Bruce Robison

Bruce Robison
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“Texas songwriter” is one of those job descriptions -- like “French chef” or “Kenyan runner” -- that packs a lot of implied historical weight. Any occupational title that invites immediate comparison to Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, and Willie Nelson is not for the faint of heart. But Bruce Robison is more than up to the task, and his latest set of stellar songs, The New World (Robison’s sixth album release), merely confirms what everybody knew already: this cat is a tunesmith to be reckoned with. A longtime hometown favorite in Austin, in the last couple of years his songs, No. 1 hits like "Angry All the Time" (Faith Hill & Tim McGraw), "Travelin' Soldier" (Dixie Chicks) and "Wrapped" (George Strait) and another Top 5 hit with Strait’s version of "Desperately," have worked their way indelibly into the American consciousness. Real songwriters know that it’s not about how many units you move so much as whether people sing your songs to themselves when they’re alone. By either standard, Bruce Robison is among the first rank of Texas -- and, by extension, American -- songwriters. Like the good small-town boy he is (Bandera, Texas, in case you’re wondering), Robison is always quick to give props to his family. But it’s pretty easy to be inspired by the folks around the dinner table when your wife is a much-admired alt-country thrush (Kelly Willis), your brother is a red-hot singer-songwriter in his own right (Charlie Robison), and your sister-in-law plays banjo and sings in a locally popular group known as the Dixie Chicks (Emily Robison). Never mind the rest of Texas; just being the best songwriter at a Robison family outing would be a hell of a distinction. Of course, The New World is America, not just Texas, and Robison brings the full wild range of American music to bear on his songcraft here. Just for starters: the sunny C&W backbeat of "The New One," the world-weary soul balladry of "Bad Girl Blues," the stripped-down rockabilly drive of "Twistin'," and the relentless stomp of "The Hammer," recalling The Band in its heyday. It's a musical spectrum that might get away from a less confident artist, but here it just underscores the wide-open embrace of Robison's voice and viewpoint: everybody's welcome, even -- especially -- life's losers. The New World is a windows-down road trip across the country with a buddy who's stopped looking for trouble but can't keep himself from taking a detour by its last known address. And in the plainspoken poetry of its lyrics, The New World is also something simpler and deeper: the same old world, seen with new eyes. Robison's characters have often lived large if not well, and some of the album's best songs examine how people deal -- or fail to deal -- with their pasts. In "California '85," the bitterness of lost love is softened by the fact that misery loves company, and by the third irresistible sing-along chorus ("It goes well with her lies"), you may have forgotten how sad you're supposed to be. Contrast that with "Larosse," in which a broken man sells his one remaining companion -- a horse he's raised from infancy -- with a lifetime's worth of regret and recrimination: "I'm tired of the look on his face." If The New World's unsparing but compassionate look at lost souls feels real, so does its overall hopefulness, as in the playful talking blues of "Only," wherein a serial seducer cheerfully admits that he's finally fallen hard. "I'm bettin' on the new one," goes another song, with an optimism that feels both truthful and earned: the fact that things don't always work out means it's that much sweeter when they do. In his clear-eyed, deeply felt songs, Bruce Robison does what great songwriters have always done: he takes the reality that surrounds us every day and makes it new again. Faded, careworn lives turn out to be rich with meaning when looked at from a slightly different angle, if you’ll just take the time . . . and Robison takes the time. The results are heartbreaking, hilarious, sweet, and stirring, as these songs confirm after even one listen. Bruce Robison doesn’t require introductions anymore. He’s made himself heard in the hearts of people across the country, and his place in our national musical history is secure. But you still have to envy those lucky pilgrims who are about to discover The New World.
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09/16/2009 - Bruce Robison returns to Cowtown - Read More
08/03/2009 - Texas act added to fair music lineup - Read More
01/25/2009 - Kenneth Threadgill Concert Series begins sixth season - Read More
01/08/2009 - Bruce Robison Revisits His Greatest Hits -- For His Own Album - Read More
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Average Rating : 4.9              Total Reviews: 51

Bruce Robison  01/08/2009            
all great songs by Bruce, cant go wrong with this one .
Bruce Robison  11/17/2008            
All of Bruce's CDs are worth owning but this one has that little extra creative spark to it, it sounds like he was having a blast in the studio (just like I have a blast listening to it). "California 85" in particular is a modern classic.
Bruce Robison  01/22/2008            
I think that bruce is one of the best singer/songwriters today. His song "Tonite" totally relates and takes me back to high school when I truly didn't want to go home because ANYTHING might of happened that night. Everytime I listen to that song, I go back to when every weekend me and my buddies would round up and get one of our older brothers to buy us beer and we'd head out to a pumpjack, and just hangout with the radio blarin' and just drink under the West Texas sky. If you haven't already, listen to the live version his brother Charlie sings live from Gruene Hall. He paints the picture so of the best songs ever written.
Bruce Robison  05/17/2007            
put this on LoneStarTunes!!!
Bruce Robison  02/04/2007            
Bruce is a brilliant writer!!!!
Bruce Robison  01/23/2007            
Boss Hoss
I caught Bruce and Kelly live and they were awesome. Had a chance to visit with them both after the show. If you don't have Bruce and Kelly cd's in your truck you must be from New York City. Both are great singer/songwriters and preformers. They make Texas proud.
Bruce Robison  06/14/2006            
Bruce Robison  06/02/2006            
Great stuff! Brilliant songwriter! Love the new album! Exclamation!!!
Bruce Robison  05/09/2006            
If only the radio stations would play Bruce's version of Angry all the Time. Puts the man (Timmy) he sold it too, to shame.
Bruce Robison  04/16/2006            
C'mon now! His best album thus far? I think it's great, I think it's even 5 star worthy. But when you have one of the Top 5 Americana records of all-time (Wrapped), you're probably not going to top it. And that's okay. I do think "All Over But The Crying" could wind up being his biggest hit ever. It's unbelievably good even by his standards (which is saying something).
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