Robinella was born and lives in Maryville, just south of Knoxville, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Daughter of a baptist deacon and choir leader, she’s been singing in church and the shower her entire life but it wasn’t till college that she started singing out and about. Robinella majored in art and boys 101 at UT. She met her husband at a bluegrass jam in 97. She founded “Robinella and the CCstringband” in 1999 with husband and musician Cruz Contreras.
Together they fused their broad tastes in music to create a sound that was and still is officially undefinable. On her two independent releases, as well as her Columbia records recording, Robinella surrounded her songs and voice with mandolin, fiddle, acoustic bass & guitar, and electric guitar. On her upcoming release, due out January on Dualtone records, Robinella and producer Doug Lancio built upon the bands traditional instrumentation expanding the bands instrumentation, colors and styles. The album entitled Solace For the Lonely, contains twelve new originals.
Cruz Contreras is the “CC” of the CCstringband. Robinella and Cruz formed the band in 1998 while attending the University of Tennessee. It’s said that Robin just couldn’t resist Cruz’s mullet. Cruz majored in jazz piano but followed his love for acoustic instruments. Mandolin has been his primary instrument in the band.
Billy Contreras is the third family member in the band. Billy has been playing the fiddle since the ripe old age of six. Now a veteran at nineteen. his playing experience include the likes of Lionel Hampton, Mark O’Conner, Buddy Spicher, Texas Playboys, and a recent recording with Blue Merle.
Hans Holzen and the Contreras’ go way back. They’ve played music together since the early nineties when Hans, Billy, and Cruz lived in Middle Tennessee. Hans majored in Jazz guitar at the University of Miami. Hans lives and performs in Nashville Tn.
David Peeples is a west Tennessee native who also majored in jazz at the University of Tennessee. He doubles in the band on electric and acoustic bass. Dave works with numerous local bands and has an aversion to strong drink.
Daryl Johnson is not only one of Memphis’ greatest drummers, but a self proclaimed pimp. He has educated the band in all the fundamentals of pimpism, for which they are eternally grateful.