John Fullbright’s “Social Skills” Blurs Lines Between Humorous Lyrics And Serious Self-Reflection

Article Contributed by IVPR | Published on Friday, September 16, 2022

While straightforward songwriting certainly has its place in every last genre of music, it's the sneaky, or clever, or “is this a joke or not?” kind of tunes that can really leave a lasting mark on discerning listeners. John Fullbright’s new single, “Social Skills,” is a striking example of the GRAMMY-nominated musician’s deviously masterful songcraft; combining deeply funny lyrics with a distressed delivery that leaves listeners confused about whether or not they’re supposed to laugh. “Social Skills” rides a thumping, straightforward rock groove while Fullbright links line after line of what its like to lean on one vice or another—or all of them—to cope with a lack of, you guessed it, social skills. The song’s catchy refrain is repeatedly delivered with a sing along tinge, but it’s a devastatingly honest confession from its writer: “So I drink this gin and I take these pills, just because I don’t have social skills.”

The public at large hasn’t heard much from Fullbright since his critically lauded album Songs; a chasm of eight years that seemed unthinkable for someone with so much hype—including a GRAMMY nod, an Americana Music Association Emerging Artist nomination, and awards from ASCAP and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame—surrounding his early career. “It’s been a process of learning how to be in a community of musicians and less focusing on the lone, depressed songwriter…just playing something that has a beat and is really fun,” Fullbright says. On September 30th, Fullbright is set to end the dry spell with the release of his new LP, The Liar, opening up his newfound trust in musical collaboration for the world to hear. “That’s not to say there are no songs on this record where I depart from that because there are, but there's also a band with an opinion. And that part is new to me.”

Fans can hear “Social Skills” now at this link, check out the previously-released singles “Paranoid Heart” here and “Poster Child” here, and pre-order or pre-save The Liar ahead of its release right here. A full list of Fullbright’s tour dates can be found below or at

More About The Liar: The Liar was recorded at Steve and Charlene Ripley’s farm-to-studio compound in northeastern Oklahoma. After Steve’s passing, Charlene flirted with the idea of selling the studio property, so Fullbright mobilized quickly to ensure he was able to record there before it changed hands. He threw together a band made up of, as Fullbright calls them, “the usual suspects.” Anyone fleetingly familiar with Oklahoma music will recognize the roster, which includes Jesse Aycock, Aaron Boehler, Paul Wilkes, Stephen Lee, and Paddy Ryan, all of whom are in more bands than seems possible. Along with a few more friends stopping in to lay down takes, they finished the songs and tracked the album with engineer Jason Weinheimer in a whirlwind four days.

“It was such a collaborative thing with some really cool voices,” Fullbright said, expressing surprise at the ease of the process. “It's just like playing music in Tulsa. Everybody kind of does whatever they do, and it works.”

The grab-and-go momentum landed Fullbright in the studio with some old songs (“Unlocked Doors” also appeared on 2009’s Live at the Blue Door), some new, and some unfinished, making his newfound trust in musical collaboration essential to the arrangements and reflected fully on the final album. The Liar, as a result, utilizes emotional and instrumental dynamics in ways Fullbright hasn’t allowed himself to explore fully before. There’s a noticeable slack here, an indulgent instrumental break there, and the general feeling that the tight-lipped John Fullbright who agonized over the writing process and then hesitated to talk about the meanings behind his songs in the past has eased up.

“What rules didn’t I have?” Fullbright says about his former songwriting self. “Even like, how many syllables were in a line, I had arbitrary rules for. So much of that has gone out the door, and I’m so much happier. It’s really just the idea that you don’t have to do this by yourself. It’s so much more fun to collaborate.”

The Liar Tracklist:

Bearden, 1645

Paranoid Heart


The Liar

Unlocked Doors

Where We Belong

Social Skills



Poster Child

Safe To Say


Catch John Fullbright On Tour:

September 17 - Nashville, TN - AMERICANAFEST 2022

September 23 - Santa Monica, CA - McCabe’s Guitar Shop

September 25 - Glen Ellen, CA - Jack London State Park

September 30 - Oklahoma City, OK - Blue Door (sold out)

October 1 - Oklahoma City, OK - Blue Door (sold out)

October 2 -  Tulsa, OK - Fassler Hall

October 7 - Dallas, TX - The Kessler Theater

October 8 - Austin, TX - C-Boys Heart & Soul

October 9 - The Woodlands, TX - Dosey Doe

October 13 - Kansas, OK - Bushyhead Farm Fall Festival

October 23 - Pittsburgh, KS - Mountain Stage

October 26 - Fayetteville, AR - George’s Majestic Lounge

October 27 - Little Rock, AR - Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack

October 28 - Memphis, TN - B-Side

October 29 - Nashville, TN - The Bluebird Cafe

October 30 - Decatur, GA - Eddie’s Attic

November 17 - New York, NY - Rockwood Music Hall

November 20 - Fall River, MA - Narrows Center for the Arts

December 1 - Dallas, TX - Poor David’s Pub

December 2 - Austin, TX - The Saxon Pub

December 3 - La Grange, TX - The Bugle Boy

December 4 - Houston, TX - McGonigel’s Mucky Duck

December 5 - San Antonio, TX - Sam’s Burger Joint