is funny, because the album progresses from this mood into much darker tones.

I find the positive start to the album very interesting. However, I think it was actually a smart move. This is the disclaimer before the rest of the album. It tells the audience, “Hey, life is hard. The world is hard. But, it’s hills and valleys: and we are all going to be ok. Now, let’s talk about it.”

Track two of the album is by far the strongest on “Trying Times.” “Whatever Happened to Jim Crow” reveals Robinson’s frustration with his racial identity.

“I’ve always either been too black for the white kids or too white for the black kids and never found my place even though I’m just trying to be one thing…. Myself,” Robinson explains to his Facebook followers.

The musician gets into America’s racist past, and correlates it with current problems. He explores the long road from the past to now and how it affects his life today.

He explains how it’s impossible to win. If he fits the stereotype, he loses. If he doesn’t, he still loses. How he speaks, how he dresses, it always seems to be criticized. He says that there isn’t a happy medium, that society only seems to understand the extremes.

As someone who has never been in these shoes, the song gave me a glimpse into the pressures and expectations that come along with being African American.

I was moved by how he connected the past of this country lyrically and politically into his life. In the end, he is just going to be himself, and that’s something everyone strives to achieve.

Switching gears, meet the third song of the album: “The Ghost of Stacey Warner.” This song is what I imagine My Chemical Romance’s sound would morph into if it was sung around a campfire— and I love it.

Robinson explained in a Facebook post that the song was inspired by his fascination of mortality and the death of one of his friends. The death of his friend plagued his inner social circle with the question of where we all go in death. His experience can be felt to the bone by the haunting, yet folksy sound of the track.

Continuing to ponder morality, Robinson takes us to the struggles of addiction in track four. “Fix” has an angrier, more commanding sound. The song takes you on a journey in the mindset of the addict and allows the listener to slip with the addict. You can physically feel the downward spiral and the anger, sadness and helplessness that comes with addiction.

This song actually really messed with me. Being an active member in the music community and a youth in this country, I’ve seen many people I know fall to addiction. It’s so incredibly painful to watch the spiral and how incredibly quickly it gets out of hand.

One verse in particular really stuck with me:

“This lonesome low/ Never felt so high/ My body’s testifies/ Just let me be/ Let me seal my fate/ My self help is true self hate/ So long hero/ I’m ground zero/ Happiness, could you care less?”

Addict or not, to some degree, we have all been here: we’ve all reached that point where we feel like there is nowhere else to go. This verse connects the listener to someone who struggles with addiction, which is so vital for true understanding.

Understanding is the only way to connect, raise voices, and cause change. Change is what this track calls for, and the fact that Robinson successfully bridges that understanding is outstanding.

Anniversary Song, AKA track five, is the weakest of the album. The track was the first written song on the album after Robinson made the decision to drop the album in progress “The Pen and the Pessimist” to peruse the folkier sound showcased in “Trying Times.”

The song is a tale of heartbreak, and I was surprised to find this song on the album. While heartbreak is completely one of the lowest lows that humans can feel, I just found the track to be a more common song than the rest of the album. It’s repetitive, not as lyrical and doesn’t have the same feel as the rest of the album.

However, I can see this as alluding to the “break-up” with the previous project. Robinson explained that he had fallen out of love with the type of music he was writing before, which is why he didn’t continue “The Pen and the Pessimist.”

This track begins the journey of “Trying Times,” and shows the mental and musical change needed to create this new body of work. And for that, I appreciate the addition of the song.

The album picks momentum back up with track six: “Jaded is the New Joy.” This song takes you away from politics and social issues for five minutes and lets you travel from Robinson’s brain to the deepest corners of his heart.

Track six slows things down and shows a new side of Robinson. This shows self doubt, fear and the attempt to try to overcome it.

Robinson lets you into what feels like home and what feels like a facade. The lack of support shown, the fear of not making it in music and in life, the fear of the inability to find happiness is incredibly real in this track.

Like in “fix,” the listener and artist are connected in their darkest times. We all know what it feels like to be at what seems to be the lowest longitude known to man.

Here, you are free to wander to that memory with Robinson and to feel not alone in the dark parts of your timeline.

Song number seven was written when Donald Trump was elected into office. Robinson expresses his fear, anger, and uncertainty with the latest political change in “Less Song, More War.” He expresses the need for minorities to use their voices and to not let the new president and his choices bully them into the seemingly broken system.

Robinson says that he has more hope for the future now than then because of the power these people bring. He believes that the minorities and oppressed will bring change. “I believe in all of us. It’s an uphill battle but if we put in a lot of work, stay active, educate and not belittle, we can change things.”

After the absolute emotional roller coaster, we reach the final and first released track, “Cloud Nine Kid.” Robinson picks the tempo back up and asks if there is more to life than picking up the pieces of the past. He vocalizes that you can’t change the past, and that you need to wash your hands of the past and proceed.

I love that Robinson chooses to begin and end the album with faster tempos and hopeful sights set for the future on earth and whatever waits after. The album takes very political and punk ideals and sets them to folk, and it’s successful.

Struggle is a part of life, and this album talks about many that people will or have faced. I love the fact that the album has uplifting parts, but that it allows the listener to process their grief and his grief about the pain in life.

It’s powerful yet quiet. The album has heavier parts, no doubt, but it’s not in your face. You have to break it apart, and let it sink into you. I love the power in more subtle work, and unfortunately in many mediums of art, the softer pieces get lost in the screaming. I hope that the readers of this article and listeners of this album now have the knowledge and will to sit down and let this record take you places. Let this album allow you to be the passenger in Robinson’s thought train, and enjoy the ride.


Recorded at South Branch Recording Studios
Produced By Derek Shank
Mastered by Kenny Tompkins
All Songs Written and Recorded Black Guy Fawkes
Ian Robinson – Acoustic Guitar, Bass and Vocals
Corey Mackereth – Lead Guitar
Jeff Davis – Drums and extra vocals
Additional vocals/instruments – Renee Barbe, Hayden Kline, Derek Shank, Marissa Turner and Rhett Wolford



YOUTUBE: - Devon Keller


Trying Times - 2018


Recorded at South Branch Recording Studios 
Produced By Derek Shank 
Mastered by Kenny Tompkins 
All Songs Written and Recorded Black Guy Fawkes 
Ian Robinson – Acoustic Guitar, Bass and Vocals 
Corey Mackereth – Lead Guitar 
Jeff Davis – Drums and extra vocals 
Additional vocals/instruments – Renee Barbe, Hayden Kline, Derek Shank, Marissa Turner and Rhett Wolford 

Campfire Chords - EP (2019)

All Songs Written By Black Guy Fawkes

Produced By Black Guy Fawkes and Derek Shank

Mastered by Kenny Tompkins



Black Guy Fawkes is a Folk Singer-Songwriter born and raised in Baltimore, MD. Currently resides in Cumberland MD. Growing up in the DIY music scene, he is now taking his music on the road for all to experience. Drawing influence from artists such as Against Me!, Frank Turner, Green Day and Bob Dylan, Black Guy Fawkes creates a sound that is heartfelt Folk yet energetic and punk driven.​"Not only is Robinson a great lyricist who combines punk ideals with folk sound, but he really takes you into his life and shows you his perspective on the trying times he’s endured." - Devon Keller “Rock Revolt Magazine”​Black Guy Fawkes currently has his Full Length Album "Trying Times" available everywhere. Recorded by Derek Shank, Produced by Kenny Tompkins, and recorded with his backing band members Jeff Davis (Drums) and Corey Makereth (Guitar).

Band Members