Charlie Robison/Jack Ingram/Bruce Robison
Unleashed Live (Lucky Dog)
It was undoubtedly a sweaty night at Gruene Hall when these Hill Country troubadours got together to record this 12-song disc; the Brothers Robison dominate the first eight songs, while Ingram takes his turn on the four closers. Charlie Robison's grittier vocals are unmistakable when he kicks in on brother Bruce's desolate "Rayne, Louisiana." Bruce, meanwhile, warms things up nicely on "Red Letter Day," but his sibling inevitably ups the ante with his compelling hit "My Hometown" (sure it sounds like Steve Earle, but there are a lot worse people to emulate). The band simmers nicely on every song, with that Hammond B-3 organ set to a low boil on the back burner. Clean-scrubbed Ingram isn't afraid to let his voice get a bit ragged live, which makes him sound much more convincing than on his studio efforts. "Mustang Burn" ("ain't none of my concern") evokes a bitter grin, while "Barbie Doll," regarding a certain type of girl, leaves Ingram's frat-boy contemporaries like Pat Green and Owen Temple choking on his dust. This disc nicely sums up post-Robert Earl Keen songwriting, happily revealing a scene beginning to mature.