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Performing the music they love

You may have seen them in the movie "A Prairie Home Companion," or heard them on the radio program as one half of The Hopeful Gospel Quartet, as well as performing in their own right.

Robin & Linda Williams & Their Fine Group will be in town next week giving Rogue Valley audiences a chance to see them perform live.

Craterian Performances will present an evening of traditional American music with Robin & Linda Williams & Their Fine Group at 8 p.m. Friday, March 23, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

The group plays a blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country music.

Virginia-based Robin and Linda Williams are known for their rich harmonies and original songwriting rooted in the country/bluegrass/gospel tradition.

Robin & Linda Williams & Their Fine Group combine beautiful vocal harmony, exquisite musicianship and simply perfect songwriting, earning their reputation as one of the top acoustic music acts in the country.

Joining the Williamses on their March Tour as "Their Fine Group" are Jim Watson, formerly of The Red Clay Ramblers, on vocals and bass and Tom Corbett on mandolin and guitar.

For three decades, the couple has made it their mission to perform the music they love.

The list of artists who have covered their original songs include Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, George Hamilton IV, Tim & Mollie O'Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea and The Seldom Scene.

Home for Robin and Linda is an old frame house built around a log cabin in Middlebrook, Virginia, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Linda is a native of Anniston, Ala., and Robin was born in Charlotte, N.C.

They have been together since 1971 and recorded their first album in 1975 in Minneapolis for a local record company. The same year they made their first appearance on Garrison Keillor's radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion," which just getting off the ground.

Over the next 15 years, Robin and Linda recorded several albums and continued touring.

In the late 1980s they teamed up with their old friend Keillor and bluegrass songstress Kate MacKenzie to form The Hopeful Gospel Quartet.

This sideline ensemble has gone on to release two albums and tour the U.S., British Isles and Europe. In 1989 Robin and Linda signed with Sugar Hill Records, with whom they would go on to record nine albums.

Their first album on that label was "All Broken Hearts Are the Same."

Around the same time, they began to tour the band "Their Fine Group."

In 1993 their audiences grew through increased exposure from a major tour with Mary Chapin Carpenter and the national audience of "A Prairie Home Companion."

Robin & Linda have made appearances on "The Grand Old Opry," "Austin City Limits," "Music City Tonight" and "Mountain Stage" and they continue to make frequent appearances on "A Prairie Home Companion."

They tour constantly with Their Fine Group. Their 2002 recording, "Visions of Love," was produced by Keillor. It garnered a three-star review in USA Today upon its release and received rave notices nationwide.

The CD spent several months on the Americana charts and topped the list on several others.

The group recently moved to the independent label, Red House Records. Red House is the Grammy-winning home of several major American roots-based singers and songwriters including Greg Brown, John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, Spider John Koerner and Ramblin' Jack Elliott.

Just released on Red House Records, the album "Deeper Waters" is a selection of personal and strong songs that has been described as "nothing more than a masterpiece" by the All Music Guide.

Tickets for the Craterian concert range from $8 to $18.

Performing the music they love