Robbie Fulks returns to Claremont this Saturday

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Robbie Fulks is at the Folk Music Center this Saturday, September 9. Photo/by Scott Simontacchi, courtesy of Compass Records

by Mick Rhodes |

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Robbie Fulks returns to the Folk Music Center in Claremont this Saturday, September 9 to promote his new record, “Bluegrass Vacation,” and fans of the genre would be well advised to get their tickets early, or at the very least make their way to the Folk Music Center day of show for what promises to be a clinic in the form, and several others.

Fulks is a genuine master guitarist, as last year’s FMC show made clear, and a nimble and inventive lyricist and singer. His storytelling, both in his songs and in a live setting, is half the fun. Last year’s show was both a jaw-dropping display of virtuosity and a charmingly unaffected glimpse into his substantial songbook.

“Bluegrass Vacation” was years in the making, delayed due to Covid and associated scheduling issues. Fulks’ 17threcord includes a breathtaking array of cameos from bluegrass royalty, including Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Ronnie McCoury, Tim O’Brien, Alison Brown, John Cowan, and Jerry Douglas.

No Depression’s Jon Young had high praise: “A modern-day Roger Miller, Fulks is uncommonly versatile, capable of thoughtful insights and silly jokes, all shaped by keen intelligence. Showcasing the breadth of his talents, the delightful Bluegrass Vacation marks a return to the music that first fired his imagination; in the liner notes, Fulks recalls being transformed by John Hartford and Doc and Merle Watson a half-century ago. Now, he’s offering his own take on this classic sound, complete with high lonesome vocal harmonies and peerless players in tow.”

Fulks has shown a remarkable versatility over the years, following his muse into rock, country, folk, rockabilly, and literate singer-songwriter territory. His 2016 masterpiece, “Upland Stories,” earned him two Grammy nominations. In 2018 he paired up with the late Jerry Lee Lewis’ sister, Linda Gail Lewis — herself a formidable and charismatic rockabilly force of nature — for the powerhouse “Wild! Wild! Wild!” record.

Only the most confident and intelligent songwriters are able to inject humor into their work, and Fulks is among the best, as “F&%k This Town” (off 1997’s “South Mouth) and “She Took a Lot of Pills (and Died),” from his 1996 debut, “Country Love Songs,” clearly attest. But he’s also capable of moving songs of heartbreak and melancholy, most notably on “Upland Stories” (the title has no connection to Claremont’s eastern neighbor).

Perhaps the most direct route into Fulks’ artistry is through his own words. Along with songwriting, singing and playing guitar (and recently, some banjo as well), he’s a wonderful writer of prose. Check out his blog at for proof.

Doors for Robbie Fulks at the Folk Music Center, 220 Yale Ave., Claremont, open at 7 p.m. this Saturday, September 9. Tickets are $30 in advance at the store, or at the door. Last year’s show sold out, so early tickets are advised. More info is at or


Submit a Comment

Share This