Tag Archives: Robbie Fulks

New Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis: I Just Lived A Country Song

Video: Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis -- “I Just Lived A Country Song”

Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis "I Just Lived A Country Song" (Lyric Video)

Lyric video by Nina Stiener. From Wild! Wild! Wild!, out August 10 on Bloodshot.

The thing I love about Robbie Fulks is that he doesn’t try to be alt- or insurgent- or Americana- but instead he is comfortable enough with his deal that he allows himself to be just plain country. I suppose his refusal to play down to the lowest common denominator is alternative to mainstream country but whatever. He’s traditional but he’s not stuck in the past. He just knows what sounds good.

And one thing that sounds good is Linda Gail Lewis.

She’s Jerry Lee Lewis’ little sister and she’s been playing piano and singing since she was a kid. She’s recorded for Sun, toured with her brother, and lived almost as hard as him. Her biography is insane.

Lewis isn’t featured as prominently on “I Just Lived A Country Song” as she is on many of the other songs on Wild! Wild! Wild!. (“Boogie Woogie Country Gal,” for example, features her pounding the keys like the Killer at his most feral). But her harmonies perfectly compliment Fulks’ regretful tale of a misspent life on the road.

I can’t recall the early nineties
These last ten I’d rather not

It’s hard to write a song like this without falling back on tired cliches but Fulks is smart and unpredictable enough to twist them up and keep you guessing. And laughing. Dude is funny.

Robbie Fulks: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Linda Gail Lewis: web, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis: I Just Lived A Country Song

Robbie Fulks + Shellac + Michael Jackson

Man oh man, this Robbie Fulks Michael Jackson tribute album is getting more awesome and more crazy with every new detail. Now, we find out that Steve Albini‘s noisy three-piece Shellac plays on it:

Shellac is a magnificent punk band in Chicago whose three members I’ve been friends with for years and years. If we haven’t gotten together on record before, it’s only because we have absolutely nothing in common, musically speaking. After hearing our collaboration, you may still think we have nothing in common.

Everything Fulks has said about this album leads us to believe that it’s going to be very, very far removed from the stripped down, acoustic renditions of these covers that initially won us over. Instead, what he’s describing is a much weirder and potentially more fascinating project than just a country singer with a beat up Martin doing quirky covers of soul-pop songs.

Robbie Fulks: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Continue reading Robbie Fulks + Shellac + Michael Jackson

Robbie Fulks Completes Michael Jackson Tribute

Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing country artist Robbie Fulks in concert over the last ten years is going to be thrilled to hear that he is in the process of finishing up his long-rumored collection of Michael Jackson interpretations. If you’ve never seen him, you might think this sounds like a stupid, jokey idea. It’s not. It’s awesome. And sincere:

So the period of my life (2000-2009) during which I get to arrange and track and mix great songs like “Billie Jean” and “The Man in the Mirror” to suit my own voice and aesthetic interests comes to an end, which makes me sincerely sorry. Nine years, six studios, 21 tracks (don’t worry, I won’t foist all of that on you); and amid it all the tributee made a comeback record that fizzled, was jailed, fled the US, became ever more a figure of pathos and contempt and fun and disgust, began to stage another comeback, died. The aughts were happier times out where I live.

Fulks says it could be out by Christmas. To share a feel for what some of this might sound like, we found a 20-second live video snippet of Fulks doing “Going Back to Indiana” at the 2008 Hideout Block Party here in Chicago. Check it out after the jump…

Continue reading Robbie Fulks Completes Michael Jackson Tribute

Robbie Fulks: Michael Jackson "better than Elvis"

In a thoughtful eulogy for Michael Jackson, country crooner Robbie Fulks explains the origins of his fascination with the King of Pop:

