Monday, September 11, 2023
– Texas country singer Charlie Robison died at a San Antonio hospital on Sunday at 59 following heart complications
Robison was born Sept. 1, 1964 in Houston and grew up in Bandera, Texas as a sixth generation Texan. He was the brother of fellow musicians Bruce Robison and Robyn Ludwick.
Robison began playing music with Bruce at age 15, playing bass in a local band. "All that was left was drums," Robison said in a 1998 interview with Country Standard Time. "So I got my grandmother to buy me a set of drums...Bandera was so small that you just had to play what was needed."
His upbringing gave him fodder for songs, he said. "Especially in Bandera - Texas just in general - if you grew up in a small town, you get to know a lot of characters, and Texas is great about storytelling and passing things down. Your grandparents, your great-grandmother late at night would tell stories about whoever this crazy guy was or drunk guy or Indians, so storytelling was just such a big part of my growing up that it just seemed like a natural progression for your songs to be more story-oriented."
Charlie Robison went to Austin in the late 1980s and played in the bands Chaparral, Millionaire Playboys and Two Hoots and a Holler.
He went solo with his album "Bandera" in 1996 on Viero Records. He went to Nashville and signed a record deal with Warner. Robison recorded a whole record, but the music was never released. Robison said the label wanted him to change styles.
He later inked a deal with Sony and released "Life of the Party" on Sony's subsidiary Lucky Dog Records in 1998. The release yielded three singles, "Bar Light," My Hometown" and "Poor Man's Son," which all reached the 60s of the Billboard country chart.
In 2000, he released "Unleashed Live," a live album with Jack Ingram and his brother Bruce.
Robison was back on his own for "Step Right Up" on Columbia in 2001 and "Live" two years ago.
That same year, he was a judge on the first season of the TV country singing competition Nashville Star.
Robison switched gears and went the indie label route, signing with Dualtone and putting out "Good Times" in 2004. Dulaton released "Beautiful Day" in 2009, which found him self-producing.
After releasing "High Life" in 2013, Robison never released another album.
In 2018, he announced that due to complications from surgery, he was permanently unable to sing.
"It's been an amazing ride, and I cannot tell you all what the last 25 years has meant to me. I was looking forward to another 25, but as they say "shit happens". I thank you all for everything you've given me and I hope I was able to give you a fraction of the happiness you gave me. It was a hell of a ride but as they say all good things must end. Keep on supporting this thing we call Texas/Red dirt and hopefully we'll all get to have a cocktail or two and talk about the good ol days. Until then, Buenos Noches. It's been fun. Love each and every one of y'all," he said in a message.
However, last year, he started playing again, touring for the first time in four years.
Robison married Emily Erwin of The Chicks in May 1999. They had three children before divorcing in 2008. He and his second wife had a son in February 2020.