Bruce Robison: The New World

On The New World, Austin singer-­songwriter and Nashville ghostwriter Bruce Robison (George Strait, Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw) maintains his nearly incomprehensible and inimitable ability to be one of the only contemporary male songwriters to successfully write from a woman's perspective. Listening to "Bad Girl Blues" easily inspires visions of swaying bodies waving Michelob Ultra bottles — why don't people drink Lone Star anymore? — above the crowd in a dark nightclub: "And I know all the bad boys, and it bothers me some / Not that it wasn't always real fine lovin', it wasn't even much fun / Just left feeling broke-down and low-down in high-heel shoes." While lyrics may be his strong suit, Robison includes a smooth steel guitar on "The New One" and energetic keys on "Twistin'" that are sure to scuff up the dance floor, while fans of his live shows will be very pleased to know that "She Don't Care" has finally made it onto an album. In Robison's winsome voice, tortured and heartbroken lyrics like "When I die, my tangled soul will finally be set free / Oh, I'd like to be her honey, but she don't care about me" lose their sting to the strummings of a simple banjo. Robison doesn't just know his craft, he definitely knows his fans, and on The New World, he proves that he does not set out to just write hits — he writes to connect.

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Amanda Mahmoudi