Fulks returns home
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
– Robbie Fulks is going home. The one-time Bloodshot Records label artist will return to the Chicago-based country roots label with a release due in August.
"Gone Away Backward" drops Aug. 27. The 12-song album - and his first on the label since 2001 - was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, The Breeders) at Electrical Audio in Chicago, and will be available on CD/LP/digital.
"As opposed to this idea that I'm 'coming back to Bloodshot' (the verb 'crawling' has also been muttered behind sleeves) I don't feel like I ever left," said Fulks with his trademark humor. "For sure, I never slammed the door behind me in proud, valedictory defiance. Well, not since 1997 anyhow. Since then, I've co-released two records with them ("Very Best of [me]" in 1999 and "13 Hillbilly Giants" in 2001), doing separate runs on my imprint and theirs. I used their retail distribution network and other resources on "Couples in Trouble" in 2001. I contributed to compilations they put out in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006, and played for their 15th anniversary in 2011. Also in '11 they helped me market my little tribute to Michael Jackson."
"Most people would pick 'Put out a Michael Jackson tribute record' as the best definitive answer to the question, 'How do I make Bloodshot Records go away?' However, Bloodshot Records won't go away. I see them at shows and seminars and parties and, in the case of Rob (part owner Rob Miller), wherever liquor is sold. When I go down to the Bloodshot office to buy records from my catalogue, there they are. Bloodshot. One reason I see Nan and Rob with some frequency is that we live in the same general area. Chicago is a big place, but the country music community is quite small. When you exclude style-hopping working stiffs who occasionally slap on Stetsons,and the usual corporately polished radio-imitation nonsense, there's maybe 10 of us. No, there's 9 - Kelly [Hogan] went to Wisconsin. So fate has really thrown us into the same cramped cauldron. Not a bad place to be at all. At this point, I think we're kind of impressed, with each other and ourselves, that we're still in the game; the smart money 20 years ago was on our being wards of the state by now."
The disc features Mike Bub (banjo, bass fiddle, vocals), Robbie Gjersoe (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Jenny Scheinman (fiddle) and Ron Spears (bass fiddle, mandolin, vocals).
Songs on the CD are:
I'll Trade You Money for Wine
Where I Fell
Long I Ride
That's Where I'm From
When You Get to the Bottom
Snake Chapman's Tune
Sometimes the Grass is Really Greener
Guess I Got It Wrong
The Many Disguises of God
Rose of the Summer
Fulks, 50, released 1 album on Geffen ("Let's Kill Saturday Night" in 1998) and three on Yep Roc.
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Gone Away Backward
Robbie Fulks is going backwards in more ways that one - not that that's a negative. For starters, he's back with Bloodshot - the label where he released four of his first six albums, but none since "13 Hillbilly Giants' in 2001. Also evident of his coming home feel is that he may hearken back even further to his time with bluegrass band Special Consensus as Fulks opts for an acoustic, often bluegrass sound, sometimes country or folk on these dozen songs. »»»
With a highly regarded live show, it's about time Robbie Fulks finally put out a record of it. Actually, this is a 2-disc, 23-track record that brings together two performances from last year.
The first disc, recorded in Champaign, Ill., with Fulks' excellent road band, starts with the new and very funny "We're On the Road," which gets things off to a good-natured, goofy start complete with a fake call from Yep Roc's head telling him he's past due for a new release. »»»
Robbie Fulks' reputation as an insurgent might provide an ironic clash to this record's commercial sound, if the sound wasn't a 30-year throwback. The singer who once penned "Fuck This Town," appears to have reconsidered Music City, and poured himself into a truly fine set of country songs. From the tight bluegrass harmonies and Sam Bush's mandolin trimmings on the opener, to the String Machine ballad "Leave it to a Loser," Fulks connects with the heart and soul of Nashville's mid-'70s commercial country sound. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk
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