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Robin Lane (From Dirt Road to Heaven as an independent release) (by Lee Zimmerman)
If Robin Lane’s name sounds even vaguely familiar it’s likely due to her presence on Neil Young’s second album after departing the Buffalo Springfield, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Here appearance on the song "Round and Round (It Won't Be Long)” made a lingering impression, one which she was able to use as a stepping stone to form her own band, Robin Lane and the Chartbusters, in the late 1970’s. Despite becoming an early staple on MTV, and an integral part of the Boston music scene in the early ‘80s, Robin Lane more or less faded into undeserved obscurity by the time the decade was over.
While she continued to record solo albums well into the new millennium, Dirt Road to Heaven could be considered a comeback of sorts, given the fact it’s been a decade since her last release. With the majority of the eleven tracks written by Lane herself, there is a clear feeling of confidence and assurance conveyed through the effort overall. That’s evident even at the outset, from the soulful and seductive drift of the title track, which is also the album opener, and through succeeding songs such as the edgy and aggressive "Woman Like That”, the stoic “Hunny Dummer”, and the decidedly defiant "Hard Life". Clearly, Robin Lane pulls no punches, and yet there’s a certain amount of resilience shared as well, as evidenced by the upward glances found in “Faded Leaves”, ”No Fear", "Love Song's Refrain", and the irrepressibly buoyant "Sunshine Blue Skies".
Taken in tandem, Dirt Road To Heaven is a solid step forward for an artist that's lingered on the periphery of popular acclaim far too long. Consider this dirt road a potential path to achieving that well-deserved greater acclaim for Robin Lane. (By Lee Zimmerman)
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