Alt-Country’s Robbie Fulks Sings of Quiet Desperation


Robbie Fulks
Upland Stories
Bloodshot

Courtesy of Bloodshot Records

During his stellar two-decade-plus career, alt-country mainstay Robbie Fulks has played everything from a smartass provocateur who once serenaded Nashville in the snarky ditty “Fuck This Town” to a reverent curator who celebrated the old masters with the covers album 13 Hillbilly Giants. On the sobering and typically excellent Upland Stories he plays it straight, telling austere tales of quiet desperation and glimmering hope like “Never Come Home” and “America Is a Hard Religion,” which draw inspiration from such literary lights as James Agee and Flannery O’Connor. (No need to worry about Profound Artist Syndrome, however; he couldn’t strike a pretentious note if his life depended on it.) Fulks’ spare acoustic guitar, enhanced by understated fiddle, steel guitar and the like, provide the perfect backdrop for his tender twang of a voice, allowing these thoughtful songs to be experienced in all their empathetic, insightful brilliance.