Bruce Robison

Eleven Stories (Sustain)

SXSW Records

Bruce Robison

Eleven Stories (Sustain)

There's been talk lately about how Nashville has returned to making music that comes from its roots. While that's true, occasionally, with Eleven Stories Austin's Bruce Robison demonstrates how it's done. Of course his bread and butter comes from Music City, with superstars Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, the Dixie Chicks, George Strait, and Garth Brooks recording his songs, but there's a feeling one gets from listening to Eleven Stories that what Robison sings is from the heart and not just some boardroom. Thank the relatively laid-back production that puts his poetry and narratives to the forefront. "All Over but the Cryin'" stands out as near-perfect melding of heartbreak and melodic hook. The sultry "Don't Call It Love," written from a woman's perspective, and the stark "Kitchen Blues" recall the simple, yet direct work of a master like Guy Clark. Robison also includes a couple of select covers. The Grateful Dead's "Tennessee Jed" gets an appropriately dusty reading, while wife Kelly Willis joins in for a soulful reading of Webb Pierce's "More and More." Forget about a couple of hits and a bunch of filler, Robison's assembled a listening experience greater than its parts. Quite simply, it's the best country album of the year. (Friday, March 17, 1am @ 18th Floor at Capitol Plaza)

****

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