Robin McKelle

Melodic Canvas

(Doxie Records/Membran)


Singer-songwriter McKelle found she had much to write about, after the last US Election. For this collection, she felt she could enhance the compositions by leaning in an acoustic direction and adding percussion touches to frame the vocals. She credits keys ace Shedrick Mitchell with helping shape up the programme. As regards musical style, Robin has much to draw upon as she develops. Enough facts for now, let’s press Play…

Matters commence with Do You Believe and a solemn piano motif and mid-range soul-tinged vocal, the backdrop kept back as the conga’s start up. This one really reminds me of The Staples and very good it is, too. On to Lyla, a reflective ballad with a hint of Randy Newman in its chord progression. Lovely singing..her voice is pleasant and has a honeyed timbre that makes the words count.

Come To Me goes for a jazzier mood and a steady pace with a beautiful piano tone and insistent push. Robin invites the listener to join her…who’s going to say No?

You’re No Good is not the great pop song made famous by Linda Ronstadt, but a stealthy and slyly delivered. The percussion makes this one. Mix that guitar up though !! Next up we get Swing Low, Sweet Chariot that awful tune groaned out by dopes at rugby matches…a good performance can’t save it. Please sub Wade In The Water?

Simple Man is winsome and effective, with graceful piano. Makes me think of Ronnie Scott’s, sitting next to people far richer than me. The Sun Died is a French composition, delicately handled here. Robin obviously loves the song and makes every word count. Masterful, poignant and a real highlight. Yes We Can Can starts softly, piano to the fore. McKelle puts over a lyric of positivity. Toussant as it should be performed. It Won’t End Up has a choppy emphatic tempo, hinting at a night in Rio and maybe the best singing on the set. If this isn’t a stage favourite, I am an astronaut.

Il Est Mort Le Soleil is a bonus track and is an alternative version of The Sun Died.

This record falls somewhere between Randy Crawford and Norah Jones…and that ain’t a bad place to be! The singing and playing just grips you and in a nice way. An achievement.

Pete Sargeant



(Thanks to Gary L)

You can watch the official music video for 'Do You Believe' in this article.

Robin McKelle's new album 'Melodic Canvas' is out now on Doxie Records/Membran.

For more information visit her official website here:

Robin McKelle