Charlie Robison

Life of the Party

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Charlie Robison is a strong branch on that ever-growing tree of Texas singer/songwriters. His brother, Bruce, and sister-in-law, Kelly Willis, also contribute to the strength of production that Charlie and Lloyd Maines bring forth on this project. But, overall, it is Charlie's raw emotion and exposed nerve endings that make this release on the independent Lucky Dog label so attractive. Devastating is his "Sunset Boulevard," just as his wry humor comes forth on the very honky tonk "Barlight." The border sounds of "Don't Call Me a Fool" are intoxicating, while the steel on the Bruce Robison tune "You're Not the Best" takes the listener back in time to 1959. Covering Damon Bramblett's tune "Waiting for the Mail" allows Robison to show his bluesy side. Softer is "Indianola," and finishing the set, which started off with rip and roar via "Poor Man's Son," is "Molly's Blues." Overall, Charlie Robison turns in a well-layered performance of material that expresses a wide variety of emotions, situations, and characters. The musicianship here is first-rate; Maines on steel is well worth the price of admission in any event.

A good introduction to the work of Charlie Robison and Texas singer/songwriters who are following in the footsteps of the outlaws Van Zandt, Clark, and Billy Joe Shaver.

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