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The Blues is alive and well in Nashville (Video)

With the New Year already in full swing (pun intended), I find myself finally reviewing some of the submissions I received during the Holidays. Most of the CD's and DVD's I received were actually Christmas gifts, but I like to grace the giver with praise when I feel it's due.

Mark Robinson's New CD
Big Sister Productions

In the case of Mark Robinson's newest CD, "Have Axe - Will Groove", I was finally prompted to share a little of my take on it due to a recent press release from Big Sister Productions.

In the email I received from Sue Havlish, the 'Big Sister' who actually started the company, she says:

Robinson’s debut album Quit Your Job – Play Guitar ignited like the first blast of a fireworks display. DJs quickly embraced the disc and Blues, Blues Underground Network and BluesVan branded it one of 2010’s best. Blues Revue dubbed it “excellent”; DownBeat called Robinson a “focused, expressive guitarist”; Maverick said it was “top quality blues guitar”; and Blues Matters! called the album “almost brilliant.”

Now his follow-up Have Axe – Will Groove provides an even more colorful and explosive display of the Nashville-based guitarist and songwriter’s estimable skills. And while the title of Quit Your Job – Play Guitar was autobiographical, the songs on his new release are even more personal … and dirtier and funkier and grittier.

I couldn't agree more with the "dirtier and funkier" statement. I make no secret about my Chicago Blues roots, and this CD captures the very essence of my leanings.

When I first put the CD on in the background (the way I prefer to introduce new music to myself), as I tapped away on my keyboard in my office, there was a moment in the very first song that reminded me of Gregg Allman's early vocal style; a phrasing that caused me to turn up the player.

What followed was a Blues-music trip back to Sweet Home Chicago and my early days living on Wells Street, right after I graduated from High School. Many times during my listening to Mark's new CD, I found myself recalling the early Paul Butterfield Band records and how they captured the raw Blues Music of the city, but with the clarity of professional recording.

Other than these personal reactions, I offer no spoilers today. Simply put, I recommend this CD from the bottom of my Blues heart.

To learn more about Mark Robinson, and to hear tracks off the new CD, navigate your way to this page on the Big Sister website.

Be sure to circle March 2nd on your calendar, since Mark's band will be kicking off the release:

[NASHVILLE, TN - January 29, 2013] A guitar-driven, blues-roots, get-up-and-shake-it show is what Mark Robinson and the band will deliver Saturday, March 2, 7:00 pm, at The Building (1008-C Woodland St., East Nashville, $10 cover), to celebrate the release of his new CD, Have Axe - Will Groove (Blind Chihuahua Records). Robinson’s frequent musical collaborator and road-dog partner Davis Raines (whose songs have been recorded by Kenny Rogers, Pam Tillis, and Walt Wilkins) will open. Mando Blues Radio host Whit Hubner will serve as MC.

Stay tuned to my channel for more on my new collection of CD's from Nashville musicians.

--Ken Utterback is a long-time musician who writes a blog on MySpace as well as the occasional essay for other publications. You can email Ken at:

Note from Ken: Do you have a passion for writing? If the idea of writing for the Examiner appeals to you, please click here for more information.


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