Robin Bullock
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Robin Bullock

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Bullock proves once again that his reputation as one of the best folk instrumentalists in the business is well-deserved. From the first notes of "Westlin Winds" to the last echoes of "Shenandoah," Bullock demonstrates, on these 12 tracks, his uncanny ability to combine precision, virtuosity and soul. Here he plays 6- and 12-string guitar, piano, mandolin and cittern - and it's all gorgeous.
- Sing Out! Magazine, Spring 2006


If you must buy only one holiday album of instrumental guitar music, let Robin Bullock's A Guitar for Christmas be the one. It is magnificent. First, know that the award-winning Bullock is a genuine guitar god among mortals, a man who must have at least 25 digits on each hand to accomplish his feats of magic. Second, this holiday album is superbly constructed in every respect--song selection, production values, just everything.

One note of caution: Bullock is excellent, but his sophisticated presentation here speaks in a gentle voice; if you seek one of those boisterous, hard-plucked treatments of holiday fare, then A Guitar for Christmas is just not the guitar for you.

Bullock's technical proficiency enough is astounding, and he pumps emotive warmth into every moment. His 16 tracks are broken into four separate segments (Introduction: Daybreak is the first track; Part One: Christmas Morning covers tracks 2-5; Part Two: Christmas Day covers tracks 6-11; and Part Three: Christmas Night covers tracks 12-16). The differences among the sections are subtle; in general, the morning pieces tend to be slower, filled with anticipation; the day section is more celebratory and has a faster tempo; then Christmas night is back to a slower, more reverential, tone and pace. The overall focus is on ancient carols and includes many of my personal favorites ("Carol of the Bells," "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming"). I especially enjoyed the "O Come O Come Emmanuel/Light of Love/Sussex Carol" medley, which is deeply textured and also happens to be the album's longest track.

Robin Bullock's A Guitar for Christmas effortlessly creates a warm afterglow, assuring the listener that it is very good to be alive in this world. Come bask in the glow.

--Carol Swanson

- Christmasreviews.com


Celtic guitar god. - Baltimore City Paper


Breathtaking...brilliant technique, always in service of the music. - Guitar Player


A musician whose technical skilla nd stylistic expertise are second to none...a time-served folkie of the highest calibre. - Classical Guitar (U.K.)


Although he's got technique to spare, what stands out isn't Bullock's virtuosity, it's the musicality he displays. - Washington Post


Discography

The Enchanted Woods

For his sixth solo recording, virtuoso multi-instrumentalist Robin Bullock takes a direct approach, casting his spell over the listener with introspective solo performances and stripped-down acoustic ensemble arrangements. The ageless music of the Celtic lands and Appalachia, together with some of Robin's most inspired compositions, create a world of enchantment indeed. Includes concert favorites "First Light in the Mountains," "Shenandoah," and Robin's thunderous mandolin tour-de-force "Bonaparte's Retreat."

A Guitar For Christmas

A six-string Yuletide celebration: magnificent
solo guitar settings of carols and hymns spanning over
600 years. The CD follows the rhythm of that most
magical of days, from the glory of Christmas morning
to the last log on the fire on Christmas night.
Includes such favorites as "What Child is This," "Deck
the Halls," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and Robin's
show stopping solo guitar rendition of "Carol of the
Bells."

"Robin Bullock's A Guitar for Christmas is beautiful
all the way around...the arrangements and medleys, his great playing, and the concept of the sequence from
daybreak to night." George Winston

The Irish Girl

The debut recording of the transatlantic Irish duo of American multi-instrumentalist Robin Bullock and Parisian flute and whistle player Michel Sikiotakis, France's first All-Ireland whistle champion (whose virtuoso flight on "The Whistling Postman" must be heard to be believed). Pure drop Irish airs, jigs, reels and hornpipes lovingly rendered by two masters of the craft.

"Four stars - Highly recommended" - All Music Guide

Celtic Guitar Summit

Robin teams up with California fingerstylist Steve Baughman, "one of the best Celtic fingerstylists in the country" (Dirty Linen Magazine), for treasures from the Irish, Welsh and Breton musical traditions, as well as five compositions of Ireland's legendary harper Turlough O'Carolan, all brought to life by the rich and soulful sound of two acoustic guitars.

NAMED ONE OF THE TOP TEN CDS OF 2003 BY ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAGAZINE!

