Robbie Fulks- Upland Stories

Read our review of Upland Stories by Robbie Fulks


Robbie Fulks – photo Andy Goodwin

Robbie Fulks will release his ninth album Upland Stories on April 1 2016 (Bloodshot Records).  The album is his first since the excellent Gone Away Backward in 2013 (read my review).

Fulks has always been a rich and resounding singer and a writer with more than average insight and humour.  Upland Stories continues the trend, with plenty of philosophy and mindfulness as he explores novelist James Agee and his trek to Alabama in 1936 which led to his book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.  The album also features stories around the “upland” parts of Virginia and North Carolina (where Fulks grew up).

robbie fulks upland stories.jpg


Here’s one of the songs inspired by Agee (and the album opener) ‘Alabama Nights’



‘Never Come Home’ has a sober, baritone melody about a sick man spending his final days in a hostile small town:

“one man’s struggles are his own

this land is run down and ragged

I should never have come home”

‘Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals’ is full of regret about lost opportunities, while the banjo-laden ‘America is a Hard Religion’ is a whooping old-time song that is hard to ignore with lines like – “not just anyone can enter”, “trials to test our hearts”, “some never do surrender”.   There’s also ‘The Miracle’ with its jazz overlay and profound perception.

A hot-shot cast accompanies Fulks on Upland Stories.  Todd Phillips is on bass (played with David Grisman and Tony Rice), frequent Bill Frisell collaborator Jenny Scheinman played violin, as did Shad Cobb (Osborne Brothers, Steve Earle, Willie Nelson).  Flatlanders’ guitarist Robbie Gjersoe, jazz drummer Alex Hall, string guru Fats Kaplin and Wayne Horvitz fill the rest of the studio seats.

He’s folk, bluegrass and traditional in style.  He’s articulate, edgy and incisive in word.

Robbie Fulks continues his fine form in Upland Stories and that is a high standard indeed.

Available for pre-order now


Upland Stories Track List

1. Alabama at Night
2. Baby Rocked Her Dolly
3. Never Come Home
4. Sarah Jane
5. Aunt Peg’s New Old Man
6. Needed
7. South Bend Soldiers On
8. America Is a Hard Religion
9. A Miracle
10. Sweet As Sweet Comes
11. Katy Kay
12. Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals


Via Bloodshot Records


Read our review of Upland Stories by Robbie Fulks


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Author: Rob Dickens

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