The results of the 2013 BLUES MATTERS! Writers' Poll were recently announced, and Mark Robinson's 'Have Axe - Will Groove' was "In with a Shout" in the International Studio Album category. (#1 was Rory Block, 'Avalon') Mark Robinson himself was "In with a Shout" in the International Solo Artist category. (#1 was Eric Bibb) Amazing list of artists and albums in the poll--great to be among their company. Thank you, BLUES MATTERS! writers.
Have Axe - Will Groove Up for 2014 IBC "Best Self-Produced CD"
The Nashville Blues Society has nominated Have Axe - Will Groove for the "Best Self-Produced CD" in the 2014 International Blues Challenge! The winner will be announced at the IBC Finals at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, January 25, 2014. Thanks to the NBS for the honor of representing the Society at the IBCs—and more thanks and congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this album great, especially to Daniel Seymour, associate producer. More here.
BLUES MUSIC MAGAZINE's inaugural issue: "Thanks to contemporary artists like Mark Robinson, the long-smoldering Nashville blues scene is staking a claim for status as a world class blues city ... Have Axe - Will Groove surpasses all expectatations ... [more here]"
Mark Robinson Voted 'Best Roots/Americana Guitar Player' in The Alternate Root's 2nd Annual Readers' Choice Awards! More
And makes their list of "Top East Nashville Artists" • More here.
“A side man no more, Mark steps boldly to the plate and hits another homer with this fine CD. … His vocals are fresh, without artifice and delivered straight from the heart … Mark Robinson’s been to the crossroads and he ain’t coming back. Buy this record and play it ‘til it’s done wore out.” —Liz Mandeville, CHICAGO BLUES GUIDE
"Robinson is a gifted guitarist, playing acoustic, electric and slide ... On top he is a songwriter of calibre ... Best track here for me is the closer, 'Blue Moon Howl' with its sense of foreboding, mystery and eeriness." —Merv Osborne, Blues Matters!
"Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood is full of grit, authenticity and is connected to the roots of the blues; his guitar work is best described in one word ‘tone’. Like the modern-day gunslinger that he alludes to in his title, he truly lives up to the moniker ‘Have Axe-Will Groove'.” —ChefJimi, Blues411.com
"With a blockbuster debut album under his belt – 2010's Quit Your Job, Play Guitar was one of the year's best recordings – Robinson comes roaring back with this impressive sophomore effort. Have Axe - Will Groove serves up eleven tasty new jams, most of 'em Robinson originals that display his incredible six-string talents that add the sizzle to a healthy, rocking hybrid of blues, rock, soul, and Southern-fried funk." —Reverend Keith A. Gordon, About.com Blues
'QUIT YOUR JOB - PLAY GUITAR'
"Best Blues-Rock Albums 2010" ABOUT.COM BLUES
"Top 10 Blues Album 2010" and "Best Debut Artist USA 2010" BLUES UNDERGROUND NETWORK
"Best Blues Albums 2010" BLUES VAN
“Rock and soul variations on his grounding in Chicago, Delta and Mississippi hill country blues. Revealing a strong musical intelligence, the Nashville musician stays front and center as a capable singer and a focused, expressive guitarist ... ” —DownBeat
"An outstanding new album ... very special and very cool. Mark Robinson simply ROCKS." —Roots Music Report
Mark Robinson’s debut album Quit Your Job — Play Guitar ignited like the first kaleidoscopic blast of a fireworks display. It was an attention-grabbing harbinger of even more exciting, incendiary things to come. DJs quickly embraced the disc and About.com Blues, Blues Underground Network and BluesVan branded it one of 2010’s best.
Now Robinson’s follow-up Have Axe — Will Groove provides an even more colorful and explosive display of the Nashville-based guitarist and songwriter’s estimable skills. And while the title of Quit Your Job —Play Guitar was autobiographical, the songs on his new release are even more personal… and dirtier and funkier and grittier. And when it comes to Robinson’s sterling guitar work, they’re also more colorful.
“Have Axe — Will Groove is about finding my voice as an artist,” he explains. “The songs are stronger and fit together well, and they all say something about my life — whether they’re inspired by things that happened to me or that I was reflecting on, or by the music and the experiences that have guided me along the way playing blues and country and other styles.
“What I’m interested in,” Robinson says, “isn’t being flashy or making the latest hit single. I’m making records and playing gigs to try to make music that moves people.”
Top photo by Gregg Roth