Listen Up! Charlie Robison – ‘High Life’ [ALBUM STREAM]

Bruce Robison - High Life

In Texas, the surname Robison carries with it a tone of songwriter reverence. Charlie, his brother Bruce, and sister Robyn Ludwick have created a long legacy as Hill Country singer/songwriters working in the local community as well as being covered by Music City.

On his new release “High Life,” Charlie has some fun with classic and new songs. Band’s Robbie Robertson’s “Look Out Cleveland” and Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” Robison also covers Austin legend Doug Sahm’s “Nuevo Laredo.” Of Sahm, Charlie says “My uncle was like a hippie around that time, and I remember cruising around Austin with him listening to Doug Sahm records and it was just so wild, the sounds he was getting. All that Sir Doug stuff just hit me really hard.”

There are also a few gems by his siblings “Brand New Me” by Bruce and “Monte Carlo” and “Out of These Blues” by Ludwick. He also covers friend Bobby Bare Jr.’s rocking study on celebrity “Patty McBride.”

Charlie seems to be having a lot more fun on this follow-up to the wonderfully introspective “Beautiful Day,” My only question is, with a title like “High Life,” (complete with Mr. Natural style cover art) where the obligatory Willie Nelson cover?

Buy High Life

Concert Review: Hayes Carll – Slims – San Francisco, CA – 5/14/11

The first thing I noticed about the near capacity crowd at Slims was the lack of Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys. The brew de rigueur of the skinny jeans and tattoo set has been a main staple for big city shows of the twang variety since I first saw the Drive-By Truckers in New York City in 2006, but the cheap suds were nowhere to be seen. There was the occasional Bud light, local micro-brew (served in plastic cups as not to be too fancy)  and whisky neat but the ubiquitous PBR was oddly out of place. The crowd also skewed older and working stiffs decked out in the pro-shops finest with their blond wives were mixed with a few that looked like extras from HBO’s Deadwood. This was not the hoody and cap set herding to a scene, these people were here for great music.

With a voice pitched somewhere South of Dylan and north of Kris Kristofferson Carll began he show surprisingly with the tearjerker Chances Are but the crowd stayed quiet and ate it up. We were then rewarded with the long-haired honky-tonk road song Hard Out Here. things were less quiet with the “Hell yeahs” and “Yee -haws.”

Carll was in town supporting is excellent new release KMAG YOYO which is an Army acronym for Kiss My Ass, Guys, You’re On Your Own,. He introduced the song as a “Young soldier in Afghanistan, then get’s into the heroin trade and is then injured by an IED. In a morphine induced hallucination imagines he’s working for a secret Pentagon program that feeds you acid and send you in space. Look for it on country radio!” The song is a (fast) talking blues number in the spirit of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues or Johnny Cash’s I’ve Been Everywhere and it drove the crowd into a frenzy.

About 30 minutes into the set shots of tequila was delivered to the stage. “We played L.A. the other night and not one drink was bough for us. Here we are 37 minuted in the set and we have shots. Thanks San Francisco!” Four more rounds of drinks followed.

Carll took the time to praise the legendary Texas singer/songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard and explained how when they met to write a song together that Hubbard was in his phase of using animals as subject matter to great success with the song Snake Farm, which Carll sang the chorus of with a surprisingly simpatico crowd. He said they wrote a song called Chickens but had overestimated the poultry-folk movement of 2006. Carll then sang a song he and Hubbard wrote, and was released on Carll’s Trouble in Mind and Hubbard’s lengthily titled A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C). With lines like “There’s some money on the table and a pistol on the floor. Some old paper back books of Louis L’Amour…” It’s a natural and perfect result from a a Carll/Hubbard collaboration.

There was also a song from a Carll collaboration with Bobby Bare Jr. and Corb Lund entitled One Bed, Two Girls and Three Bottles of Wine about a Southern California tryst gone limp. The song has a honky-tonk heart of the absurd found in the best Roger Miller or Shel Silverstein numbers.

After about two hours of great song after next Carll and his sizzling band who moved through every instrument  but bag pipes, encored with a rousing version of the Possum’s White Lightning which was a great chaser from a musician cast in the same dry-witted and tuneful mold as Guy Clark and Terry Allen.

News Round Up: The Glossary is Giving Their 2007 Album, The Better Angles of Our Nature

  • has Juli Thanki’s newest Torch & Twang post (Louisiana Woman, Texas Troubadour)  Thanki bypasses the standard view that Loretta Lynn’s best duet partner was Conway Twitty and makes her case for Ernest Tubb.
  • Best Buy is offering an exclusive EP from Miranda Lambert today which  includes her new single “ Dead Flowers” from her upcoming album Revolution. The EP includes three bonus tracks from her prior album, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The cost of the EP is $1.99, or you can pre-order Revolution and get the EP free. (via My Kind of Country and the
  • Kris Kristofferson, Ray Price, Bobby Bare Jr. and My Morning Jacket are some that will pay tribute to writer, artists , country music songwriter and Playboy mansion resident Shel Silverstein on Turnable, Twistable Man which is produced by Silverstein ‘s friend Bobby Bare.
  • Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based quirky indy Southern rock band the Glossary is giving their new 2007 album, The Better Angles of Our Nature, free from their official site and in different quality formats.  I’ll review it soon, but after a couple of passes on the iPod it’s a great one.
  • Happy birthday Patsy Cline  (Sept 8 1932)
  • Another use for texting? Apparently looking for the country crooner that stopped in your town and might have knocked you up is now on that list.  A certain lady with a Wisconsin phone number is currently looking for this Rodeo Romeo. (via NashvilleScene)

Bobby Bare Jr. Tour News

Coming off summer tour dates with The Slip and gearing up for a fall tour supporting Lucero, innovator and Andre The Giant look-alike Bobby Bare Jr will be performing a special daytime Musicfest NW show today with members of the Decemberists appearing as his backing band! Bobby and his crack pickup band will support Cat Power at a special daytime Musicfest NW show. Touring in support of The Longest Meow, his critically acclaimed album on Bloodshot Records,  Bare Jr also announces a special reunion of his crack band in previous years, Bare, Jr, which takes place on November 23rd at The Exit in Nashville, TN.

Bobby Bare Jr. 6-15-06 -Maxwell’s, Hoboken, NJ

Bobby Bare Jr.The man was napping on the tiny, cluttered Maxwell’s stage while various battered and bruised instruments were carted out and placed on the stage around him.

Well he seemed to be napping…and then he suddenly rolls over and does a couple of labored push-ups and then be was up and at the mic sporting an aged Gibson SG with a butterfly sticker. The large man with the mop of curly hair, a “Nashville U.S.A” trucker cap and legacy bonifides (his daddy is the legendary Country outlaw musician, Bobby Bare) from that very same Tennessee city engaged in quirky yet familiar song arrangements, and with a voice that could lull a preacher’s daughter into a life of sin, commenced to tear up the house on this Thursday night.

Songs of love found, lost, found again…drug abuse, beauty all done with humor and whit. Bare featured many songs from his forthcoming September ‘06 Bloodshot records release “The Longest Meow”. “Just pretend you know this song and clap..” he instructed the audience while introducing the new material. Older material from 2004s “From the End of your Leash” was represented with “Valentine” and “Terrible Sunrise.”

In a world of Corporate pre-fabricated music it’s nice to see there are Bobby Bare Jr.s out there making music for the sheer deranged pleasure of it.