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.
Date Venue City State Note
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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 : 0              Total Reviews: 51

Bruce Robison  04/16/2006            
Absolutely his best album thus far. Every track is great and it hasn't left my cd player yet and probably won't for a while. His new songs are as appealing and skillfully written as ever and the cover of More & More with Kelly Willis is outstanding as well.
Bruce Robison  03/21/2006            
Barry Joyce
I keep this CD in my player all the time, the big hits are obvious..."Angry all the time" and "Desperately"...but you need to know, you may enjoy some of the other songs even more.. Wrapped and My brother and me are probably my 2 favorites... easily one of my favorite CD's...period, looking fwd to Bruce's new release.
Bruce Robison  12/20/2005            
Hey Bruce, It's been more than 4 years since "Country Sunshine" was released. You ever going to release another album? Ask yourself, "What Would Willie Do?" Answer: he'd record another CD! Your fans are waiting!
Bruce Robison  12/18/2005            
Rob Spires
On brother Charlie's live album, he calls Bruce Robison the greatest songwriter ever. After hearing this album I am inclined to agree. While "Angry All the Time" and "Desperately" have found some commercial success once sung by Nashville artists, possibly the best songs on this album may never be heard by most conventional country music fans. "Don't Let It Go to Your Heart" is a passionate ballad of a man feeling remorse for the woman he hurt in a frivolous one night stand. "End Like That" is not only the most powerful song on this album, it very well may be one of the most powerful of the decade. It conjures the rock bottom feelings of the dissolution of a meaningful relationship. This is a must have album for all Texas music fans, and a should have album for Nashville Pop Country fans. It will broaden their horizons to more heart felt songs by artists unwilling to bow down to record executives.
Bruce Robison  10/08/2005            
A true artist in every sense of the mostly over-used word. Had a chance to meet Bruce at a show in Nashville and he's an awesome person as well as being one of the finest singer-songwriters on the planet. Thanks for sharing the gift of your timeless music Bruce, we appreciate it.
Bruce Robison  07/14/2005            
Bruce's albums - all of them are great. he is my favorite singer songwriter ever. my favorite album by him is his 1996 Wrapped. I love the Texas Hill Country and that album takes me there every time. I love "my brother and me" also, "angry all the time" of course. you won't regret this buy!
Bruce Robison  07/03/2005            
Quite poss. the best songwriter of our time.
Bruce Robison  12/27/2004            
Super Song Writer!
Does Bruce ever do any live performances other than Christmas at Gruene? I've yet to see him live, maybe I'm not missing anything? Love his music, but have to wonder why he doesn't perform. Does he not have any stage prescensce (sp)? In other words, does he not command the audience?
Bruce Robison  12/07/2004            
Paul Schimmer
Eveyone needs this album, Bruce and Charlie showed me the way to country music. Jack is great too. Pick this one up and you will not be sorry!**********
Bruce Robison  10/29/2004            
If anyones wants to hear some great music, grab a copy of Long Way Home From Anywhere, or better yet Unleashed. This is a cd that has live segments from Bruce Robison, then Charlie Robison and finishes up with Jack Ingram. Bruce even brings up Kelly Willis for a song on it. You will love it, its got everything.......The last Mike McClure review I saw really had a very accurate review of James. Only discrepancy was that James trashed Bruces song writing capability also. Get the picture James, you blow. His only purpose is to get under our skin. He doesn't belong. I'm sure he does feel secure talking about ass kicking sitting behind his square headed girlfriend. I'm through making comments about this little queer on this review board, it's not its purpose. Lone Star, looks like an open message board would be appropriate. Let the viewers decide the topics though.
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