A Texas scene favorite, Bruce Robison steps out in a big way with this effort on his own Boars Nest imprint.
A Texas scene favorite, Bruce Robison steps out in a big way with this effort on his own Boars Nest imprint. It's an impressive, if somewhat meandering, work. Propelled by subtle organ and Mickey Raphael's harp, "Can't Get There From Here" is a soothing workingman's lament, and "Bed of Ashes" and "Friendless Marriage"—both featuring first-rate vocals from Robison's wife, Kelly Willis —are new stone-country classics. In lighter fare, the perky Tin Pan Alley tempo and a clarinet line on "Devil May Care" well-serve a clever lyric, and the funny "What Would Willie Do" is the ultimate tribute to that cosmic cowboy. "The First Thing About Mary" is a superbly crafted character study, and "Sixteen" hits the mark where so many have failed. If Robison has a fault, it's a tendency to occasionally drift off lyrically and melodically. But that's a small complaint, and overall, this record solidifies Robison's standing as one of the best of a new breed of singer/songwriters, in Texas and beyond. Distributed by Southwest Wholesale.—RW