Robbie Fulks Gone Away Backward on LP + Download
In the mid-1990s, Chicago-based artist Robbie Fulks became known as the sharp-as-a-tack, wry genius of the alternative country scene. Today – after ten releases spanning various 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 and 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.
Like a misfit boomerang circling back around, Robbie Fulks has returned to the Bloodshot Records fold for the release of his new full-length album Gone Away Backward - his first on the label since 2001 – a 12-song set 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. It’s as hopeful as it is dark, modern as it is historical, foreign as it is familiar. It’s auto-biographical and all-embracing storytelling. City and country.
"As opposed to this idea that I'm "coming back to Bloodshot" (the verb "crawling" has also been muttered behind sleeves) I don't feel like I ever left. For sure I never slammed the door behind me in proud, valedictory defiance. Well, not since 1997 anyhow. Since then, I've co-released 2 records with them (Very Best of [me] in 1999 and 13 Hillbilly Giants in 2001), doing separate runs on my imprint and theirs. I used their retail distribution network and other resources on Couples in Troublein 2001. I contributed to compilations they put out in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006, and played for their 15th anniversary in 2011. Also in '11 they helped me market my little tribute to Michael Jackson.
"Most people would pick "Put out a Michael Jackson tribute record" as the best definitive answer to the question, "How do I make Bloodshot Records go away?" However, Bloodshot Records won't go away. I see them at shows and seminars and parties and, in the case of Rob, wherever liquor is sold. When I go down to the Bloodshot office to buy records from my catalogue, there they are. Bloodshot. One reason I see Nan and Rob with some frequency is that we live in the same general area.
"Chicago is a big place, but the country music community is quite small. When you exclude style-hopping working stiffs who occasionally slap on Stetsons, and the usual corporately polished radio-imitation nonsense, there's maybe 10 of us. No, there's 9 - Kelly [Hogan] went to Wisconsin. So fate has really thrown us into the same cramped cauldron. Not a bad place to be at all. At this point, I think we’re kind of impressed, with each other and ourselves, that we’re still in the game; the smart money 20 years ago was on our being wards of the state by now." - Robbie Fulks
"Fulks is a gifted guitarist, a soulful singer with an expressive honky-tonk tenor, and a natural performer. But what really sets him apart is his songwriting, which is one part artful country, one part artful sendup of country, and one part a little of everything else...It's sort of country meets David Lynch." - New York Times
"...a masterly, multifaceted songwriter who can belt out hip-shaking honky tonk, honeydew pop and chilling little ballads with an unrivaled skill and spirit. So good, he's scary." - Chicago Tribune
Robbie Fulks Gone Away Backward Track Listing:
1. I’ll Trade You Money For Wine
2. Where I Fell
3. Long I Ride
4. That’s Where I’m From
5. When You Get to the Bottom
6. Snake Chapman’s Tune
8. Pacific Slope
9. Sometimes the Grass is Really Greener
10. Guess I Got It Wrong
11. The Many Disguises of God
12. Rose of the Summer