For over three decades, Robin & Linda Williams have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, "a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism." Today some might call it "Americana," but these two revered music masters were living and breathing this elixir 20 years before that label was turned into a radio format. As live performers they are second to none. Their stirring concerts have earned them a huge body of fans over the years. But as gifted songwriters, Robin and Linda have earned an even more rare honor—the devotion and deep respect of their musical peers. The list of artists who have covered their original songs include some of the greats of country music, names like Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, Tim & Mollie O'Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea and Mary Black. It is no wonder that their writing has garnered rave reviews from the likes of Billboard, USA Today, CMT and The Washington Post.
Home for Robin and Linda is an old frame house built around a log cabin in Middlebrook, Virginia, right in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Linda is a native of Anniston, Alabama and Robin (the son of a Presbyterian minister) was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. They met and fell for each other in 1971 on a visit to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina while Linda was teaching school and Robin was a full-time musician on a national coffeehouse circuit. It wasn't long before they discovered additional magic when they combined their voices in harmony.
Despite being true children of the South, their career got its initial momentum in the Minneapolis folk scene. Robin had made many friends and connections there as a solo artist and in 1975 they recorded their first album in Minneapolis for a local record company. The same year they made their first appearance on a radio show just getting off the ground called A Prairie Home Companion and began their rich relationship with that icon of American broadcasting. The show’s creator and host Garrison Keillor remembers that Robin & Linda sang on the show just a few months after it started. “They have been on regularly every year since, so they really are representative of the heart, the core and soul of our show.”
Over the next 15 years they recorded several fine albums and continued to crisscross the country, past miles and miles of highway signs, thrilling audiences with their songs and harmonies. Folk and country fans alike loved their honest heartfelt music. In 1989 a major breakthrough came with their signing to Sugar Hill Records, with whom they would go on to record nine albums. It would be a fruitful relationship and, amazingly, each succeeding recording (beginning with 1989's All Broken Hearts Are the Same) would top the previous one in artistry and quality. Around the same time, they began to tour with a band called Their Fine Group, and their already big sound grew all the more. 1993 saw increased exposure through a major tour with Mary Chapin Carpenter and the now large national audience of A Prairie Home Companion. With their career then at its 20-year mark, Robin and Linda entered into a prolific period of artistic productivity. Within six years they released several CD’s, including a gospel album, which garnered two nominations for Gospel Album of the Year.
In 2004, Robin & Linda were signed to Red House Records, returning to their Minnesota roots. They have released six albums with the Grammy-winning label, including Deeper Waters (2004), The First Christmas Gift (2005), Radio Songs (2007), Buena Vista (2008), and Stonewall Country (2011) based on a musical about the life and times of Civil War General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Their new album These Old Dark Hills was recorded in Nashville and was produced by Jim Rooney (Nanci Griffith, Townes Van Zandt, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine).
Robin & Linda have made appearances on such major programs as The Grand Ole Opry, Austin City Limits, Music City Tonight, Mountain Stage, and they continue to make frequent appearances on A Prairie Home Companion. They were also prominently featured in the motion picture written by Garrison Keillor and directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Robert Altman. The movie is a fictional story based on the set of A Prairie Home Companion and stars such notable actors as Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, Kevin Kline and Lindsay Lohan.
Robin & Linda tour constantly with Their Fine Group. Band members include Jim Watson on bass and vocals and Chris Brashear on mandolin and fiddle. Jim was a member of the Red Clay Ramblers and played with them for 14 years. Chris is a highly skilled instrumentalist and singer who is known for his work with the bluegrass band Perfect Strangers and for his duet work with Peter McLaughlin.