In the Company of Strangers

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kerry Dexter
Robin and Linda Williams, known internationally from their regular stint on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion," explore rural American music with strong harmonies and plucky playing. From the last thoughts of the honky-tonk musician on "Bar Band in Hillbilly Heaven" to the bittersweet good night of "So Long, See You Tomorrow," the husband-and-wife duo offer a dozen tunes that look straight up at life's realities. In a just a few words, the opening lines of "This Is the Real Thing" distill the essence of grief and chances lost. Likewise, "The Hard Country" paints a vivid portrait of searching and reflection. But not everything's grim. "The Perfect Country ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kerry Dexter
Robin and Linda Williams, known internationally from their regular stint on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion," explore rural American music with strong harmonies and plucky playing. From the last thoughts of the honky-tonk musician on "Bar Band in Hillbilly Heaven" to the bittersweet good night of "So Long, See You Tomorrow," the husband-and-wife duo offer a dozen tunes that look straight up at life's realities. In a just a few words, the opening lines of "This Is the Real Thing" distill the essence of grief and chances lost. Likewise, "The Hard Country" paints a vivid portrait of searching and reflection. But not everything's grim. "The Perfect Country Song" takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to all that genre's more overworked themes, while "Allow It" offers a hysterical view of a relationship's vagaries. Inspired by tradition but not bound by it, Robin and Linda Williams always give their melodies room to breathe and their characters room to hope. Mary Chapin Carpenter chose them as her opening act for a recent tour, and she guests on this disc, along with acoustic music standouts John Jennings, Tim O'Brien, and Stuart Duncan.
All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
Whenever they perform on A Prairie Home Companion, this husband-and-wife team is always the best element on the program -- with their powerful, sinewy voices both grew up on gospel music and instrumental chops she's a great clawhammer banjo player, he's a very fine guitarist they take every song they perform firmly by the throat and squeeze every drop of emotion from it, and they always do so in a way that manages to direct your attention to the song itself, rather than to their performance of it. They have a vocal blend as perfect in its way as that of the Stanley Brothers; when Linda's singing lead and Robin's belting out a low harmony it will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. But somehow their albums are often a disappointment. It's tempting to blame it on the studio environment or some other metaphysical factor, but the painful fact may simply be that the songs they write aren't as good as the ones they often sing onstage, which are likely to be old gospel or other traditional material. Lyrically, this stuff is all great; there just aren't many memorable tunes. It's telling that on In the Company of Strangers the only really memorable original song is the title track which is outstanding and the best song of the program is a Hank Williams number. Their version of "Cold, Cold Heart" rivals Williams', frankly. If only they could write like he did.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/25/2000
  • Label: Sugarhill
  • UPC: 015891106427
  • Catalog Number: 1064
  • Sales rank: 325,948

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Robin & Linda Williams Primary Artist
Robin Williams Indexed Contributor, Guitar, Harmonica, Guitar (Baritone)
Mary Chapin Carpenter Vocals
Stuart Duncan Fiddle
John Jennings Electric Guitar
Kevin Maul Acoustic Guitar, Dobro, Guitar
Tim O'Brien Fiddle, Mandolin
Jim Watson Vocals
Linda Williams Acoustic Guitar, Banjo
Kevin McNoldy Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Guitar (Baritone)
Andy Waldeck Bass
Stuart Gunter Snare Drums
Technical Credits
Kevin McNoldy Producer, Engineer
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