Buena Vista is probably Robin & Linda Williams best album to date -- hard to say definitively since theyve performed and recorded for over three decades. Solid songwriters tending more toward the sentimental than the dark or heavy-but-meaningless, they reach new heights here in two tours de force: the title song and "Im Invisible Man." The former empathizes with a decent person struggling with hard times hes brought upon himself. The latter compellingly and sympathetically adopts the persona of a recent war veteran living in a cardboard box that says "This End Up."
They do a fine job on the Lefty Frizell classic "Thats the Way Love Goes," the only track not from their pen. "Pretty Polly Williams" begs a look at the credits, sounding so much like the traditional ballad by the same name sans theirs. The Williamses conscientiously seek and find interesting ways to say worthwhile things. Longtime Williams listeners will recognize their warm, engaged singing voices, their favorite country rhythms tending toward the hoppin but allowing some lilting, and their straightforward arrangements emphasizing guitar and bass.
Grammy winner Tim OBrien produced the album and loaned his towering instrumental talent to every song -- banjo, fiddle, guitar, bouzouki -- and some vocals. Dobro star Jerry Douglas shines on several tunes. Bassist Dennis Crouch and percussionist Kenny Malone are sound layers of the foundation. Recording and sound are good -- the total production values boost this disc above many other good Williams efforts. But its more than that. None of the songs falls flat, and all of the vocal harmonies work. Its just very much what singer-songwriter lovers love.
GO BACK TO: