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Beautiful Day

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iTunes Review

Having divorced Dixie Chick Emily Erwin in 2008 after nine years of marriage, you’d expect Charlie Robison’s 2009 album to open with the kind of embittered divorcee twang that country music fans are used to. But the uplifting “Beautiful Day” reminds us that severance can be a friendly process amongst mature people. The catchy title track muses on the woman he lost while simultaneously poking fun at her, so yes, Robison’s fifth studio long-player is a divorce album. But the tunes here play with a bit more maturity and complicated subject matter than your usual honky-tonk jukebox gems based on broken hearts and bruised egos. Of course it’s not all California sunshine and therapy sessions — in the fast-talking, country-rocking “Yellow Blues” he all but calls his ex a coward — then in the slow burning “Down Again” he blames himself for blowing it with her and faces his own music with a realistic sleep-in-the-bed-you-made redemption. He closes with an eerily sad version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Racing In The Street” because even a songwriter as good as Robison sometimes needs the tunes of others to recognize his pain.

Customer Reviews

A lovable rogue laid flat by divorce

It’s been five years since we last heard from Charlie Robison. After a run on Sony’s Lucky Dog label and a live album on Columbia, Robison moved to the indie Dualtone for 2004’s Good Times. Though he continued to perform live, the CDs he’d been releasing every year or two dried up. Perhaps now we know why: in 2008 his nine-year marriage to Dixie Chick Emily Robison ended in divorce. Rather than writing through the dissolution, he saved up his emotions for this post-divorce album. Only he and his ex know if the venom is righteous, but whether it’s well-founded criticism or angry lashing-out, it still packs a sting. One takeaway: don’t leave a writer feeling you’ve wronged them. No doubt many of these songs were written in the final throes of Robison’s marriage, but the wreckage is viewed is aftermath rather than from the eye of the hurricane. Robison charts many of the classic stages of recovery, including shock, confusion, denial, anger, depression, and uneasy acceptance. He doesn’t bother to cloak his emotions in songwriter’s allusion, but there’s artfulness in the way he opens up the main veins to purge his bitterness. Given that his marriage had officially “become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities,” it’s unsurprising that Robison would castigate his ex for the lightweight echo of her former self he believes she’s become, and the broken promises with which he’s left. Robison begins his reappraisal with the title track’s scathing portrait of superficial life in Los Angeles, and continues with a bitter spit of words in “Yellow Blues.” The latter has a terrific country-psych arrangement, complete with Eastern influence, twangy and backwards guitars, and a thumping “Tomorrow Never Knows” styled bass line. The lyrics suggest that in an effort to bolster favorable public perception, Robison’s mate kept their marital problems quiet rather than facing them down. A pair of Keith Gattis songs, “Down Again” and “Reconsider,” covers the merry-go-round of depression and forlorn denial. Robison writes of self-pity, barroom self-medication, and tentative steps towards recovery, the latter is most healthily heard in the chiming mandolin and social reconnections of “Feelin’ Good.” By album’s end Robison’s far from healed, and a defeated cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Racing in the Street” begs the question of whether failure has permanently short-circuited opportunity and hope. While Springsteen’s lyrics could illustrate the stunted adolescence of American Graffiti’s John Milner, Robison’s version suggests he’s stepping outside his own misery to consider the broader impact of his divorce. Either way, the roguish abandon of younger years has given way to middle-age doubt and regret. This isn’t nearly as depressing as it might seem, and though the processing isn’t pretty, the raw turmoil provides Robison the basis for this powerful album. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

even better in concert

Saw Charlie in concert 4 days after this album dropped,Wow what fun it was! origially different,very upbeat from previous material.Should get some major air time from radio.You can teach an old dog some new tricks! Please Charlie,Don't move to Nashville!

Nicely Played My Man

I'm telling you, if you don't find something, if not everything about this album that intrigues you, you're not Texan.The best texas country album in a looooong time from the best Texas country singer/writer out there. Charlie Robison stuck to the Texas country roots after 5 years of absence, gotta love that. Don't usually write reviews, but this one is well worth it.


Born: September 1, 1964 in Bandera, TX

Genre: Country

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

Texas singer/songwriter Charlie Robison was born in Houston and raised on his family's ranch in the town of Bandera; absorbing the music he heard on the local honky tonk scene, he and brother Bruce -- later an acclaimed performer in his own right -- were also brought up on artists ranging from Black Sabbath to Gram Parsons to Bruce Springsteen. After discovering the thriving music scene in nearby Austin at age 15, Robison began writing his own material, drawing equal influence from rock and country;...
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