Saturday, July 30, 2011

Robbie Fulks - "Let's Kill Saturday Night"

Country music can be a tricky passion for the Stuff White People Like-crowd that so often frequents the mp3 blogs. One crowd feels icky about the Wal-Mart, plastic Nashville, Garth Brooks/Toby Keith-aura that many associate with the genre. There are others who risk censure for "ironic" appropriation of poor white working-class music that smacks of condescension.

Robbie Fulks is the perfect artist for those who both want a true country experience but dare not risk accusations of cultural tourism. Fulks broke out of Chicago's "alt-country" scene in the early nineties with debut single "Cigarette State" but has gone on to transcend the scenester-country of many No Depression artists. His weekly shows at The Hideout have become showcases for his versatility in Americana. He's collaborated with everyone from children's singers to bluesmen to old country hands. He's also recently won praise about his surprisingly earnest Michael Jackson covers album.

Today's song is one that actually comes off as slightly-flat, meat-and-potatoes country rock in its studio incarnation. But Robbie is a consummate showman with an ace band. This version is taken from his double disc live album, Revenge! and ably showcases what a barnburner this baby is on stage. Fulks packs the song with the sort of blue-collar misery lyrics that anyone can read themselves into which make good country so satisfying, backed by a rip-snortin' backing band. He even shows off his Fountains of Wayne appreciation and (some of) his considerable guitar prowess with a solo worthy of the Jersey popsters.

As the lyrics suggests this song is best heard at the end of a hard week and after a few beers with the speakers pounding and the engines open, so get on it!


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