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Published: Thursday, 11/10/2005

Robin and Linda Williams combine folk with bluegrass, country, and more

Linda Williams and her husband,
Robin, right, will be accompanied
by Jimmy Gaudreau, top, and Jim
Watson Saturday at the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin Linda Williams and her husband, Robin, right, will be accompanied by Jimmy Gaudreau, top, and Jim Watson Saturday at the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin

1975 was a banner year for Robin and Linda Williams. The duo, who play a wide range of original folk, bluegrass, country, and roots music, as well as gospel, released their self-titled debut album that year on the Minneapolis label Flashlight Records, and just happened to make a guest appearance on a then-unknown radio show called A Prairie Home Companion.

Thirty years later, the couple, who will be in concert Saturday in Tiffin s Ritz Theatre with Their Fine Group, have just released their 18th album, The First Christmas Gift, and are known around the world for their regular performances on A Prairie Home Companion, which has become one of the most popular radio programs in the country.

Robin, the son of a Presbyterian minister, is from Charlotte, N.C., and Linda is from Anniston, Ala. The couple met in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 1971 and moved to Minneapolis to pursue their music careers.

In addition to playing on the radio show hosted by Garrison Keillor, the Williamses and Keillor teamed up with bluegrass artist Kate MacKenzie to form a group called The Hopeful Gospel Quartet, which has released two CDs and toured the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe.

On their current tour, Robin and Linda Williams are backed by Their Fine Group, with Jim Watson on bass and vocals and Jimmy Gaudreau on mandolin and mandola.

In addition to 30 years of performances on A Prairie Home Companion, the Williamses have appeared on The Grand Ole Opry, Austin City Limits, The American Radio Company, and Music City Tonight, and have been featured at such prestigious events as the Kerrville Folk Festival, Winterhawk, and Wings and Strings.

Last summer, the duo were filmed by director Robert Altman for his Hollywood version of A Prairie Home Companion, starring Lily Tomlin, Tommy Lee Jones, and John C. Riley.

Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group will be in concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Ritz Theatre, 30 South Washington St., Tiffin. Tickets are $11 to $26. Information: 419-448-8544 or 1-800-586-7382.

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