High Life (Jetwell)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Nov. 29, 2013
Charlie RobisonHigh Life (Jetwell)
Four years have passed since Charlie Robison's post-divorce album Beautiful Day. While the songs on High Life were all written by others, the Bandera native claims he's written enough of his own new compositions to fill two albums. Nevertheless, High Life shows sides of Robison's persona that have been elusive. For one, he apparently always wanted to be a member of the Band, pulling off a rollicking version of Robbie Robertson's "Look Out Cleveland" and nodding towards Levon Helm with a rustic reading of Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece." Elsewhere it's a family affair with a high-revved "Brand New Me" composed by brother Bruce, and a couple of cuts from his sister Robyn Ludwick, including the haunting "Monte Carlo." There's also boisterous Tex-Mex via Doug Sahm's "Nuevo Laredo" and Ry Cooder's "The Girls From Texas." At nine tracks, High Life feels too brief, but it's never less than rousing.