Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
e forewarned if you've never seen Robbie Fulks live before. First off, the LA-based singer has a slew of high-end material to pick from, creating moods and at times generating a smile. He also has an ultra-keen humorous streak, which he isn't afraid to show through his cracks and stories.
This was not the tried-and-true Fulks, however, when it came to song selection. He bookended the show with the excellent hard country of "Tears Only Run One Way" and the closing mash-up of requested songs "Cigarette State" and the ultra country of "The Buck Starts Here."
In between, Fulks played a few cuts from his album with Linda Gail Lewis (Jerry Lee's sister) – the more bluesy sounding "Memphis Never Falls From Style" and "I Just Lived a Country Song" – along with his take on The Carter Family's "Single Girl, Married Girl."
While Fulks has displayed a definitive raucousness over the years, that was absent for the most part tonight. Instead, Fulks was on the more subdued side with the excellent, quiet "Alabama At Night" among others.
Fulks has not had a new album out since 2019's "16." But that's about to change with a bluegrass-based disc, and he played several songs from the upcoming release. "One Glass of Whiskey" and "Longhair Bluegrass" were well-executed previews.
Fulks showed his bluegrass chops. No surprise given that once upon a time, he was a member of Special Consensus.
Fulks was on stage with violinist Jenny Scheinman, who has enjoyed her own career (she's released nine albums) and been a side player as well for the likes of Rodney Crowell and Madeleine Peyroux. Not only did her playing grow more vibrant as the nearly 100-minute show progressed, but she also came close to matching Fulks' humor and had a turn at singing her own "Brother."
Fulks' humor was ever present, including self-deprecation. Fulks admitted he wrote his only love song, "Sweet As Sweet Comes" as "a love song to my wife. I felt I owed her one in my life." Or describing "That's Where I'm From" as being "about a middle-aged man living in the past" (meaning himself).
Fulks never suffers from taking himself or others too seriously.
This was pretty much a meat-and-potatoes Robbie Fulks show. As he nears 60, Fulks shows sometimes it's good that some things don't change and, in fact, age well.