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Step Right Up
     

Step Right Up

5.0 1
by Charlie Robison
 

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The world Charlie Robison documents on his powerful sophomore album is not always pretty, but it sure is moving. It's a world where well-meaning, small-town folks trying to get a leg up in life find themselves somehow undermined, and where situational ethics and looking out for No. 1 tend to prevail over fidelity and friendship. The landscape here is defined by the

Overview

The world Charlie Robison documents on his powerful sophomore album is not always pretty, but it sure is moving. It's a world where well-meaning, small-town folks trying to get a leg up in life find themselves somehow undermined, and where situational ethics and looking out for No. 1 tend to prevail over fidelity and friendship. The landscape here is defined by the gritty Texan's ragged, world-weary voice; a roiling fusion of hard country and guitar-driven rock; and populist sympathies. "Desperate Times," a tale of love, crime, and betrayal that plays out over a merciless, white-hot rock arrangement, recounts how an honest cop turns to robbery to make ends meet and then is ratted out by the wife who had spurred him on in the first place. The remarkable and touching country ballad "Wedding Song" features Robison and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines in a startling prenup dialogue, each admitting "whether I ever loved you is not perfectly clear" and basically accepting, a priori, a suburban life of low expectations. Steve Earle, Guy Clark, and Bruce Springsteen are the obvious touchstones here, but Robison is not imitating anyone -- he's the real deal.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael Cusanelli
There was once a time when one could easily identify the roots of country music. English, German, French, Irish, and even African-American influences came together to create this genre. Charlie Robison and his music reflect that time, but he is in no way merely referencing a purer time. He has learned lessons from his ancestors and has truly made his own sound. His rugged good looks and obvious intelligence could easily make him a poster boy for alternative country, but a deeper listen to his third release Step Right Up will reveal much more than a pretty face. The lyrics range from tender to biting to brutal and are delivered with an honesty and wit lost throughout today's country charts. Songs about murder, robbery, and stale love capture the imagination of the listener while always being thoughtful and compassionate. Robison collected a large and varied group of musicians to make this record. Notables include his brother Bruce Robison who contributes his words and his voice, session legend Jim Lauderdale who sings backing vocals, and Robinson's wife Emily Robison (Dixie Chicks) who plays banjo on several tracks. Robison is telling stories in his songs more than he is conveying feelings or desires. This too is a lost tradition from what was country music. "Desperate Times" chronicles the life of a lost Texas youth, and "John O'Reilly" oozes Irish influence with the story of an immigrant in Depression-era America. The album also includes a funny yet sadly true duet with Dixie Chick Natalie Maines called "The Wedding Song." Ultimately, Charlie Robison's Step Right Up demonstrates that sometimes an alternative is where it started in the beginning.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/10/2001
Label:
Sony Mod - Afw Line
UPC:
0074646140420
catalogNumber:
61404
Rank:
248547

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charlie Robison   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Jim Lauderdale   Background Vocals
Joe Chemay   Background Vocals
Rich Brotherton   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Mandola
Pat Buchanan   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Papoose
Gene Elders   Fiddle
David Grissom   Electric Guitar,Baritone,12-string Guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Anthony Martin   Background Vocals
Marty Muse   Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Riley Osborne   Organ,Piano,Clavinet,farfisa organ
Mark Patterson   Drums
Bruce Robison   Background Vocals
Mark Rubin   Tuba
Robby Turner   Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
John Ludwick   Bass,Bass Guitar
Kevin Carroll   Acoustic Guitar
Emily Robison   Banjo
Richard Bowden   Fiddle

Technical Credits

Terry Adams   Composer
Derek Bason   Engineer
Blake Chancey   Producer
Kyle Lehning   Engineer
Charlie Robison   Producer
Chris Rowe   Engineer
Bill Johnson   Art Direction
Melanie Shelley   Groomer
Joe Hayden   Engineer
Tracy Baskette-Fleaner   Art Direction
Tony Castle   Engineer
Phil Crandon   Composer
Mel Eubanks   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Step Right Up 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, if you're fed up with pop country like i am then buy step right up. one highlight track on this album is 'john o'reily' which blends some irish folk with charlie's own style... i wouldn't call charlie country i dont guess... i like him better than alot of other stuff they play on the radio... i think 'the wedding song' is probably a more accurate depiction of marriage alot of times than other depictions of utopian marriages i've heard... it talks about how the dude ain't real happy and how the girl wasn't ready for that commitment but how they're both gonna get by.... and charlie actually is a story teller with his songs and that is something i think country should be more about... oh yeah and he writes his own stuff... charlie is a modern day merle haggard he puts that outlaw sound we all used to love back in country but his music is still balanced i mean it's not all about breaking the law.. and he definitely has his own personal sound too... so if you like merle and george and roger and all the real good stuff then i guess this cd's for you. but if you just like country because it's real nice sweet sounding music then i wouldn't waste my time - that's my review