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Robison, Fullbright, Kamel create wonderful musics

The Paramount Theatre, Austin, April 6, 2024

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

The Next Waltz, the brainchild of Texas country music veteran Bruce Robison, is not your typical concert. Like its reference point – The Last Waltz – the artists on the bill came and went and came again. On this night, Robison was joined by the most excellent Oklahoma performer John Fullbright and Tony Kamel.

Each artist enjoyed their own face time on the stage at the gorgeous theatre, while also having the chance to play together.

Robison is a tried-and-true performer. He's always been a sharp songwriter. His take on "Travelin' Soldier," about a young waitress whose soldier goes off to war and dies in Viet Nam, is always sad. Tonight was no different with Robison's baritone commanding the song.

He offered his take on "Wrapped," a song of his that became a hit for George Strait. Robison, who has enjoyed much success as a songwriter, yet again showed himself to be a worthy artist in his own rite.

Robison paid tribute to his late brother, Charlie, who died of a heart attack at 59 last September. He talked openly about missing his brother, while playing "Sunset Boulevard." He would have made Charlie proud.

Robison kept the family connection going by bringing out his son, Joseph, to take lead vocals on "Carousel" in his very first public performance. He drew extended applause, deservedly so.

Kamel, front man of Austin band Wood & Wire, came out at one point during Robison's set, and his soulful delivery of "Slow on the Gulf" rang true. The comings and goings of the artists made for a lower key concert, but did not diminish the enjoyment.

About the only complaint on Robison's portion of the show was that he did not have enough time on the stage, clocking in at about. 70 minutes.

The real standout – no slight to Robison or Kamel - tonight was Fullbright, who is on the folk end of Americana. Unfortunately, for most of the musical world, Fullbright has not been the most prolific artist as he has released four albums in 15 years. He is not a heavy duty road machine either, pretty much sticking to his home state of Oklahoma and Texas. Too bad.

Fullbright started on acoustic guitar, blowing some harp to add muscle to his material. Later, he would switch to piano and showcased himself as one excellent pianist with enough flair without being over the top. He mixed it up enough musically as well, going spiritual on one song.

Fullbright lit it up with his intense reading of "Gasoline"

It all came together exquisitely on the last song of the regular set with Fullbright tackling Hoyt Axton's hit, "I've Never Been to Spain." With Robison on backing vocals, Fullbright took full general in a rousing version of the chestnut.

Well-conceived by Robison, whether together or alone, Fullbright, Kamel and the host created a wonderful night of music.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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