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Charlie Robison

Beautiful Day – 2009 (Dualtone)

Reviewed by Jason MacNeil

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CDs by Charlie Robison

You know you're in a minority when you can call your ex-wife a Dixie Chick, but Charlie Robison is dealing with that reality in his new album. And while it's not exactly a happy-go-lucky album despite the amicable split, Robison, with the help of guitarist Charlie Sexton, puts a slightly cheery take on things with the poppy, chipper Beautiful Day. Unfortunately, Yellow Blues resembles a poor man's take of Steve Earle's I Feel Alright.

The strength of the album comes from the pain and coping with the break-up, and this is exemplified perfectly in the slower blues-tinged ballad Down Again. Meanwhile, tunes like the stellar Nothin' Better To Do and Feelin' Good have a great Southern charm to them.

Perhaps the surprise is how lovely If The Rain Don't Stop comes off, with Robison sounding as if he's covering a tune by Cajun fiddle maestro Doug Kershaw. But after a rambling, rollicking She's So Fine, Robison pushes the envelope with a cover of Springsteen's Racing In The Street. And here is where Robison shines yet again.

The old adage is that every cloud has a silver lining, and if anything good came of the split, it has to be this very fine album.