Tag Archives: Nell Robinson

Nell Robinson: Let a thousand flowers bloom

Nell Robinson
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As a musician, Berkeley’s Hilary Perkins may be a late bloomer, but she’s on the cusp of earning a well-deserved spot on the national stage. A singer-songwriter steeped in bluegrass, country and old-time songs, she performs and records as Nell Robinson, a moniker adopted in honor of her Alabama-raised grandmother. In just a few years, she’s released three critically hailed albums and patiently honed an arresting musical production exploring the stateside costs of American military engagements.

Perkins returns to Freight & Salvage on Saturday with the latest incarnation of the show, formerly known as Soldier Stories and now rechristened as The Rose Of No Man’s Land, with a glittering cast of collaborators including Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, John Doe, Maxine Hong Kingston, and guitarist Jim Nunally (Perkins’ steady musical partner). Perkins is donating proceeds from the concert to support hiring a full-time chaplain for the Berkeley Food and Housing Project. … Continue reading »

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High lonesome holidays: Nell Robinson at the Aurora

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One of the pleasures of old-time music is that it acts as a force-field repelling shallow notions of hipness and callow ironic stances. In the hands of a generous artist like Nell Robinson, the specter of kitsch is banished by an abundance of soul.

Next week Robinson, a tremendously gifted singer in the throes of a late-blooming career, joins with her musical partner, guitarist Jim Nunally, to inaugurate Aurora Theatre’s new cabaret space, Harry’s UpStage, with “A Down Home Christmas with Nell and Jim,” which runs Dec. 13-21. Featuring original material, seasonal standards, and sundry songs that seem appropriate, the show is new, but the concept is old indeed.

“We’ve done a lot of singing at the holidays with family and friends,” says Robinson, aka long-time Berkeley resident Hilary Perkins. “We’re taking the music that we love to sing in our living rooms and bringing it into the new Aurora performance space, hoping to make it feel like a living room, singing music people will know, and some new stuff we’ve written.” … Continue reading »

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On Veterans’ Day, a Berkeley concert to support soldiers

Berkeley singer Nell Robinson has organized tonight's benefit concert for veterans
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Tonight, on Veterans’ Day, a concert at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage, organized by Berkeley resident Nell Robinson, offers the opportunity to enjoy great music while helping a non-profit which provides support for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members and their families.

Nell Robinson’s annual Soldier Stories Benefit Concert includes an art/photography exhibit, an art workshop and a live and silent auction.

Nell Robinson will be joined by musicians Jim Nunally, Joe Craven, Keith Little and Chuck Ervin for an evening of Americana string band music reflecting soldier stories from before the American Revolution to the current day, with a guest appearance by the Soldier Band (musician-veterans). … Continue reading »

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Nell Robinson: A little bit of Berkeley bluegrass

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When Hilary Perkins was trying to think of what she could give to her husband as a 5th wedding anniversary present, she was stumped. Her spouse, Skip Battle, was an extremely successful businessman who had almost anything he could want, so no simple trinket would do.

Perkins decided she would sing him a song, even though she was so unsure of her voice she generally only sang out loud in her car. She selected the song “Forever & Ever, Amen,” by Randy Travis and belted it out in front of the group of friends who had gathered for the occasion.

“You have never seen Skip Battle look more shocked and surprised,” said Perkins. “He was floored. He loved it and got up and finished it with me.”

Perkins was even more surprised than Battle. While she had been terrified before her performance began, once she was on stage she found herself having more fun than she had had in years. … Continue reading »

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