Robbie Fulks at The Southgate House Revival on 10/23

Robbie Fulks
Robbie Fulks

Robbie Fulks with Woody Pines
Southgate House Revival, 111 E 6th St, Newport, KY
8pm doors, 9pm show
$12 adv, $15 dos, Buy Tickets

Gone Away Backward is as hopeful as it is dark, modern as it is historical, foreign just like it’s familiar. It’s autobiographical and all-embracing storytelling. Compassionate while cold-shouldered. City and country. MP3 and dusty 45. Recorded and mixed by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago, Gone Away Backward finds Fulks re-evaluating his roots and lamenting the decline of the small-town and rural America in which he was raised.

At the center of Gone Away Backward is Fulks’s gold-dusted vocals and prodigious guitar picking, at times spirited and brisk (“Pacific Slope”), elsewhere spare and sentimental (as on the heartbreakingly gorgeous ballad “That’s Where I’m From”). The album is rooted deeply in the interplay between Fulks and a brilliant cast of Appalachian-style slingers: Robbie Gjersoe, Jenny Scheinman, Mike Bub, and Ron Spears, collectively playing banjo, mandolin, fiddle, upright bass, and adding airtight and warm vocal harmonies

In the mid-1990s, Chicago-based artist Robbie Fulks became known as a sharper-than-a-tack, wry genius staple of the alternative country scene. Today – after ten releases spanning the varied shades of twang (Country Love Songs), somber yet pop-conscious roots-rock (Couples In Trouble), and even Michael Jackson covers (Happy) – he leaves behind the amplifier- and drumkit-driven songwriting which defined his mode. Fulks’s new full-length release on Bloodshot Records returns to the folk and bluegrass sounds that once captured the imagination of a little boy who first picked up a banjo at age seven.