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  09/18/2001            
he's great
Bruce Robison  09/18/2001            
Boone Murphy
One word describes Bruce Robison, genius! One of the truely great songwriters of our time. I highly recommend "Wrapped" as a perfect introduction to those just learning Mr. Robison's name. Each song on this album has it's own personality, but never takes away from the album as a whole. For those more familar with Bruce's older sibling, Charlie, be aware that his writing is more subtle and emotional than his superstar brother. Not to say that Bruce is unable to turn out humorous or fun songs, but his music doesn't take the straight forward approach that Charlie's does. Nevertheless, I highly recommend any Bruce Robison disc for those looking to get their money's worth. Time will prove both of the Robisons to be great Texas talents, but years from now Bruce will be consider among names like Van Zandt, Clark, and Kristopherson. A bold statment, but remember this review years from now.
Bruce Robison  09/12/2001            
Damn its all been said, let me just add that he is also an extremely friendly guy!!!!
Bruce Robison  09/11/2001            
Chad Raney
Truely a masterpiece. Kelly Willis' accompaniment is icing on the cake.
Bruce Robison  08/12/2001            
Brian Deal
Wow Wow Wow, What else can I say about Bruce than in my opion he's the best songwriter out there today. I was forunate enough to get to attend Bruce and Kelly Willis show in Annapolis Md on 8/10/2001 at the Ramshead. I have seen Bruce about a half a dozen times and it's always grest. What made it great this time was to hear the new stuff he has been writing in the last 6 months or sosince him and wife Kelly had their baby. I'll just go ahead and say he continues to write some of the best songs I've ever heard. "Blame It On Me" is just great as was a "Friendless Marriage" a duet with Kelly. The highlight was "What Would Willie Do" to see and hear him perform this song is just awesome. Well enough for now just wanted to tell everyone to get out there and see Bruce live and enjoy a very brilliant writer do his job so great. I promise you if you have never seen Bruce live you need to treat yourself to this gifted artist.
Bruce Robison  02/21/2001            
If you don't own a Bruce Robison CD then you are missing out. He is one of the best Texas Singer Songwriters out there.
Bruce Robison  09/30/2000            
Chris Copeland
Well I never been to Texas, but I kinda like the music! ... My main supplier of music is my friend Chris who runs Record Savings in Banbury, Oxfordshire , England. Lately quite a few of my orders were running late or not coming through ... As a small consolation he packed a copy of Unleashed Live with my Little Feat box set. No charge ... but what a treat ... Ive got Bruce's two albums so I was pleased to hear he is as good live as in the studio ... great live versions ... Angry All The Time is probably one of my favourite songs of all time ... and Kelly singing along! Haven't heard so much of Charlie so it was a treat to hear his quartet of songs for the first time as live versions ... and you Texans know all the words! The band on these cuts is 5 star ... nobody gets singled out ... all the guys play superbly! For some reason I haven't picked up a copy of Hey You, so Jack Ingram's tracks were also new. This guy keeps getting better and does he rock! Mustang Burn is a classic .. that opening riff! those great lyrics! and boy does Jack deliver it vocally! ... Just wish I had been at the concert ... if I can get this off the CD player I might get around to the 5 hours of Little Feat!
Bruce Robison  08/05/2000            
Bruce is a dynamic musician whose lyrics capture raw and passionate emotion in a truly heartfelt manner. His music soothes the soul and can be played on continuous mode for hours without tiring. In short, he rocks my world.
Bruce Robison  06/19/2000            
Excellent Album..Period.
Bruce Robison  04/20/2000            
Great CD!
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