Tag Archives: Chuck Prophet

Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis dazzle at Day 2 of Twangfest 15 in St. Louis

By Barry Gilbert

The wait was more than worth it. Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis dazzled in a rare performance together Thursday night, their songs simultaneously reaching out to the head, the heart and the gut.

Headlining the second night of Twangfest 15 at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, Mr. and Mrs. Robison, backed by Will Dupuy on bass and Geoff Queen on pedal steel and guitar, offered 20 tunes over an hour and 20 minutes.

The set list mined the catalogues of each to good effect. But what made the night extra special was a handful of new duets that the couple unveiled, hinting of a career merger after about two decades of individual success.

It’s simply criminal that their mixture of country, pop and folk isn’t played on radio here, with the notable exception of Twangfest sponsor KDHX (88.1 FM). From the opening notes of “Sweet Sundown” to the closing masterpiece “Angry All the Time,” Robison and Willis displayed the honesty and simplicity that makes great songwriting.

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Twangfest 12 wrapup

The Waco Brothers
The Waco Brothers perform at Twangfest

The following post is an unedited version of my report for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which ran in a shorter form on Monday, June 9, 2008.

June 15, 2008

By Barry Gilbert

The Waco Brothers, an irreverent band of post-punk, country-leaning Brits from Chicago, and Ha Ha Tonka, young tradition-minded rockers from the Ozarks, closed out the four-night Twangfest 12 in style Saturday [June 7, 2008] at Off Broadway.

St. Louis’ not-for-profit, roots music festival came full circle with the Wacos, who inaugurated the series at Off Broadway in 1997.

Review of Day 1: Chuck Prophet, Centro-Matic, the Butchers and the Builders
Review of Day 2: The Gourds, the Dynamites featuring Charles Walker, the Deadstring Brothers
Review of Day 3: The Old 97’s, Hayes Carll, Miles of Wire, I Love Math
Review of Day 4: The Waco Brothers, Ha Ha Tonka, the everybodyfields, Caleb Travers

Clad in a variety of black Western shirts, the Wacos played for an hour and 45 minutes and tore through 20 songs, a set list that would have been longer if not for the Wacos’ nonstop onstage banter that ranged from British sexual practices to U.S. politics, with numerous checkpoints in between.

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