Charlie Robison Good Times

Unfamiliar with Robison’s work, I was first attracted to this disc by the players: Lloyd Maines, Pat Buchanan and David Grissom to name a few. Turns out, Robison is married to Dixie Chick Emily Robison, which explains the Maines connection. Lloyd’s little girl, Natalie, proffers harmony vocals on "El Cerrito Place.” Yet this disc is neither country nor alternative. It is an intelligent, well-composed 11-track collection that also features Robison’s significant songwriting skills on seven of the tunes. More of a cross between Steve Earle and Robert Earl Keen, the Austin-based Robison contributed to releases by Alejandro Escovedo and Kelly Willis along the way, which goes a long way towards defining this latest release. It’s an invigorating grab bag of honky tonk with attitude meets storytelling, singer-songwriter with lush underpinnings. The opening track, "Good Times,” smacks of John Prine, as Robison spins out his distinct personality across this entirety of this uplifting release. Of local note, Robison’s core band, the Enablers, features no less than Canadian Kim Deschamps on pedal steel. (Dualtone)