I’ve been playing the music of Willard Robison often these past few weeks: the songs as performed by Mildred Bailey, Jack Teagarden, Ben Webster, and Ruby Braff.  He was an extraordinary American composer, creating melodies that sound so simple but aren’t (they lodge in your memory on one hearing) and lyric poems that celebrate goodness, steadfast vision, love of the country — without ever being preachy.  If Robison’s name isn’t familiar, OLD FOLKS is, as is A COTTAGE FOR SALE, DON’T SMOKE IN BED, ‘ROUND MY OLD DESERTED FARM, and GUESS I’LL GO BACK HOME THIS SUMMER.   

Robison’s greatest exponent today is the most admirable singer, guitarist, and scholar Matt Munisteri.  And if you know Matt only as a rocking player — co-founder of The EarRegulars — you have wonderful surprises in store, for he is also a fine composer himself who understands the depth of other people’s music.

Here he is performing a Robison song that deserves to be better known — TRUTHFUL PARSON BROWN:

Deep feeling but never heavy-handed or didactic. 

Matt has put together a Robison program and will be performing it this month: it’s something special!  Here are the details:

I know Matt as someone who doesn’t approach music casually or half-heartedly, and the combination of Munisteri and Robison is going to be special — and there will be guest appearances by Scott Robinson and others. 

Not to be missed!



  1. I am really enjoying this,,,(listening to it for the third time as I write)..This is really great, and I compliment the artist!

  2. Danton Boller?!?!?! The pairing of Munisteri and Boller should be a musician’s fantasy come true!

  3. Yes, ma’am, no fooling! Matt and Danton have played together before and are on some of my EarRegulars clips on this very blog, I am sure. Good cats through and through! Cheers, Michael

  4. Danton Boller and Matt play on my “Blue Roof Blues: A Love Letter to New Orleans” Arbors CD, on sale on their website: , and available on iTunes and the like.
    Great players, I’m proud to know them and play with them!

  5. Here’s another Willard Robison song performed by Matt’s Brock Mumford group, with me, Danton, Quincy Davis-drums and Will Holshauser-accordion:

  6. Now here’s a spot of trivia for you about Willard R. Did you know that he pronounced his name “Rawbisson” ?

    I found this out when I ran my “Tribute to Jack Teagarden” website which is now part of Joe Teagarden’s website. You can check it out at : – The Michael Palmer Collection

    Best wishes…….Michael in Australia

  7. Thanks for the nice plug Michael! It occurred to me that it might be interesting to give a unique preview of Sunday’s concert – one that is, to me, more interesting than the YouTube clips.
    I thought your readers might enjoy some insight into the inner workings of this project, so I’ve posted a couple of rare Robison 78s alongside my own re-workings of the same tunes on a facebook band page (anyone whould be able to look and listen)
    I think my versions of these tunes are pretty straight forward (unlike a couple of other interpretations from the upcoming CD). I heard these two tracks over a decade ago and I love them, but over the ensuing years, the embedded tunes would play themselves back in my head – during long walks, car trips, ceiling-staring middle-of-the-nights. The results are reminiscent of a game of “telephone”, where whispered utterances are transmuted along their relay. I’ll stress that there was never any conscious effort to “come up with” a “creative” or “marketable” new version; each tune just arrived at its destination essentially intact, but just more like the radio that always plays in my head. To those listeners who prefer the original versions, I make no claim whatsoever to any improvement – I love those sides! My sincerest wish is that this music be heard and rewarded the same gift that so many other countless songs from this era have benefited from – that is, the ever-evolving and continued life that arises when a song is picked up, dusted off, and (yes, I’ll say it…because I believe in it) improvised upon, by attentive musicians.

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