Butte song purveyor Lord Albion, aka Steve Robinson, has put together a compilation of Renaissance Faire music, featuring traditional folk songs from the British Isles and Europe, tunes from the ‘50s folk music revival, and current sounds of Celtic bands.
Robinson belongs to the Society for Creative Anachronism, whose members strive to re-create pre-17th century Europe – hence the “SCA” in the album title. Robinson started collecting early songs for the organization and sings them at many Renaissance-themed gatherings.
There are two contemporary additions to boot. “The Legend of Knockgrafton” was written by Zoe Wood when she was with Dublin Gulch, and Rob Quist wrote “Honour Bound” after hearing Robinson speak about the Society.
Robinson possesses an aged, gravelly bass, just right for singing the music. He re-creates popular Irish ballads like “Black Velvet Band,” “Green Grow the Rushes O,” and an Irish drinking song, “Jug of Punch,” as a bard would, with just guitar and voice.
He tells us that he learned the Clancy Brothers’ “Brennan on the Moor” after hearing that western author Louis L’Amour called it the favorite song of every heroic cowboy. The Flathead Valley’s Dave Griffith picks some zesty mandolin on this one.
Another Flathead musician, Karin Hilding, plays a lovely refrain on the whistle on “The Gypsy Rover,” and adds recorder on “Wild Rippling Water.”
“Newry Highwayman,” an Irish folk song, was one Robinson heard the Irish-American band Solas perform at the An Rí Rá festival in Butte one year; in the song, the hero brags about robbing great lords and ladies.
Robinson sings a cappella with stentorian flair on an old traditional, “The Lighthouse,” a mournful tune about a man who feels lost at sea and pleads with God to get him home. It’s a moody and moving song.
Check him out on Facebook. Carry on, Lord Albion!
– Mariss McTucker