Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of "Aunt Peg’s New Old Man," a new song by Robbie Fulks.
The track is from Fulks' new album, Upland Stories, which will be released April 1 via Bloodshot Records.
In 1993, Fulks helped Bloodshot Records define “alternative country.” In 2013, after two decades of playing music from the taverns of southern Illinois to the honky-tonks of northern Norway, Fulks reunited with the label for Gone Away Backward.
Upland Stories continues and—with sprinklings of pedal steel, drums, electric guitar and keyboards—expands the sound of that acoustic set. Fulks’ richly emotional storytelling is illuminated by his guitar prowess and emotional voice. At 53, he is philosophically reflective, writing “with clear eyes and a full heart” (Ken Tucker, NPR).
His wit is still as quick as his picking, but it’s reflected through the lens of fatherhood, marriage, middle age and the literary voices he is drawn to and draws from: Flannery O’Connor, Anton Chekhov, Mary Lavin, Frank O’Connor, Javier Marias, James Agee. Three new songs—“Alabama at Night,” “America Is a Hard Religion” and “A Miracle”—are meditations inspired by Agee’s 1936 trip to Alabama, the sojourn that fueled his furious polemic on American poverty, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.
Accompanying him is an incredible cast. Todd Phillips emerged in the 1970s as the bassist in David Grisman’s and Tony Rice’s classic lineups. Frequent Bill Frisell collaborator Jenny Scheinman played violin, as did Shad Cobb (Osborne Brothers, Steve Earle, Willie Nelson). The two Chicagoans on the record are Flatlanders guitarist Robbie Gjersoe and trad-jazz drummer Alex Hall. The multi-faceted utility string wizard Fats Kaplin (Jack White) and legendary avant-gardist Wayne Horvitz (Naked City, Paul Taylor, Zony Mash) complete the extraordinary ensemble.
Steve Albini, who began working with Fulks on Halloween night 1986, recorded the group’s live singing and playing on old German mics using a non-automated Neotek board, creating, as he always does, a provocatively unvarnished and analogically resonant stereo image.
Upland Stories is available for preorder right here.