"Sheds new light on O'Carolan's enchanting melodies and on the long history of Celtic music they inspired...Though Baughman and Bullock obviously arranged the precise harmonies on these instrumental pieces, their playing is so relaxed that you don't even notice the work that went into them." The Washington Post

"A treat deserving of an encore...or three or five. WARNING: guaranteed to lower your blood pressure. Other side effects may include uncontrollable smiling or blissful humming." Dirty Linen

A Midnight Clear

An acoustic instrumental celebration of Christmas and the winter season, shared with Robin's fellow INDIE Award winners Al Petteway and Amy White. Celtic, traditional and original offerings on guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, piano, Celtic harp and more.

"Gifted acoustic guitarists...The spry tunes are given a sharp focus by the virtuoso picking and jaunty rhythms" - The Washington Post

"Simply put, the loveliest guitar album I have heard...a musical statement so strong that it will set a new standard for others to follow." Art Edelstein, author of "Fair Melodies: Turlough Carolan, An Irish Harper"

A Holiday Sampler

A limited-edition, specially priced shorter version of "A Midnight Clear."

The Lightning Field

The Lightning Field, the fourth solo CD from multi-instrumentalist Robin Bullock, is a uniquely beautiful Celtic-American journey. Traditional airs and dance tunes of Ireland, Scotland and America combine with Robin's visionary, tradition-inspired original compositions for an unparalleled listening experience. Riverdance star fiddler Liz Knowles adds
her fiery fiddling to Robin's magic on guitars, cittern, mandolin, piano and bass guitar.

"Celtic flatpicking hero...in a spectacular display of virtuosity and musicianship." - Folk Roots

Travellers

A trio CD with mandolin greats Butch Baldassari and John Reischman, ranging from old-time, bluegrass and Celtic dance tunes to Latin and swing. A brilliant display of string virtuosity, with an unmistakable sense of fun.

"A truly exceptional record...mandolin-based ensemble playing at its best, filled with grace and charm and warmth and insight. I can't think of an instrumental CD I've enjoyed more recently." - Bluegrass Unlimited

Between Earth & Sky

Winner of the 1998 Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE Award for Folk/Traditional Recording of the Year, this masterful CD blends melodies from Ireland, Scotland and Brittany with Robin's powerful and haunting original compositions. Guest artists include All-Ireland champions Joanie Madden and John Whelan, dobro legend Mike Auldridge, Bruce Hornsby reedman Bobby Read and West African percussionist Laryea Addy.

"A breathtaking collection...extraordinary command of timbre and dynamics...a remarkable work from a deep player." - Guitar Player

"Pure beauty." - Inside Borders

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Robin is a prolific composer and multi-instrumentalist, whose virtuosity on guitar, cittern and mandolin blends the ancient melodies of the Celtic lands and their vigorous Appalachian descendants into one powerful musical vision. The 17th-century harp tunes of legendary Irish bard Turlough O'Carolan, the spirited jigs and reels of rural Ireland, the haunting ballads of the southern Appalachians and evocative original compositions all find a musical common ground in Robin's music, where lightning-fast fingerwork one moment is perfectly balanced with tender, quiet intimacy the next. A warm, friendly presence onstage, Robin effortlessly creates a magical world for the audience with his multi-instrumental wizardry, taking them on a journey to the heart and soul of Celtic and American traditions.

Originally rising to prominence as a founding member of the innovative acoustic world-music trio Helicon (winners of the Association for Independent Music's prestigious INDIE Award for Best Seasonal Recording), Robin's solo career has won him three Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE Awards, a Governor's Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a feature broadcast on National Public Radio's hugely popular Celtic music program "The Thistle and Shamrock." His recorded work includes six critically acclaimed solo CDs and numerous collaborations, the most recent of which, Celtic Guitar Summit with California fingerstylist Steve Baughman, was honored by Acoustic Guitar Magazine with an "Editor's Pick" as one of the top CDs of 2003.

Born in 1964 in Washington DC, a major focal point for both bluegrass and Irish music, Robin began playing guitar at age seven, initially inspired by Doc and Merle Watson, Norman Blake and John Fahey. Robin's apprenticeship years were spent at fiddlers' conventions, bluegrass festivals and Irish seisuns, mastering the subtleties of a half-dozen instruments in both American and Celtic styles. Today, Robin is recognized as one of the few musicians who can so successfully blend the ancient airs and dance tunes of the Celtic lands with the roots music traditions of the "New World."

In 2000, Robin relocated to France, and now lives in the tiny village of Tripleval, on the Seine river northwest of Paris. He continues to tour and record on both sides of the Atlantic, performing solo and in duos with guitarist Steve Baughman and flute player Michel Sikiotakis, and with Al Petteway and Amy White.

"Dazzling spirit...what he offers is not just virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity, but also the sensibility of one on a quest between past and present, traditional and modern." - Trad Magazine (France)