This blog is dedicated to getting word out about Robin Ella Tipton, a singer-guitarist from Maryville, Tennessee. Tour dates and additional information about the artist will be posted here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Recent RobinElla Tour Dates

Seattle, WA April 3rd at Conor Byrne Pub
Portland, OR April 4th at The Alladin Theatre and instore at 5:30pm at Music Millenium
Eugene, OR April 5th at Sam Bonds and Instore at 6pm at CD World
San Francisco, CA April 7th at Hotel Utah
Los Angeles, CA April 9th at the Mint
Denver, CO April 11th

RobinElla's Bio (courtesy of High Wire Music...

Born Robin Ella Tipton, she was raised in the mountains of East Tennessee. Her highly musical family enjoyed the sounds of Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton, among many others. The singer-guitarist stayed close to home when she went off to college, enrolling in Knoxville’s University of Tennessee as an art major. “I wrote my first songs when I was in my freshman or sophomore year in college. But I didn’t know if they were any good or not: I only played them for myself.” Multi-instrumentalist Cruz Contreras had grown up near Nashville, so he had also developed a love of country music. But at the University of Tennessee he became a jazz piano major. After he and RobinElla met at school, they formed the bluegrass band Stringbeans with some fellow students in 1997. Metro Pulse, Knoxville’s alternative weekly, honored Stringbeans as Best Bluegrass Group in its 1999 Readers Poll, But by then, the group had dissolved. When various members graduated from UT, they drifted apart. Cruz and RobinElla married in 1998 and a year later formed RobinElla and the CCstringband (“CC” for bandleader Cruz Contreras). By this time, RobinElla had discovered jazz vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. So as it evolved, the new band began incorporating jazz elements into its country sound. Her winsome Appalachian accent coupled with jazz vocal phrasing, plus the group’s acoustic instrumental prowess, soon set it far apart from others. “When Cruz and I first started playing music, we’d often just play jazz,” RobinElla recalls. “We used to practice jazz standards and began incorporating them in our gigs. We would move from a bluegrass standard, to a jazz standard and back to something classic country.” The group recorded its first album, RobinElla and the CCstringband, in 2000. A second CD called No Saint, No Prize followed in 2001. Both were on the independent label Big Gulley Records. Although the sound was increasingly eclectic, Metro Pulse gave three Best Bluegrass Band awards to the group and added two for RobinElla as Best Female Vocalist in 2001 and 2002. The group’s reputation rapidly spread beyond Knoxville. Columbia Records liked what it heard and signed RobinElla in 2002. The label took seven songs from the band’s two prior albums and released them as the CD Blanket for My Soul that year. Next came 2003’s RobinElla and the CCstringband, which resulted in their first truly national exposure. “RobinElla emotes like a melancholy angel, with one wing in a jazz club and the other in a honky-tonk,” raved The Atlanta Journal & Constitution. “She sings country-influenced jazz that is positively silky,” added The Boston Globe. “RobinElla Contreras…draws comparisons to Dolly Parton and Billie Holiday,” marveled No Depression. “It’s a country-swing-bluegrass-jazz-fusion taste treat,” said Billboard. Reviewers agreed that this was music that was unquestionably genre bending but undeniably wonderful.