Grammy nominee Robbie Fulks is a founder of the “Alternative Country” genre who has appeared multiple times on the Grand Ole Opry. A critics’ darling with devoted fans to match, Fulks has been featured everywhere from the New York Times (“his lyrics are literature”) to Austin City Limits, from NBC (Today Show, Conan O’Brien, 30 Rock) to NPR.
Linda Gail Lewis and Robbie Fulks met while touring in Europe, and the unlikely pair quickly found they had much in common. He was raised in the upland south (inspiration for his 2016 multiple-Grammy-nominated album Upland Stories). Linda’s formative years were spent in a destitute sharecropper’s shack, and, after dropping out of school to join brother Jerry Lee Lewis’s act, barrooms and night clubs throughout the deep South. From childhood she was steeped in Southern musical culture and rock-and-roll high and low living, as she tagged along on her brother’s journey through fame, fortune, scandal, exile, and full-throated comeback.
Of course, she did more than tag along—by 14, she was playing, recording, and touring with him and others. After leaving the limelight to raise a family, she reemerged in the 1980s as a rock-and-roll pianist with skills rivaling her brother’s. A string of records and endless touring followed. In 2000, Van Morrison invited Linda to join him for a tour that led to their acclaimed collection of country classics You Win Again.
Robbie Fulks’s admiration for Linda’s talents led to their new collaboration: “Wild! Wild! Wild!” Lyrically, the album delves into the roots of her upbringing, and tells her life story in simple but poetic language. Musically, it’s 100% American Roots in all its colorful variants: Blues, Country, Boogie-Boogie, Jazz, Gospel, and Rock-n-Roll.
Their stage show is a rocking, wild, and moving. It features master players with amazing and diverse resumes: Redd Volkaert, the Austin king of the Telecaster and longtime Merle Haggard sideman; drummer Alex Hall, who produced and played on some of the best new records by young Americana acts like JD McPherson, Pokey LaFarge, and Cactus Blossoms; Scott Ligon, of the legendary rock band NRBQ; and upright bassist Beau Sample, the founder of Chicago’s traditional jazz ensemble Fat Babies, and who has also toured with Wanda Jackson and Hot Club of Cowtown, among many others. These men not only pump up each performance with their in-themoment playing — they’re also the players from the record, and close friends. That chemistry and close experience make authentically happy music, and raise every show to a one-of-a-kind experience.
Scott Miller released his tenth studio record, Ladies Auxiliary, since leaving the V-Roys, the 1990s Knoxville-based thinking-man’s party band. The V-Roys caught the ear of Steve Earle, who signed them to his somewhat ephemeral E-Squared label. Band and label collapsed at about the same time. Miller has survived a health scare, scaled back his erstwhile stoically-crazed lifestyle, hightailed it from the city lights of Knoxville, and taken up the life of a cattleman on his family’s Shenandoah Valley ranch. Somehow amid all that, this record is his tenth release under his own name, or that of his post V-Roys band, the Commonwealth.
“If justice is served, Ladies Auxiliary ought to bring Miller the wider attention he clearly deserves. Four solo albums on, Miller’s made it clear that southern spirit and an elegiac attitude can create a particularly touching combination.” –No Depression