Lots of people hate Charlie Robison, but Charlie Robison is not one of them. Nashville people hate him because he calls that nice little Brad Paisley a fucking moron in interviews and was a really harsh judge on Nashville Star, but Charlie doesn’t care, ’cause he lives in Texas and talked Sony Nashville into putting out a record of him playing live in New Braunfels—on his birthday, no less.
All this texasismo wouldn’t mean a thing if Robison weren’t tearing through some of the best songs of the past 10 years. He scorches the room with the eight-minute murder ballad “Loving County,” tonks it up with his comedy stuff, and shows exactly why Nashville is terrified of his skill, intelligence, charisma, and fuck-y’all attitude. Because who in Music City could play snippets of “Stranglehold” and the Stones like they meant it? Could anyone’s band bounce as hard as the Enablers on the Irish folkenanny “John O’Reilly,” then punch out a Steve Miller/Marley/ Waylon medley without spilling a drop?
And no way would anyone else stretch brother Bruce’s song “Tonight” out to 12 minutes with high school reminiscences about cruising in a 1975 moss-gold Chevy pickup, shotgunning Schaefer, and cranking metal. When Robison starts crooning “You Shook Me All Night Long” to that lazy country beat, you realize he’s the one who will save us all. Unless he’s too hung over.
Mikael Wood’s review of Brad Paisley’s Mud on the Tires