Black Music Matters Festival

Bruce Robison

It Came From San Antonio – 2007 (Premium)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Bruce Robison

Bruce Robison does music on his terms. He releases an album - this is a seven-song EP - every so often, tours some, sometimes with wife Kelly Willis, and writes songs for others.

While not exactly having a high profile career in his own right, Robison's music remains strong. He always sings well, with sufficient grit to avoid being overly smooth and certainly avoids being tagged a songwriter who writes great songs, but can't really sing them. He easily infuses songs the right sense of tenderness (the slower "My Baby Now" where strings really adds a lot).

The buoyant "Lifeline" is aided by Willis on harmony vocals, as is the much softer, acoustic-driven "What Makes You Say."

While not a hard-core Texas two stepping kind of guy musically, Robison adds Dobro and other elements through ("Anywhere But Here" is the strongest country song among the seven). The retro British, keyboard infused title track is the only song with a lot of electric guitar, and it cooks.

Robison is a fine songwriter with a sense of what will work. He tends to keep it quite simple musically with the vocals ever prominent. And he changes up tempos and choice of instruments as well to maintain a highly listenable disc. The First Family of country music (remember brother Charlie and two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks are related) once again does itself proud.