Out today, Robbie Fulks offers a witty and autobiographical take on the bluegrass festival scene of the mid 1970s with “Longhair Bluegrass,” the second track from his upcoming album Bluegrass Vacation (out April 7 via Compass Records).
Reminiscing about the newgrass festivals of his youth, Fulks writes: “While Mom and Daddy were getting’ fried, I was sittin’ there with my eyeballs wide,” describing the music as a “Hypno-ray, stealin’ my mind away.” Original Newgrass Revival members Sam Bush (mandolin/harmony vocals) and John Cowan (vocals) join Fulks on the track as well as banjoist Alison Brown who channels John Hartford for good measure.
Stream/Download “Longhair Bluegrass” here.
Listen via YouTube here.
Pre-Order/Pre-Save Bluegrass Vacation here.
Fulks gained immediate recognition from Bluegrass Today and No Depression for the upbeat lead single “One Glass Of Whiskey.” Driven by Wes Corbett’s banjo, powered by Ronnie McCoury’s mandolin, along with Chris Eldridge’s guitar — the track is worthy of becoming a standard in the bluegrass genre. Written shortly after his move to Los Angeles in 2019, the song is a “contradiction of the stereotypical view of LA,” says Fulks, ditching the common pre-conceived notion of palm trees, beaches, and traffic for Fulks’s more serene reality of porch side mornings, mountain vistas, and running horses.
While bluegrass music has always been a part of Fulks’s musical vision, Bluegrass Vacation marks his first full-length bluegrass endeavor. The album combines Fulks’s brilliance with some of bluegrass’ greatest names including Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Ronnie McCoury, Tim O’Brien, Alison Brown, John Cowan, and Jerry Douglas resulting in one of the most remarkable bluegrass albums of the century. Bluegrass Vacation proves that this is much more than a musical detour for Fulks.
In the end, Fulks plants his flag firmly in the bluegrass tradition, a genre that built the stepping stones Fulks walks on today. He muses, “Electric guitars might give way to computers, as seems to be happening now, but the mountains will still be right there.” It’s abundantly clear that Bluegrass Vacation is more than just a musical dalliance for Fulks. He owns the music as much as it owns him and the listener is left hoping that this bluegrass vacation will end up becoming a staycation.
Bluegrass Vacation Tracklisting:
“One Glass Of Whiskey”
“Molly And The Old Man”
“Lonely Ain’t Hardly Alive”
“Angels Carry Me”
“Sweet Li’l Cora-Mae”
“Let The Old Dog In”
“Old Time Music Is Here To Stay”
Robbie Fulks’s adventurous spirit has defined a critically acclaimed 30-year career that has included 15 solo albums and two GRAMMY® nominations. He came to national attention as a defining artist of the alt-country scene in the 1990s, with releases on the Chicago-based indie Bloodshot Records, North Carolina’s Yep Roc, and Los Angeles’s Geffen Records. While Fulks’s aversion to genre constraints and conventions has sometimes made him hard to pigeonhole, American country music, in the widest sense, is his home base — whether the country of Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Merle Haggard, Bobby Charles, or Mississippi John Hurt. For the last ten years, he has focused on his writing and performing with homespun tales and acoustic instruments.
Tickets on sale now for his spring tour in the following cities:
Friday, April 14: Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
Saturday, April 15: Charlotte, NC – The Evening Muse
Sunday, April 16: Charlestown, WV – Mountain Stage
Tuesday, April 18: Vienna, VA – Jammin Java
Wednesday, April 19: Wayne, PA – 118 North
Thursday, April 20: Metuchen, NJ – Old Franklin Schoolhouse
Friday, April 21:Cambridge, MA – Club Passim
Saturday, April 22: Northampton, MA – Parlor Room
Sunday, April 23: New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
Friday, April 28: Walla Walla, WA – Echolands Winery
Saturday, April 29: Portland, OR – Polaris Hall
Sunday, April 30: Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern
Thursday, May 4: Columbus, OH – Natalie’s
Friday, May 5: Indianapolis, IN – Duke’s
Saturday, May 6: Nashville, TN – The Station Inn
Tuesday, May 9: Evanston, IL – Tues Night Sociopath Club
Wednesday, May 10: Minneapolis, MN – The Cedar Cultural Center
Thursday, May 11: Madison, WI – Kiki’s
Friday, May 12: Milwaukee, WI – Colectivo
Saturday, May 13: Evanston, IL – SPACE
Thursday, May 18: Berkeley, CA – Freight and Salvage
Friday, May 19: Sacramento, CA – Goldfield Trading Post
Saturday, May 20: Los Angeles, CA – Hotel Cafe
Wednesday, June 14: Fort Worth, TX – The Post at River East
Thursday, June 15: San Antonio, TX – Sam’s Burger Joint