Americana and alt-country hero Robbie Fulks has reached back to his bluegrass roots for his next album, appropriately titled, Bluegrass Vacation. To support his new songs, he has surrounded himself some of our music’s brightest lights, with support from Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Ronnie McCoury, Tim O’Brien, Alison Brown, John Cowan, Jerry Douglas, and several others.
While most of his fans know Fulks for his clever songwriting, unadorned singing style, and his pioneering the alternative country scene since the 1990s, his first love was the bluegrass he learned from his dad, who taught him guitar as a boy. As a teen he was studying the banjo of Earl Scruggs and the fiddle of John Hartford, and he got his first look at touring as a member of Special Consensus after moving to Chicago in the 1980s.
From there he moved to Nashville and wrote on Music Row for a number of years before striking out on his own as a performer. His recent albums have been moving from jangly electric guitars to a more acoustic sound, and since moving to Los Angeles, has found himself writing in a more bluegrass vein.
As he puts it, “Electric guitars might give way to computers, as seems to be happening now, but the mountains will still be right there.”
A new single drops today, ahead of the album release in April, a song called One Glass of Whiskey. It shows how Robbie sees the community there not for the stereotype so many Americans imagine, but for his own views of hills and quiet mornings while watching horses run.
With Fulks on guitar and lead vocal, the song boasts contributions from Wes Corbett on banjo, Chris Eldridge on guitar, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, Shadd Cobb on fiddle, and Dennis Crouch on bass. John Cowan adds the tenor vocal.
Check it out…
One Glass of Whiskey is available now from popular download and streaming services online. Pre-orders for the full Bluegrass Vacation album, expected April 7 on Compass Records, are enabled online as well.