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Bruce Robison

Wrapped – 1998 (Boar's Nest)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Bruce Robison

Bruce Robison is one of many artists who got their first national attention on 1995's "Austin Country Nights," and "Wrapped" is the second fine album he's put out since. Robison moves effectively through a varied range of songs, creating what could almost serve as a primer of 25 years of progressive country music.

His significant other, Kelly Willis, joins for a duet on The Louvin Brothers' "When I Loved You" and contributes an excellent song, "Lonely For You", while the other cuts are Robison originals. On sometracks, Robison, like Jack Ingram, seems to mine the '70's turf of Jerry Jeff Walker, though concentrating on J.J's. slower, story-oriented side. The title trac kshows that the styles of Willis and Ingram are not that far apart, as it's easy to imagineeither one cutting it. "12 Bar Blues" sounds like vintage Asleep At The Wheel or Commander Cody.

A song co-written with Jim Lauderdale features the easily recognizable "Lauderdale sound." But Robison's pastiche melds into a solid and individualized body of work, well worth the effort it may take to find a copy.