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.