Gaylynn Robinson - Songs by a West Texas Songstress Album review by Cheryl Harvey Hill
Look songstress up in the dictionary of creativity and I'm sure it will give Gaylynn Robinson as the definition. Songs by a West Texas Songstress is life encapsulated into fourteen edifying, poetic, entertaining songs that will effortlessly play across your emotions and strike several chords of recognition within your heart. Robinson wrote all fourteen songs and her songwriting style is reminiscent of the definitive cowboy poet Red Steagall and many of her up-tempo songs have that wonderful Bob Wills feeling to them. She is definitely a Texas gal and has mastered the ability of seamlessly transitioning from traditional country ballads to classic Western Swing with just enough TexMex spice thrown in to make it unique.
For me, living in El Paso, several of the songs reflected recognizable scenarios that are indigenous to the areas along the Rio Grande. "The Borderline" is an especially poignant story song that gives a brief glimpse into what we've come to know as a depressing reality of this area. I'm not sure if the song is referring to the infamous "coyotes" or if the person she sings of is a member of the border patrol; regardless, there is a powerful truth in this simple song and the up-tempo music belies the seriousness of this regional problem. Robinson has definitely perfected the art of delivering compelling lyrics in an enjoyable, albeit enlightening, format.
Like every great songwriter, I'm sure Robinson is capable of writing at will about other people's lives, or can reap a great hook from the six o'clock news, but many of the lyrics have such an intimate feel that you can't help but wonder if they are autobiographical. One thing is for sure, the songs are delivered with a convincing depth of feeling that makes it easy to believe they may well be and Robinson's voice wrings emotion from every word she sings.
We all know that Texan's think they are the biggest and best of everything; well, when it comes to this album, they have every right to brag.