Charlie Robison, Texas nation musician who ‘walked to his personal beat,’ dies at 59


Texas nation singer-songwriter Charlie Robison, who represented the Crimson Grime sound and resisted the conventions of Nashville’s music scene, died over the weekend at 59.

Robison died Sunday at a hospital in San Antonio after cardiac arrest and different issues, a household consultant instructed the Related Press. Problems from a earlier medical process had compelled the “My Hometown” singer to surrender performing in 2018, however earlier this 12 months he was within the midst of a comeback, enjoying exhibits throughout his house state.

“It’s with a heavy coronary heart that I share the information that my husband, Charlie Robison has handed away in the present day, surrounded by his household and associates,” wrote his spouse, Kristen Robinson, in a Fb submit Sunday. “My coronary heart is damaged. Please pray for me, our kids and our household,” she continued.

Robison is also survived by ex-wife Emily Strayer, founding member of nation supergroup The Chicks, with whom he had three youngsters earlier than their divorce in 2008. The Chicks had introduced Saturday that they’d moved their live performance date in Winnipeg from Tuesday to Monday, citing “an pressing household matter.”

Rising up on his household’s ranch within the Texas county of Bandera, after which he would title his debut album in 1996, Robison was surrounded by a mosaic of sounds: honky-tonk blasting on the radio, dwell exhibits from native nation and Mexican folks bands, and conventional dances to polka music together with his household, which traced their roots to Germany. He additionally drew inspiration from different Crimson Grime and Outlaw nation music stars, notably singer-songwriters Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett.

After his grandmother purchased him a drum set whereas he was in junior excessive, Robison shaped a band together with his brother, Bruce Robison, he instructed Australian radio present “Casey Radio” in 2012. Bruce additionally went on to grow to be a singer-songwriter.

Robison launched his music profession within the late Eighties, enjoying in native Austin bands like Two Hoots and a Holler earlier than forming Millionaire Playboys. When he was approached by Sony in 1998, Robison signed with its Fortunate Canine imprint, which was dedicated to rawer nation. He later signed with Columbia Information. Regardless of the mainstream signings, Robison rebuffed Nashville’s nation scene.

Throughout a Nashville radio occasion in 1999, Robison instructed a ballroom filled with influential radio programmers to close up throughout his efficiency and mentioned, “I’m the best factor you’re ever going to see, however you in all probability received’t play me since you’re too f— silly,” in line with the Austin Chronicle.

“I’m not saying I hate nation and even Nashville,” he instructed the Chronicle for a 2001 profile. “It’s simply that I’d love for everyone to sit down collectively and say, ‘We are able to make higher music right here.’ We should always try to increase the bar a bit, myself included.”

Nevertheless, Robison was as a lot part of the Nashville scene as he was a critic of it. He’d stay in mainstream trade circles whereas married to Strayer, throughout the peak of The Chicks’ fame. And his 2001 album, “Step Proper Up,” produced High 40 nation hit “I Need You Unhealthy,” an upbeat love ballad that departs from his earlier, earthier anthems.

“It needs to be fairly apparent that if I wasn’t making an attempt to make a run at radio, this track wouldn’t have been on the album,” he mentioned, referring to the hit single. “It’s as much as you to determine whether or not that’s promoting out or not, however I did it to not get in Nashville’s good graces. I did it to get my different songs heard.”

Robinson dug in his boots additional in Nashville as a choose on the inaugural season of USA Community’s actuality competitors present “Nashville Star,” through which contestants dwell collectively whereas competing for a rustic music recording contract. Nevertheless, he left after the primary season in 2003.

A 12 months later, Robison left Columbia for the smaller indie label Dualtones. Whereas there, he produced two of his most memorable albums, “Good Occasions” and “Stunning Day,” the latter of which he wrote and recorded whereas going by way of his divorce from Strayer, drawing on themes of heartbreak, loss and grief.

In a 2014 interview with “The Texas Music Scene” TV collection, which referred to as Robison an artist “that walks to his personal beat and makes no apologies for it,” the Texas native mentioned he had moved on from such heavier matters for his 2013 album, “Excessive Life,” as a substitute eager to “simply have enjoyable and play some enjoyable music that I like.”

A number of years later, in September 2018, Robison unexpectedly introduced his retirement and cited issues from a surgical procedure that had “left me with the everlasting incapability to sing.” His followers have been shocked by the announcement, amongst them Kyle “Set off” Coroneos, the editor of “The sound of Charlie Robison is the sound of Texas,” Coroneos wrote in response to the retirement announcement.

“The songs of Charlie Robison place you within the sneakers of the characters — you are feeling their ache, and share of their sorrows. It’s eerie how the songs appear to be formed to your life,” Coroneos continued. After Robison’s loss of life, he referred to as it “the tip of an period in Texas music.”

Robison returned this 12 months to the stage, acting at small exhibits and music festivals throughout Texas, with appearances even slated for 2024. His final recognized efficiency was July 14 at John T. Floore’s Nation Retailer in Helotes, Texas.

“It’s been an incredible journey and I can’t let you know all what the final 25 years has meant to me,” the singer wrote in 2018 when saying his retirement. “I used to be trying ahead to a different 25 however as they are saying ‘s— occurs.’ I thanks all for all the things you’ve given me and I hope I used to be capable of provide you with a fraction of the happiness you gave me. It was a hell of a journey however as they are saying all good issues should finish.”

The Related Press contributed to this report.


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