I am not crazy about the term “cover.” Not sure what that means. I guess I figure you sing or record a song because you can bring something new to it or make people dance or drink or have a good time and forget their troubles for a minute. I think songs are magic. They can change so much in a different voice or gender or generation. Since the first moment I started calling myself a songwriter, I like attempting to be in the tradition of the tin pan alley guys, or brill building, or Nashville country guys. “You need a song? I got one. It goes a little like this…” And what a feeling to get anyone to sing or record a song you wrote. It’s an incredible feeling.
The Nashville I knew was all about songs. People would listen … Read More »
After 17 years of marriage, four children, and more than 15 solo albums between them, husband and wife Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis finally collaborated on a full-length album — 2013’s critically acclaimed Cheater’s Game. The experience was so invigorating that the duo wasted no time releasing a follow-up, Our Year, which dropped in May. With originals like “Carousel” and “Lonely for You” and covers including “Harper Valley P.T.A.” and “Motor City Man,” the couple has once again spoiled listeners with their new album.
Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis Do Detroit — Video Premiere
In the new interview series “5 Minutes in Texas,” Rolling Stone Country talks to Robison about the first time he laid eyes on his wife, their decision to release another collaborative album and balancing family responsibilities while on tour.
People seem to think that just because you’re married to a … Read More »
This married pair has appeared together on stage and on one another’s solo releases, but it’s only in the past few years they’ve focused on working regularly as a duo. Their duets on tribute albums, and what at the time seemed a one-off project in 2003′sHappy Holidays (and its 2006 expansion), turned into a deeper collaboration with 2012′s Cheater’s Game, live shows and now a second album. As on their previous releases, they trade leads, backing and harmony vocals, supporting one another with a familiarity that makes duets more than the sum of their parts. Robison contributes a pair of original songs, Willis one, and they fill out the track list with endearingly selected covers.
The album opens with “Departing Louisiana,” a biographical song whose emotional details suggest a Robison original, but it’s actually from the pen of his sister, Robyn … Read More »
Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis have been married for 20 years and have four children, but their musical careers have largely been solo affairs. Oh, sure, they’ve contributed to each other’s albums, but for the most part Willis has earned acclaim as a singer who can deliver rockabilly attitude or honky-tonk heartbreak in equal measure, while Robison has excelled as a producer and songwriter, with artists such as George Strait (“Desperately”), Tim McGraw (“Angry All the Time”) and the Dixie Chicks (“Travelin’ Soldier”) scoring hits with his tunes.
But in quick succession, Robison and Willis have put out back-to-back duo albums, “Cheater’s Game” (2013) and the recent “Our Year” (Premium). Where Robison’s songs dominated the first album, the second provides a window into the couple’s wide-ranging influences as filtered through classic harmonies in the country tradition of power couples from the … Read More »
Here’s something you don’t want to miss. Thursday, April 10, I’ll be trading songs with Eliza Gilkyson and Slaid Cleaves at beautiful Blue Rock Studio in the Texas Hill Country. The whole thing will be WEBCAST LIVE here: http://www.concertwindow.com/shows/2841-slaid-cleaves-eliza-gilkyson-bruce-robison
I work with my husband. I have avoided it for many years because we are very different people. And that is glaringly obvious enough in our personal life. We have learned to adapt to each others styles on stage. But in the beginning it was kind of rough. One area that still chaffes is the set list.
I like to make a plan and stick with it. So I rarely veer off the set list. Bruce throws caution to the wind. Four songs into the show and he might stop looking at the setlist altogether. Bruce thinks his ability to do this makes him better than me. Not that he has ever told me this, but I just know.
Fact is, we each think the way we do things makes us better than the other one.
One night though, Bruce was the clear … Read More »
For Audio cLick here: Partners In Life, Two Country Singers Finally Meet In The Studio 9:14 by NPR Staff
Johnny and June, George and Tammy, Conway and Loretta, Gram and Emmylou: Country music has a long tradition of co-ed duet partners, and it’s about to welcome one more pair. Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison both had blossoming solo careers when they wed back in 1996, but they haven’t recorded a full album together — until now. Their first LP as collaborators is called Cheater’s Game, and they discuss it here with weekend on All Things Considered guest host Don Gonyea.
