Bruce Robison has been making music professionally for decades. He still discusses his craft with so much enthusiasm he sounds almost like a kid raving about superheroes. That infectious energy is evident in every note of his new album, Bruce Robison & the Back Porch Band, as well as his new project, The Next Waltz, a blossoming community of artists, fans and friends gathering both virtually and at his recording studio in Lockhart, just outside of Austin.
In both cases, the point is to celebrate country musics rich traditions while giving creativity free rein to go where it might, as long as its somewhere worth traveling. Its also about celebrating Robisons love of the craft of song.
Writing is where it all starts for me, he explains. Whether its my writing, or songs I want to do with somebody else. I love the mechanics of it; how simple it can be.
Kelly Willis is Back Being Blue, to take a color-coded cue from the title of her seventh album. Its a shade she wears well, though long-patient fans might just say: You had us at back. They'll take a new Willis record in whatever hue it comes, now that its been 11 years since her last solo release, 2007s Translated from Love. The Austin-based singer/songwriter has hardly been MIA in the intervening years, having recorded and toured as part of a duo with Bruce Robison. But she's setting the duet Mm.Oo. aside for do-it-alone mode, at least as far as the spotlight is concerned. (Robison hovers just outside it this time, as producer.). Hers is a solo voice again, but its not necessarily motto voce: This is an album of songs about lonesomeness that also happens to be a cracklingly good time.