Caitlin Robertson releasing debut LP tonight at Amsterdam Bar and Hall

Caitlin Robertson has a voice that sounds like a Minnesota landscape--all soft, rolling, and peaceful, like a dusky late summer evening. That's a lot like what her debut album, Coyote Blues, sounds like, mixed with a little of the prairie folk tendencies that comes with Robertson's eclectic background.

Robertson grew up in Minnesota, on her parents' sheep farm just outside of Wadena, and spent the majority of her 20s rambling around the U.S., living for a period of time in Seattle, Alaska, and northern Florida. Coyote Blues picks up a little of that wandering spirit, as Robertson delves deep into landscapes in her lyrics.

"Some of these songs started being written about five years ago, and I was basically in a lot of places and playing those over a long period of time," said Robertson of the tracks on Coyote Blues. "I started learning how to play the guitar and putting lyrics to music, and the songs explore landscapes and relationships and people that I knew over that long period."

Even when Robertson is singing sad songs like "Losing You", where she plaintively laments, in an almost-yodel, of the lover who is moving on without her, her voice echoes against bittersweet walls--you can hear the smile in the back of her throat, as though the recovery is in the song itself. Her music fits in well here, where the Twin Cities folk music scene pulses with talent.

"It felt really welcoming to me, and I know I've been here a short time," said Robertson of her new musical community. "I love music because I think it's such a great way to get to know people, and it's so easy to open up if you're playing music and if people are playing with you, but it's so much more welcoming here versus, for instance, in Seattle."

While Coyote Blues boasts a glorious range of influences--from lonesome country songs to traditional fiddle jigs, influences that you can hear wafting in and out through the songs--the ubiquitous constant is Robertson's voice. Her gentle assurance that, even as her lyrics may speak volumes of a wearisome lonely heart in the world, her voice lifts the listener somewhere beyond the hills.

Robertson is holding a CD Release show this evening, December 30th, at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall at 9 p.m. She'll be playing with her band the Dusty Hearts (Frankie Lee and Jake Hyer). Frankie Lee & Friends and Walker Fields are opening.

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