The New World (Premium)
Reviewed by Dan Oko, Fri., Sept. 19, 2008
Bruce RobisonThe New World (Premium)
On the strength of Bruce Robison's continued Nashville successes (most recently "Wrapped," a 2007 George Strait single) and his way with a phrase, it's tempting to consider this Bandera boy and Austin resident a songwriter's songwriter. One spin across the sawdust-coated dance floor of his latest, The New World, demonstrates that Robison should be considered a performer on par with the likes of Kris Kristofferson and Guy Clark. The stripped-down production puts Robison's voice and lyrics front and center, and while that may be a great way to showcase his songs for Music Row, the crisp, clean sound and pace offer their own rewards, 10 songs in 35 minutes breezing by in the slo-mo blur of the Broken Spoke on a hot Saturday night. Featuring Willie Nelson's longtime partners in crime Mickey Raphael and Paul English, as well as a who's who of local all-stars – everyone from Lloyd Maines and the Grooveline Horns to Soulhat's Kevin McKinney and Li'l Cap'n Travis' Gary Newcomb – Robison's crack sessionistas hit the nail on the head with the talking blues of "The Hammer." Things keep rolling right on through in a balmy mood, through heartfelt thigh-slappers such as "Only," the gentle build and roots sway of "Bad Girl Blues," jaunty "California 85" and suede-smooth "The New One," and lost-love album closer "Echo." Upbeat floor-crowder "Twistin'" swings a mainstream country hit like a Louisville Slugger. This World finds Robison at his creative peak.