“Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.” – Horace Greeley, second half of the XIXth c.

robbiefolks

Some thoughts with reference to new album of Robbie Fulks. The Gone Away Backward released by Bloodshot Records.

Robbie Fulks is a country music “outsider”. He has his own views about the country industry. It’s brief and to the point: Fuck this town. The sentence refers to the capital of country, Nashville, where several branch of industry have been built on the genre. There is the system of institute of country music. The marketing machinery lets lot of country-called terrible products loose on the unsuspecting world from this town. Then there is the Grand Ole Opry. It has started as a radio show in 1925, during the years has become the congregation of country elite. And finally there is the necropolis, the Country Music Hall of Fame. (You can read the Sex Pistols’ opinion about a similar institute, the Rock and Roll H.O.F. here.)

The country lives outside of every institution in the rural areas. Fulks takes a sightseeing tour in the countryside, and sings about the end of his beloved small town America from Chicago. But the “now” has come somewhere, and the “end” was there yesterday too.
The American people are restless and very mobile. 1927: The 67% of families have car. 1956: The average American family changes residence every 4 years. While broadcast desires rules over the average heads. C’est la américain vie. It’s gone, but not with the wind.

Robbie Fulks’ new album, the Gone Away Backward is an excellent „back to the roots” country album. Not sad, rather melancholic. Rather Bob Dylan, than Merle Haggard.
The violinist is Jenny Scheinmann. (She formed the Giant Trio in the 90s. It was a five pieces band, he-he.) Beside her solo recordings she worked together for example Carla Bozulich, Ani Difranco, Bill Frisell, Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux, Mark Ribot, John Zorn. She made the string arrangements on Lou Reed and Metallica’s common album.

The recordings made by analog devices. Producer: Steve Albini (of Big Black and Shellac. He was producer of: Gore, Pixies, Pussy Galore, Breeders, Jesus Lizard, Pigface, Zeni Geva, Silverfish, PJ Harvey, Nirvana, Red Krayola, Melt-Banana, Cheap Trick, Killdozer, Fleshtones, The Ex, Neurosis, Zu and many more albums.).

And one more note: his hometown, York, is a little city in Pennsylvania. The population has increased in the last decade for the fist time since 1950.

 

Recommended reading:
John Lukacs – A New Republic: A History Of The United States In The Twentieth Century
Magyarul: Az Egyesült Államok XX. századi története


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