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  01/12/2002            
D Kane
This guy keeps getting better! Country Sunshine is definitely one of my 10 favorite albums. I suggest you listen to "First Thing About Mary", "Can't Get There From Here"....awwww hell, listen to the whole thing! Not a weak track on the CD!
Bruce Robison  12/03/2001            
[email protected]
I love Bruce Robison music. He hass so much soul when he sings. Texas artists know how to pick and sing!
Bruce Robison  10/25/2001            
Rick B.
Oops, I meant I'll go buy a BRUCE Robison cd tonight. I have a feeling it won't be long before I always think Bruce first, instead of Charlie, when I see or hear the name Robison.
Bruce Robison  10/25/2001            
Rick B.
I finally picked up Unleashed Live because I like Charlie Robison's and Jack Ingram's music, but I really hadn't heard much by Bruce Robison. Well, I want to hear a whole lot more now. I can't remember being so totally blown away by a song like I was by "Angry All The Time" (Kelly Willis singing with him just made this version even better). I read on the bio page here that the song was a hit for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, but I've never heard their version because I don't care much for that NashVegas music. I guess it goes to show that a great song will be a great song no matter who does it. I haven't been able to get those lyrics and the haunting vocal delivery out of my head all day. Think I'll go buy a Charlie Robison CD tonight.
Bruce Robison  10/17/2001            
Scott Jeffcote
Another excellent album by this great songwriter/musician. "What would Willie Do" is my new philosophy for life.
Bruce Robison  10/10/2001            
I was sadly disappointed with this cd. It was nothing like the ones before and was more like a John Denver cd. I don't like it at all.
Bruce Robison  10/05/2001            
Bruce Robison equals the greatest singer and songwriter.
Bruce Robison  10/03/2001            
Patricia Austin
Out at the Barn by Verlon Thompson Y'all ought to marketing the shit out of this CD. Verlon is the magical guitar player on all the Guy Clark recordings. Saw him with Guy in Atlanta this summer and was blown away by his awesome talent. "Out at the Barn" is a collection of songs recorded in Verlon's house, a "living roon picking session" as he calls it in the liner notes, with no overdubs or corrections or sophisticated studio improvements. It's excellent. Though I expect each person will find their own tracks to particularly love, I think "Whisper and a Prayer" alone is worth the price of admission. Then there's "Satisfied Mind", a waltz which speaks to the purity of heart few of us ever achieve but are occasionally graced by. Another tune which stays in the mind is "Morning Always Wins", a mournful song most folks over the age of 30 will get. Verlon covers "Angel from Montgomery" with Suzi Ragsdale singing wonderful duet vocals. And on and on...If you buy this CD and don't like it, let me know. I'll take your used copy and forward it along to friends who will.
Bruce Robison  10/02/2001            
Bruce and his music are so amazing. I truly enjoy each and every CD he has put out and Country Sunshine is no exception. I highly recommend anything Bruce has to do with, whether it is singing or songwriting. You will not be disappointed!
Bruce Robison  09/19/2001            
clay prothero
let me just say texas music rocks and bruce robinson rocks every one of his songs are awsome especialy when kelly is doing one with him i give him a 5 star rating his new cd is the best
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