by Robert Bell
After debuting in the mid '90s, he signed with Sony/Columbia and released several rollicking albums that had one foot planted in a hardcore honky-tonk tradition and the other in Hammond-heavy, Allman Brothers-style Southern-rock. Many of his earlier tunes were a bit on the raunchy side, exploring the evergreen themes of girls, partying and hell-raising.
By 2008, his marriage to Dixie Chick Emily Erwin had ended, and though the split was amicable, Robison's pain was evident on his most recent album, 2009's self-produced "Beautiful Day." Unlike other divorce albums — "Hear, My Dear" or "Blood on the Tracks" — "Beautiful Day" sounds wounded and real and without indulging bitterness.
On "Down Again" he recounts the roller coaster feeling familiar to anyone who's been through a bad break-up, while the soaring guitar sounds like a liquor-loosened Richard Thompson stumbled into the studio, grabbed a guitar and let it rip.
Robison is cut from the same stained denim cloth as fellow Texas troubadours Robert Earl Keen (who plays Revolution Sept. 16) Pat Green and Jack Ingram.