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SIMON ROBINSON - When The Sun Goes In 

SIMON ROBINSON - When The Sun Goes In 
Private Label 

Simon is a Leeds-based musician and teacher who, according to his Bandcamp page, “plays folk music from England and America on banjo and guitar”. But on the evidence of this, his second album release, he deserves a more fulsome profile. For IMHO the bare description, while undeniably correct in a purely literal sense, somewhat undersells his appeal and talent.

When The Sun Goes In delivers a dozen tracks recorded during lockdown between March and August 2020: 10 songs (and two tunes) that have given Simon himself much comfort during this difficult time. It’s a simple, no-frills home recording of excellent quality, with no pretensions and no attention-grabbing gimmicks, and Simon’s performances communicate with an unpretentious immediacy and restraint that’s very refreshing. The material neatly mixes the obscure and the better-known, and is largely drawn from old-time and early American folk sources, and Simon carefully credits and lovingly details these (along with the lyrics) in the accompanying booklet. The songs derive from approved American old-timers (Lomax, Warner, Hazel Dickens and sundry Appalachian singers and players), and Simon’s background notes clearly demonstrate his empathy for, and deeper appreciation and knowledge of, this music.

To his credit, Simon doesn’t affect any artificial accent in his singing, but he convinces in his plainer responsiveness to the texts. His playing is assured, his technique solid without needing to over-embellish, and he has a firm grasp of the principles of effective self-accompaniment.

An admirably heartfelt, if understated, collection where the chosen songs succeed in communicating their simple messages. The sun may have gone in, but the bright smile still haunts the listener.

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 137 of The Living Tradition magazine