In 1999, Peter McDowell at the Chicago Cultural Center had me put together a performance in honor of Michael’s birthday. That was the beginning of my long “tribute CD” odyssey, and it got me to thinking a little about him, because I hadn’t, much. I hadn’t theretofore bought his records, or learned any of his songs to perform, or considered myself a fan beyond the J5. Yet I found that I knew lots of his songs just from constant ambient reiteration, and, when I listened to them more purposefully, found them exquisitely assembled and compelling in some hard-to-define way. In other words, I discovered the basic and obvious qualities that had long ago endeared this music to everyone else around the world. At that time it occurred to me that Michael was my generation’s Elvis. He was our common musical denominator, originator of the template, pointer of the path, the central guy that we all grew up with and of whom nobody could live in ignorance. In fact the only reason I wouldn’t overplay the comparison is that I think he was better than Elvis artistically. Better dancer, better singer, better song guy; and he stayed better at it all longer (even outliving him, a little). Let the squabbling begin…

I never really considered the fact that Michael Jackson was pretty on top of his game, as Fulks points out, from about 1970 to 1990. That’s twenty years! Can you think of any other artist who was that solid for that long? With no periods of crapiness? If you can think of anybody, be sure to give the date range you’re talking about. Twenty years! I can’t think of many with a perfect ten year streak

Robbie Fulks: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Previously: Robbie Fulks Guides Fellow Musicians to Misery; Robbie Fulks Bloodshot Sampler.

Robbie Fulks Bloodshot Sampler

Robbie Fulks

I immediately felt a little goofy for including the silly Cher cover in that post about Robbie Fulks. Yes, he is known to enjoy the occasional quirky cover—it’s undeniable (he’s known to have a song-by-song Thriller remake in the vaults). But the guy has written so many great songs that it’s just wrong to leave the impression for folks who might not be familiar that he’s some kind countrified Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. First of all, he’s way funnier than those dudes. And at the same time, he’s more sincere.

So to give the uninitiated a better idea of what Robbie Fulks is all about, here are the eleven tracks that his former label, Bloodshot Records, is offering up for you to sample:

Robbie Fulks – “Cocktails” from 13 Hillbilly Giants (2001)

Robbie Fulks – “Family Man” from 13 Hillbilly Giants

Robbie Fulks – “In Bristol Town One Bright Day” from Couples in Trouble (2001)

Robbie Fulks – “Real Money” from Couples in Trouble

Robbie Fulks – “Sleepin’ on the Job of Love” from The Very Best of…. (2000)

Robbie Fulks – “Love Ain’t Nothin'” from The Very Best of….

Robbie Fulks – “I Told Her Lies” from South Mouth (1997)

Robbie Fulks – “I Push Right Over” from South Mouth

Robbie Fulks – “Rock Bottom, Population 1” from Country Love Songs (1996)

Robbie Fulks – “Tears Only Run One Way” from Country Love Songs

Robbie Fulks – “Cigarette State” from For A Life of Sin (1994)

If you like what you hear, be sure to check out his 50-Vc. Doberman collection.

Robbie Fulks: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Robbie Fulks Guides Fellow Musicians to Misery

Good old Robbie Fulks offers up a ten-step guide on how to be miserable as a professional musician. A couple of my favorites:

4. Treat the grubby menial/muscle aspects of the profession — driving and repairing vans, hauling gear, arguing with promoters, delivering grinning Gene-Kelly-like performances under punishing or humiliating conditions — as the province of someone else, someone less creative and fragile than yourself. […]

9. Take no time to reflect on who you are, what you do well, and how best to present this to strangers — just do whatever comes to you, which is by definition art, seeing as you are an artist and all.

If you haven’t had the chance to see Fulks in concert, you really should. He puts on one of the best shows you’ll ever see. And he’s recently released a collection of 50 MP3s for $35 or $1 each. I hadn’t heard about it until just now, but I’ll be checking it out. It seems to be an experiment in whether or not “you can sell home-recorded music independently, from a laptop, and make money.” Let’s hope he makes enough to keep recording and touring, because he’s awesome.

MP3: Robbie Fulks – “Believe” (Cher cover from Revenge!, courtesy of Yep Roc)

Robbie Fulks: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Via Idolator.