Reviews: Refuge

On-line reviews of George Robinson's Refuge CD...

guitarnoise.com

Guitarist George Robinson invites us to travel inside his world, a world where the acoustic guitar brings out beauty, battle and harmony.

Robinson is certainly a great guitarist - one who doesn't try to impress through speed and technique, but one who impresses through the sheer beauty of what he does. In his hands, the acoustic guitar takes a life all its own. The music itself, superbly composed, flows admirably throughout.

All the compositions are played on a single guitar. Nothing else is added yet nothing is missing. Robinson understands how to let the music speak. This is a beautifully executed album, one that reminds me of the work of Warren Butler, which is certainly high praise.

A-J Charron - February 07, 2003
Source: guitarnoise.com Reviews

Instrumental Weekly

You Just Gotta Love Guitar...

I absolutely love a debut album...a new artist, new ideas, and a fresh start. Oregon's George Robinson, with his hybrid nylon string guitar, makes an excellent first-run with Refuge, a 40 minute joyride through the world of solo guitar. It's usually pretty easy to tell if a guitarist "has it" from the first few chords...let me be one of the first to say that George definitely has it, and knows what he's doing with it.

A common complaint I have about albums that I really enjoy is their relative brevity. At just a hair over 40 minutes, Refuge contains the kind of music I could listen to for hours on end. Each piece is simple enough to not demand your full attention, yet when listened to intently, many treasures await.

I found it hard to classify this album into any single musical category, but as George himself puts it: "...I'm calling it new age in lieu of any better characterization known to me." Frankly, I think using the term "new age" falls far short of even coming close to describing the fantastic pieces of music on this recording.

Though some pieces on Refuge are slightly more upbeat than others, the overall feeling I came away with was one of calm and introspection. None of the music here is in your face, something that could easily be done with solo guitar. George seems to have a solid idea for each piece, and makes his way through each with delicacy and a profound sense of care. This is not just random plucking by any means...there is definitely a high level of substance to be found here.

Since he is new to many of us, here is some bio info from George's website: "Robinson began performing when he was 18, and over a period of 15 years worked professionally with over 60 musical ensembles of various kinds. After a 10 year hiatus in pursuit of other interests, he discovered his muse and began composing contemporary solo guitar compositions, drawing on influences from classical, smooth jazz, rock and new age music."

It would seem that George has a lot of experience to expand upon, and this album is a great introduction to an artist who has plenty to share. In fact, George is currently working on his next album, due out in less than a years time.

Source: Instrumental Weekly, April 25, 2002

Minor 7th

George Robinson "Refuge", 2002 It's difficult to develop a novel sound on nylon-string guitar that hasn't already been done. George Robinson has accomplished this very feat, pioneering a unique trademark tone on "Refuge". Robinson uses a Roland VG-88 guitar processor to achieve an otherworldly and contemplative ambiance, sounding almost like Liz Story playing futuristic percussion pads rather than piano. The jewel of the CD is the opening track, "Highwire", an aptly-named vertiginous parry between suspense and aplomb. ©Alan Fark
Source: Minor 7th, Short Takes, September/October 2002

All Music Guide

Touching on everything from jazz to soft rock, guitarist George Robinson's Refuge is a mellow and contemporary mix of solos all played by Robinson on acoustic nylon-stringed guitar. While one might not exactly classify this as new age, fans of that genre will find much to their liking on the disc. Robinson is an adept technician with a light touch. He comes up with some pleasing melodies that serve well as background fare, but could also play well on smooth jazz or soft rock radio. — Matt Collar
Source: All Music Guide, Refuge page

Bridge Guitar Reviews (The Netherlands)

George Robinson is a guitarist from Oregon, America. It is his debut album “Refuge” George uses a nylon-string guitar on which he has uses a guitar processor. It is hard to classify George his music, he plays as well fingerstyle guitar as some new age, as jazz, that he knows to create in uplifting melodies. The first track ”Highwire” is a very well written composition with nice arpeggios. George creates with his guitar beautiful relaxing music, as on “Nevermore” and “Mars Rising.”
“Paradise Lost”, “Coldspring” and “Highwire” are my favorites as they show George Robinson’s ability to write beautiful melodies in a very nice poetical ambiance, he just paints the melodies. This album will surely impress a New Age audience as the fingerstyle die hards. George Robinson is a very versatile guitarist which can play any style in delightful melodies. - Henk te Veldhuis

Source: Bridge Guitar Reviews, Akoestische-gitarist.beginthier.nl

Ambientrance

george robinson : refuge (www.georgerobinsonmusic.com - 2002)
A 40-minute collection of nine "contemporary guitar solos"... no, not all processed out into spacey blurs, but straight string-plucking intricacies which maintain a deliciously mellow mood. It'd be hard to differentiate track-by-track because all strum and twang instrumentally in gentle string-borne warmth... Sprightly fingering paints delicate features into the shifting scenery of Mars Rising. Coldspring (3:33) emits a stream of unhurried notes which softly trickle down unseen peaks, branching off into sidecurrents. The disc arrives at a final Refuge (5:44) where high and low notes travel curvaceous routes. A wee bit off-topic here due to "normalcy", but such introspective meanderings would be especially sweet to snuggle into on an autumn's evening. B-
Source: Ambientrance, Overviews, August, 2002

MWE3.Com - Music Web Express 3000

Truly an album to find safe haven in, Refuge is the the latest solo guitar album from Portland, Oregon-based George Robinson. Somewhere between New Age acoustic guitar and neoclassical music, Refuge features a hybrid mix of acoustic-electric guitar sounds. Thanks to some innovative recording technology, Refuge achieves a distinctive sound that few other guitarists can claim. Robinson picks his notes out very discreetly so anyone looking for a dazzling display of speed or technical virtuosity best look elsewhere. Instead, Robinson approaches his music like a casual walk in the park on a sunny spring day, stopping just long enough in all the right places to stop and smell the roses. Robinson’s second album, The Awakening is due to arrive later in 2002.
Source: MWE3 Record Label and Music Spotlight, Spring 2002