founding father of the alt-country scene and roots music icon, Robbie Fulks releases his new 12-track album, Bluegrass Vacation, via Compass Records. Arriving on a wave of praise from the likes of Bluegrass Today, Holler and No Depression, Fulks’s clever, insightful and irreverent musicianship is ever present on this record.
While bluegrass music has always been a part of Fulks’s musical vision, Bluegrass Vacation marks his first full-length bluegrass endeavor. The album combines Fulk’s brilliance with some of bluegrass’ greatest names including Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Ronnie McCoury, Tim O’Brien, Alison Brown, John Cowan, and Jerry Douglas resulting in one of the most remarkable bluegrass albums of the century. Bluegrass Vacation proves that this is much more than a musical detour for Fulks.
Fulks gained immediate recognition from Bluegrass Today
and No Depression
for the upbeat lead single “One Glass Of Whiskey.”
Driven by Wes Corbett
’s banjo, powered by Ronnie McCoury
’s mandolin, along with Chris Eldridge
’s guitar—the track is worthy of becoming a standard in the bluegrass genre. Written shortly after his move to Los Angeles in 2019, the song is a “contradiction of the stereotypical view of LA,” says Fulks, ditching the common pre-conceived notion of palm trees, beaches, and traffic for Fulks’s more serene reality of porch side mornings, mountain vistas, and running horses.
Robbie Fulks offers a witty and autobiographical take on the bluegrass festival scene of the mid 1970s with the second single from the record, “Longhair Bluegrass,” its release being spotlighted by Grateful Web. Reminiscing about the newgrass festivals of his youth, Fulks writes: “While Mom and Daddy were gettin’ fried, I was sittin’ there with my eyeballs wide,” describing the music as a “Hypno-ray, stealin’ my mind away.” Original Newgrass Revival members Sam Bush (mandolin/harmony vocals) and John Cowan (vocals) join Fulks on the track as well as banjoist Alison Brown who channels John Hartford for good measure.
In the end, Fulks plants his flag firmly in the bluegrass tradition, a genre that built the stepping stones Fulks walks on today. He muses, “Electric guitars might give way to computers, as seems to be happening now, but the mountains will still be right there.” It’s abundantly clear that Bluegrass Vacation is more than just a musical dalliance for Fulks. He owns the music as much as it owns him and the listener is left hoping that this bluegrass vacation will end up becoming a staycation. TRACKLIST:1. One Glass Of Whiskey 2. Molly And The Old Man 3. Lonely Ain’t Hardly Alive 4. Angels Carry Me 5. Longhair Bluegrass 6. Backwater Blues 7. Sweet Li’l Cora Mae 8. Silverlake Reel 9. Momma’s Eyes 10. Nashville Blues 11. Let The Old Dog In 12. Old Time Music Is Here To Stay