Robbie Fulks – Gone Away Backward

by Chuck Dauphin

robbie-fulks-goneI understand the term “Americana,” but at the same time I have to say that I don’t quite get it. I know it refers to a musical style that is outside of the mainstream – but over the years, the music of one Robbie Fulks has always struck me as very much Country. Now, there are times that he might use a word here or there that radio would shoot down in a heartbeat, but Fulks has always been more “Country” than most of what falls under the definition of the genre.

Alas, that is from a mainstream point of view. Compared with three-quarters of the top twenty, Fulks does paint outside the lines a lot, so his longtime fan faithful will be more than happy that the singer has returned with one of his most musically even projects that he has released in some time.

Kicking off with the brilliant “I’ll Trade You Money For Wine,” you’ll see what I mean. How in the world, with such brilliant lyrics, vocals, and fiddle work from Jenny Scheinman , can this not just be looked at as a Country song? I know. You don’t need to explain it to me. But, I digress. The next cut, “Where I Fell,” is perhaps the best piece of songwriting on the disc, where Fulks paints a nostalgic picture of life as it was – before contrasting it with a present that is far from it. He also can get sad in a jiffy, as he does on the aching tones of “When You Get To The Bottom.”

From cut to cut, this is a very cohesive piece of work – one that should let the world know that Robbie Fulks is back. From a stylistic level, the nods to Bluegrass here work very well, especially “Long I Ride” and “Sometimes The Grass Is Really Greener.” Robbie Fulks has always marched to his own drumbeat, and this album is no exception. That’s a good thing, because as one Jackie Gleason used to say, “How Sweet It Is.” Still, this is Country Music, at least to my ears!

For more information, log on to www.RobbieFulks.com

 

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