[Sidebar] The Worcester Phoenix
Sept. 15 - 22, 2000

[Music Reviews]

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*** Dallas Wayne



Robbie Fulks, who co-wrote and co-produced Dallas Wayne's debut, has a funny relationship with country music. For most of a decade he's worked his way around the edge of the genre, writing clever songs that alternately honor its traditions and crack wise. Witness "God Isn't Real," from Fulks's Let's Kill Saturday Night (Bloodshot), which simultaneously nods toward the revered Louvin Brothers and lampoons the religious convictions that were a deep part of their music.

Since Fulks writes with a distinctive signature, it's a little hard to guess where his friend Dallas Wayne begins and Fulks ends. Their partnership goes back to Fulks's days in the bluegrass band Special Consensus, but this present collaboration is very much an exploration of classic country forms. It's an approach that suits Wayne magnificently, for he has a warm, friendly, casually familiar voice that's occasionally reminiscent of Junior Brown. The songs -- all new additions to the Fulks canon save for Wayne's version of "Rock Bottom, Pop" -- are written from a working-and-drinking-class point of view. This marks them as an alien alternative to today's suburban sensibilities, but Fulks and Wayne have chosen to set their songs simply, and without obvious retro twitches. Better still, they have written well, and wisely. With a couple of funny ones tossed in, of course.

-- Grant Alden

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