On the lack of classic male/female cover songs on the album
Robison: “We’ve had a couple of people that said they were surprised or perhaps happy that we didn’t just go with some of the classic duets that we all know and … Read More »
Kelly Willis And Bruce Robison: ‘Let’s Do This Right’
Kelly Willis performs in the Soundcheck studio. (Michael Katzif / WNYC)
Country music is known for its famous couples: Johnny Cash and June Carter, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, and many more. But not all country couples work together. Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis have largely worked apart in their nearly two decades of marriage, Robison writing #1 hits for the likes of Tim George Strait and The Dixie Chicks, and Willis singing her way through a career that has lasted two decades.
Now, they come together for Cheater’s Game, an album that’s half originals and half covers of tunes by respected country songwriters like Dave Alvin and Hayes Carll.
“I guess this was a little bit special,” says Willis about their song choices. “For us to be making a … Read More »
By BARRY MAZOR
After Years of Marriage, a Partnership
Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison have been married since 1996 and, individually, they have been among the best-known and most successful performers and songwriters on the Austin, Texas, music scene longer than that. She’s had six albums of her own; he’s had eight. They’ve toured with combined solo shows, made guest appearances on each other’s records and recorded a few Christmas songs together. But the new “Cheater’s Game”—released last week on their own Premium Records imprint, through Thirty Tigers Records—is their first full-album collaboration. While they share so much in common, including the raising of their four children, ages 7 to 12 (a pursuit that had occupied most of Ms. Willis’s time in recent years), their own musical tendencies have been distinct enough that finding the combined sonic sweet spot that could … Read More »
Kelly and Bruce kicked of the release of Cheaters Game with an appearance on Imus In The Morning in NYC
What they deserve: Robsion and Willis release terrific new record together
By Michael Corcoran
They came for the music, Kelly Willis from Washington, D.C., in 1987 and Bruce Robison from Bandera a couple years later. The “rockabilly filly” and the Hill Country songsmith started dating in 1991, married in 1996 and had four kids in a span of five years. With Willis signed to MCA in the ’90s and Robison having his songs taken to the top of the country charts by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (“Angry All the Time”), George Strait (“Wrapped,” “Desperately”) and the Dixie Chicks (“Travelin’ Soldier”), Nashville paid the bills. But Austin has been home, without any thought of relocation all these years.
The musical culmination of all that history is “Cheater’s Game,” the first album credited to the duo of Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, which comes … Read More »
“Cheater’s Game” is the couple Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis’s first full-length album together.
By ANDY LANGER
Published: February 9, 2013
Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis have been married for 16 years, but they will tie the knot professionally on Tuesday with the release of “Cheater’s Game,” their first full-length album together.
Both Mr. Robison and Ms. Willis have developed successful solo careers. He is a sought-after songwriter who has written three No. 1 Billboard Country hits, and Ms. Willis has recorded a half-dozen albums, establishing herself as a key player in the Americana music movement.
Over the years, the two have occasionally collaborated — Ms. Willis has covered Mr. Robison’s songs on her albums, and they play a popular annual holiday concert together — but they have avoided entangling careers, in part, Mr. Robison said, because it is hard for a couple with four … Read More »
The Bandera Way
Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, and the Hill Country courting method
BY MARGARET MOSER, FRI., FEB. 8, 2013
The Bandera Way
Scenes from a marriage in four acts.
BY MARGARET MOSER
Feels like April on this warm and sunny day, but it’s late January. At a comfortable Hyde Park address, bright natural light pours in through the large windows of a house owned by the reigning couple of Austin country music, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison.
After years of appearing on each other’s albums and performing together, the pair finally releases its collaborative bow, Cheater’s Game. With a nearly equal mix of covers and original compositions, the LP spotlights the two at their absolute best: Kelly with her raw silk vocals and Bruce wielding his mercury pen. When their voices join in harmony, as they will on tour, it’s heaven sent.
Kelly and Bruce’s lives entwine … Read More »
Kelly and Bruce did an On The Streets Segment with Suzanne Alexander while in Nashville. The segment will air on Valentines Day.
Bruce and Kelly with Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Famer Bill Cody. This was a great interview.
In three short weeks Cheaters Game has shot to the top spot on the Americana Charts.
A whopping 46 Americana radio stations added Cheaters Game to their playlist this week. In addition Cheaters Game was tied for most added at AAA radio with Richard Thompson. Bruce and Kelly are off and running.