Saturday, September 08, 2007

Robbie Fulks and Grant Tye

Robbie Fulks and Grant Tye
Originally uploaded by Bob Rhubart
I have never heard a Robbie Fulks song I didn't like, but I had not had a chance to see him perform before his extraordinary set on the Black Swamp stage last night.

Fulks brings an impressive literary wit to material that is deeply rooted in the music of Buck Owens, Ernest Tubb, Faron Young, and of course, Hank Williams. If Hank had a Masters in Literature, he'd be Robbie Fulks.

Fulks's perfect voice, elegant wordplay, unshakably catchy tunes, and interplay with his band adds up to great show that never loses its relaxed yet inexorable pace.

Backing Fulks was one of the best 3-piece bands you'll likely to hear, featuring the astonishingly tasty work of guitarist Grant Tye. Tye, playing a battle-worn Stratocaster, squeezed out rapid-fire chicken-pickin' licks, liquid steel guitar whines, and whammy bar quavers with the ease of a man who, one suspects, never puts the instrument down. He's the kind of player that makes me want to pile my gear up in the yard and have a bonfire.

Fulks and company are more fun and more musical than is probably legal in many Red States. Nashville needs Robbie Fulks far more than Fulks needs Nashville.

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