Fulks returns to roots on "Upland Stories"

Thursday, January 21, 2016 – Robbie Fulks will go back to his roots with his ninth album, "Upland Stories," coming out on April 1 on Bloodshot.

The disc is the follow-up to "Gone Away Backward" in 2013.

The release focuses on Fulks' perspective through literary narrative lenses like James Agee's 1936 trip to Alabama and the resultant novel "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" and tales based in the "upland areas" of Virginia and North Carolina where Fulks grew up. He has lived in Chicago for many years.

Two other songs are based on Agee's trip - "America Is a Hard Religion and "A Miracle."

The dozen-song release also will include "Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals," a folk song from the perspective of a man who has let life's possibilities pass him by, and in "Never Come Home," in which a sick man returns to spend his last days among an unwelcoming clan of pious, hard-bitten Kentuckians.

Fulks received help from Todd Phillips emerged in the 1970s as bassist in David Grisman's and Tony Rice's classic lineups. Frequent Bill Frisell collaborator Jenny Scheinman played violin, as did Shad Cobb. The two Chicagoans on the record are Flatlanders guitarist Robbie Gjersoe and trad-jazz drummer Alex Hall. Guitarist Fats Kaplin and avant-gardist Wayne Horvitz complete the ensemble.

Songs on the CD are:
1. Alabama at Night
2. Baby Rocked Her Dolly
3. Never Come Home
4. Sarah Jane
5. Auny 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

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Upland Stories CD review - Upland Stories
Twenty years ago, Robbie Fulks became a beloved alt.-country figure by writing modern honky tonk and country songs that rose above the work of many other contemporary traditionalists thanks to a combination of sharp wit and engaging storytelling. In 2013, Fulks gained critical acclaim for "Gone Away Backward," an album that took a deeper dive into history by embracing the traditional Appalachian folk music that proved to be country music's bedrock. That exploration continues with »»»
Gone Away Backward CD review - Gone Away Backward
Robbie Fulks is going backwards in more ways that one - not that that's a negative. For starters, he's back with Bloodshot - the label where he released four of his first six albums, but none since "13 Hillbilly Giants' in 2001. Also evident of his coming home feel is that he may hearken back even further to his time with bluegrass band Special Consensus as Fulks opts for an acoustic, often bluegrass sound, sometimes country or folk on these dozen songs. »»»
Revenge! CD review - Revenge!
With a highly regarded live show, it's about time Robbie Fulks finally put out a record of it. Actually, this is a 2-disc, 23-track record that brings together two performances from last year. The first disc, recorded in Champaign, Ill., with Fulks' excellent road band, starts with the new and very funny "We're On the Road," which gets things off to a good-natured, goofy start complete with a fake call from Yep Roc's head telling him he's past due for a new release. »»»