Lucky Dog Unleashed Tour
featuring Jack Ingram and Bruce & Charlie Robison
The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA • October 19, 1999
The three Texas-based singer-songwriters who head up the roster of Sony Nashville’s Lucky Dog imprint did their best to turn this showcase club in Virginia into a honky-tonk like the ones they knew back home. Members of Ingram’s Beat Up Ford Band backed up all three singers during the nearly three-hour show.
The band allowed Bruce Robison to perform songs he seldom gets to on acoustic tours, often with wife Kelly Willis. His fifty-minute opening set was highlighted by full band versions of “Red Letter Day,” from his latest, Long Way Home From Anywhere , and “12 Bar Blues,” from 1997’s Wrapped . Brother Charlie later joined him for a duet on Wrapped ‘s “Rayne, Louisiana.” He introduced the song “My Brother and Me” saying he had started to write a song about truck driving called “Oh My God, I’m a Trucker.” Needless to say, it didn’t turn out well, so he wrote a song about growing up in Texas instead.
Charlie Robison’s middle set was best when he stuck to songs about growing up in Texas, similar to his brother’s. “My Hometown” and “Loving County” are two highlights from his latest, Life of the Party . Unfortunately, too many of his songs rely on lowbrow humor and cheesy redneck one-liners, like the country hit “Barlight,” which refashions nursery rhymes to pay homage to those aforementioned Texas honky-tonks. Brother Bruce returned the favor joining Charlie for “You’re Not the Best,” a song Bruce wrote but seldom performs, because as Charlie put it, it would ruin his image as the “Alan Alda of country music.”
Jack Ingram’s headlining set began fast with two highlights from his new record, Hey You , including the title track. He later slowed things down for versions of “Airways Motel” from his 1997 major label debut Livin’ Or Dyin’ and the new “Inna From Mexico,” about a woman he met in Chicago. Bruce Robison later joined him for “Feel Like I’m Falling In Love” and “Anymore Good Lovin’,” which he co-wrote. The talents of the Beat Up Ford band shone most brightly on the set-concluding rave ups “Flutter” and “I Can’t Leave You.” All three singers returned for encore versions of the country standard “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)” and Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away.” And suddenly, three hours had done just that.