Bandera, Texas, bills itself as the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” so it’s hardly shocking that the dance-hall culture of the picturesque Hill Country town was – and remains – an influential element in the music of Bandera native Bruce Robison. With the rollicking “Rock and Roll Honky Tonk Ramblin’ Man,” the first single from the upcoming Bruce Robison and the Back Porch Band, due in stores on April 28th, the country hitmaker puts a delectable acoustic spin on the kind of floor-fillers that have emanated from Texas dance halls for decades. Listen to our premiere of “Rock and Roll Honky Tonk Ramblin’ Man” below.
“The music that I came up on was dance music,” Robison tells Rolling Stone Country. “When the big shows came to my hometown,
The track offers the first taste of what will be Robison’s first solo studio album since 2008’s The New World. During that time, he and his wife, singer Kelly Willis, have released a pair of exceptional duets LPs, Cheater’s Game and Our Year, mixing original tunes with fresh takes on such legendary tunes as Tom T. Hall’s “Harper Valley PTA” and fellow Texan (and former Bandera resident) Robert Earl Keen’s “No Kinda Dancer.” That same kind of blend went into the creation of this new cut, giving a song penned by Joe Dickens and played for years by Robison, a new lease on life.
“We were in the bunker working on new music when Conrad Choucroun, our secret weapon drummer [Bob Schneider, NRBQ, Patty Griffin] fell into the most infectious groove I have heard since ‘The Monster Mash,’ Robison says. “I had a mind explosion. . . we probably got it in two takes, with the tracking vocal being what you hear.”
Although the new LP is a solo effort, Robison and Willis do convene for a slow, sweet waltz tune, “The Years,” and she adds harmonies to a Cajun fiddle-infused take on The Who’s “Squeezebox.”
The writer of three chart-topping country hits, “Wrapped,” by George Strait, “Angry All the Time,” recorded by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and the Dixie Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldier,” Robison launched a multimedia website, TheNextWaltz.com, from his Lockhart, Texas, studio in 2016, spotlighting interviews and recording sessions with a mix of veteran artists including Rodney Crowell, Jack Ingram, and Jerry Jeff Walker, as well as up-and-coming acts including Turnpike Troubadours and Sam Outlaw.