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Bruce Robison


Sir Doug and Sam the Sham are back in the saddle! Well, certainly in spirit, and for proof look no further than the opening and title track on Lone Star singer/songwriter Bruce Robison's new EP, It Came From San Antonio. It might as well be Augie Meyers himself tickling the organ keys on the intro as Robison and a band of Austin studio stalwarts (a group that includes Robison's wife, Kelly Willis, on harmony vocals) launch into a rollicking tribute to the South Texas meets Mersey Beat sound that took Top 40 airwaves by storm during the mid-1960s.

Bruce Robison

Truth to tell, however, the seven-song collection is a loose, homespun affair that finds Robison mostly in country-soul balladeer mode. It's a comfortable niche indeed for the chart champion tunesmith, an unlikely hit machine who's penned bestsellers for George Strait, the Dixie Chicks, Lee Ann Womack, Tim McGraw, Gary Allan, Faith Hill, and others. Unlikely hit machine? First of all, that's because Robison operates outside of the Music City limits, not to mention the fact that his finely wrought story songs resonate with a can't-be-faked, genuine vibe that's often missing from the tag team, songwriting-by-number product churned out by the pound in Tennessee.

Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis

"When It Rains," "Lifeline," and "Anywhere But Here," a trio of wistful, mid tempo rustic rockers that glide on supple, melodic wings and surging refrains, rank alongside anything Robison has done to date. "My Baby Now," a lilting piano ballad, evokes Gram Parsons and Harry Nilsson with its delicate air of raw vulnerability and pure, unadulterated lonesome. At every point along the way, Robison's lived-in, everyman voice and tale spinning acumen keep a listener's attention focused on the matters at hand. There's a no bull intimacy about his artistically sturdy and commercially savvy approach that clicks on all cylinders.

You gotta believe that Sir Doug would heartily approve.
• Mike Thomas

Bruce Robison

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Our thanks to Amy Herold for these photographs. To dig what's up in Amy's universe, visit amyherold.com. (Her
site is under construction today but much is coming soon.)

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