There is nothing Robbie Fulks lacks as a musician. He is a talented flat picker as a guitarist, and a voice that can convey great sorrow and humor. Most importantly, he is one of the best songwriters of the past twenty years, an unparalleled lyricist. That’s easy to hear on his latest, Upland Stories, which I reviewed in the New Release Roundup when it came out in April. I was thrilled to be able to sit down and speak with him backstage at Club Passim in Cambridge before a recent gig. He’s a fan of comedy and horror, and we spoke a bit about the old Universal horror films, in addition to comic relief in music, and a particularly thorny song written in character. We also talked about journalist James Agee’s 1941 book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, in which he chronicled impoverished farmers trying to make a living in the Great Depression. The book inspired some of the songs on Upland Stories.
After the interview, stick around for a song from Reformed Whores, who will be my guests on the July 1 edition of the Department of Tangents Podcast.