alt country fitzgerald's

Robbie Fulks at Fitzgerald's: Good, Pure Music

Saturday, April 18, 2015 Cora

Alt-country star Robbie Fulks performed last night at Fitzgerald’s Nightclub in Berwyn with an all-star line up of Shad Cobb on fiddle, Todd Phillips on bass, and Robbie Gjersoe on resonator guitar. The two set performance was a display of authentic passion, timeless writing, and pure unadulterated skill.

Robbie Fulks. Photo by Dino Stamatopoulos. Fulks and the other performers onstage have figured out what true success is: getting to create and share your art on your terms, your way, to a tribe of listeners who have been looking for you, appreciate you, and support you. That tribe might be smaller but mighty. “I think I know the first names of everyone here,” Fulks joked. That knowledge alone set his performance apart from others. Something Fulks also know is to have a sense of humor about life, performing, and his career and to use it often. He was very approachable as a performer and had a playful banter with the crowd throughout the show. Many have noted his dry and wry wit in his songwriting. It adds a timeless quality to his songs. They are sentiments you have felt put another way so you gain insight or just appreciate someone knows what you’re talking about. They’re nice turns of phrase like “Ever since the world ended I face the future with a smile” or “Leave it to a loser to fall from an angel’s wings”. He had a great song everyone enjoyed about betrayal. The man asked to meet the other man his woman was seeing. The way the story unfolds encapsulates all the emotions from pain, to anger, to irony one feels when in that situation.
Robbie Fulks. Photo by Stan Golovchuk. Live music offers an energy you can’t access from a recording, but last night truly helped you transport to a different time and helped you forget the day. When Fulks played “Trade You Money for Wine” from his latest album, Gone Away Backwards, a distinct quiet fell over the crowd the way kids listen at story time. The second set had even more youthful energy than the first. “Set one was just for fun,” Fulks said. “Set two, we hit you with a shoe.” The confidence of the performers comes from decades of experience and bios that read like recommendations list on Amazon. They got those opportunities because their skill and passion is unparalleled. Music is like sports in that the leads are the household names, but the playmakers make it happen. A different kind of fan knows their names. You know that sound you liked in that song? This guy was responsible for it.
Robbie Fulks. Photo by Stan Golovchuk. Cobb, Phillips, and Gjersoe did some things that just made you laugh in disbelief you saw that in person and executed so well. Fulks showcased clear, clean, and deft finger-picking, not just for what he was playing but at the speed it was played. Many players would have slurred the notes. Listeners would have forgiven them because it was live or challenging, but you could tell they didn’t do something unless you do it well. Fulks announced he will be working on a new album with the all- star lineup. After hearing his work, it makes you wonder why more people don’t know about Robbie Fulks. When you see him live you understand why people want to keep him their personal gem/troubadour. To see what I mean, Fulks performs next at The Hideout on April 20th.

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