There were a pair of Robbie's picking guitars in Chris Cline's living room in Media on Sunday night. Robbie Fulks is smart-guy sharp-witted country songwriter on the right, Robbie Gjersoe is is the crackerjack sideman on the left. It was one of those super-intimate house concert situations where a nosebleed seat was way up on a staircase landing, a good 12 feet from the players. Fulks, for the uninitiated, is a Chicago-based former Nashvillean who was born in York, Pa. and grew up in North Carolina. He did "Cigarette State" about being raised in tobacco country, but left out "F- This Town," about how he really feels about Nashville. He's a barbed, funny guy with a devilish misanthropic streak.
There's a little Roger Miller and Elvis Costello in there, and a fair share of Randy Newman. "This is another one about non-acceptance of the modern world," he said before "Waiting For These New Things To Go," and summed up his world view in the delicately beautiful "I Like Being Left Alone": "Keep me well away from the P.D.A., the traffic and the telephone..." Such are the ironies of the music business for an old-fashioned guy with a misanthropic streak, however, that Fulks, who's a fine, underrated guitar player, finds himself cozying up to fans in a Delaware County living room - and knocking out a made-up-on-the-spo Jimmie Rodgers-style blue yodel called "Media Blues" - while hawking his digital-only packed-to-the-gills new release 50 Vc. Doberman. It's available in condensed form on iTunes, or in all its 50 song glory for a budget priced $35 at RobbieFulks.com.
Along with "Waiting," Doberman highlights on the two 45 minute sets Fulks and Gjersoe played on Sunday included the sweetly blue "Imogene," with Gjersoe, who's toured a bunch with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and The Flatlanders, standing out on mournful slide guitar, and "The World Is Full of Pretty Girls (And Pretty Girls Are Full Of Themselves, Too)," a hilariously bitter Jerry Reed homage. Unfortunately, there were no Michael Jackson covers. (Fulks has been working on a trbute CD, which is due in 2010, and his heartfelt essay on the genius of the King of Pop is here.) But there was a closing, killing "Let's Kill Saturday Night," and the "She Took A Lot Of Pills And Died" you see below.
Cline, who writes the pop culture blog The Popcorn Trick, has "Pills" up on YouTube already, and will be posting more clips from the show. His next Media house concert is on December 12, with October Project singer Mary Fahl.
Previously: Ray Davies at the Tower