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Album Review

Lucky Dog labelmates Jack Ingram and Bruce and Charlie Robison provide a virtual label sampler on this equally divided concert album recorded at Gruene Hall in New Bruanfels, TX. The three constitute a kind of South Central Texas version of the Flatlanders, that occasional triumvirate of Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore from West Texas. Each is a singer-songwriter with a Southwest perspective and an interest in bars, drinking, heartbreak, and working class life. Bruce Robison, who leads things off with four songs, comes off as the most sensitive and literate of the three, calling up his older brother to sing with him on "Rayne, Louisiana" and performing the divorce song "Angry All the Time" as a duet with Kelly Willis. Charlie Robison, who takes the lead on the middle four songs, is a crowd pleaser, filling his songs with drug and drinking references and lacing them with humor and melodrama, especially "Sunset Boulevard," in which he fantasizes about the kind of fame and fortune in the entertainment business that would allow him to forget a recent heartbreak, and the lengthy story song "Loving County," with its images of violence and infidelity. Concluding things, Jack Ingram rocks harder than either of the brothers, but his songs are still rooted in the ambiance of a Texas barroom. And it sounds like they're all playing in a Texas barroom, as the audience hoots and hollers and sings along. This is the kind of live album that makes you wish you were there, with a beer in your hand and another couple under your belt.


Born: 11 June 1966 in Bandera, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Bruce Robison issued his self-titled debut LP in 1995. He also attracted notice thanks to his inclusion on several compilations, including 1995's Austin Country Nights: Rising Stars From the Heart of Texas collection and True Sounds of the New West. The full-length Wrapped followed...
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