Texas singer-songwriter Bruce Robinson discusses his creative process and performs a selection of his hits—including “Desperately” (George Strait), “Travelin’ Soldier” (the Chicks), and “Angry All the Time” (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill)—during a special Songwriter Session, presented in partnership with AmericanaFest on September 16, 2017.
Robison, who grew up in a musical family in Bandera, Texas, reveals how his songs often contain images and characters he knew in that small town, written to be played in local dancehalls. “My songs are dance music at their heart,” he says.
Robison also talks about some of his songwriting influences, including Country Music Hall of Fame members Boudleaux Bryant, Kris Kristofferson, and Don Williams (he was emulating the latter when he wrote “Desperately,” Robison says).
Responding to an audience question, Bruce Robison explains how major artists, including George Strait, came to record his songs (through the help of his then publisher, Frank Liddell).
Robison recalls writing “Angry All the Time” during a particularly prolific time in the early 1990s, and how his parents’ divorce (and his mother’s repeat plays of Willie Nelson’s concept album “Phases and Stages”) inspired the haunting tune about marital strife. Faith Hill saw a video of Robison performing the song with his wife, Kelly Willis, and wanted to record it, but ended up as the harmony vocalist on her husband Tim McGraw’s version (which went to #1 in 2001).
“I’ve never written a happy song,” Robison tells the Museum audience. “. . . The blues make you feel better . . . you feel like you’re not alone.”
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