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Bruce Robison & the Back Porch Band

Bruce Robison & the Back Porch Time – 2017 (Motel Time)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Bruce Robison & the Back Porch Band

The songs on "Bruce Robison & the Back Porch Band" album sound nearly as natural as a spontaneous outside guitar pull. Robison is so good, he makes this music appear easy and effortless. But don't be fooled; there's true country music greatness at work here.

The album opens with "Rock and Roll Honky Tonk Ramblin' Man," kind of a chip off the old Merle Haggard block, "Honky Tonk Night Time Man." However, the "Rock & Roll" in the song title doesn't signal this album's stylistic direction. No, this is traditional, through and through, even with its cover version of rock titans, The Who's "Squeezebox."

The album is mostly lighthearted, although there are exceptions. The hellacious "Lake of Fire," for instance, tells of a burning love that's far darker than Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." And then sadness is bitterly expressed on "Sweet Dreams," where Robison reminds us, "Sweet dreams are never what they seem." This song begins will the killer couplet: "Slow down the sweetest song/And you'll find where it went long." Wow! See how deceptively good Robison is? He just sneaks that genius wordplay into a seemingly simple love song, which isn't nearly as simple as it appears on the surface.

Robison closes with another honky tonk song, "Still Doin' Time (In A Honky Tonk Prison)," where he reveals the painful life of a honky tonk man trying to drink away his heartbreak. This prison is where "a man ain't forgiven," which is a mental jail cell from which there is no escape.

The songs on this project are so good, they oughta make you wanna be a fly on Bruce Robison's front porch.