Charlie Robison is a country singer-songwriter. He is known for his willingness to incorporate influences from other genres, which is connected to his refusal to be constrained by mainstream country music’s limitations. Robison announced his retirement after a two-decade-long career in 2018 because of surgery-related complications. However, he seems to have recovered because he started playing again in 2022.
Here is our opinion of the ten best Charlie Robison songs ever released:
10. “One In a Million”
The United States has a rich history of tall tales. Some of them spun their heroes out of pure imagination. Others were about real people, who became exaggerated in the telling. Step Right Up’s “One In a Million” fits right into this cultural context. It isn’t the most sober song ever recorded. Fortunately, Robison imbued it with enough humor to sell it.
Once upon a time, Robison was married to Emily Erwin, a founding member of the Chicks. Beautiful Day came out a year after their divorce. Thanks to that, it is easy to read a current of regret running throughout much of the studio album. “Reconsider” is one of the best examples. Moreover, it is one of the finest songs from Beautiful Day, which is no small compliment considering the experience that went into the studio album’s making.
8. “Loving County”
Given the name, one might expect “Loving County” to be an extra-corny love song. The funny thing is that expectation couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, “Loving Country” came out on Life of the Party, a surprisingly depressing studio album considering its name. Indeed, the song’s narrator murders a woman so he can use her ring to propose to his ex-girlfriend, who ran off with someone else. Suffice it to say “Loving County” started poorly before plummeting downwards while remaining highly listenable the entire way.
7. “Good Times”
Good Times came out in 2004. It wasn’t as adventurous as its predecessors. However, that isn’t necessarily bad because familiarity makes its material more relatable. For instance, the title track makes for a decent party song. It isn’t brainless, but it has the resilience of spirit perfect for someone who wants to focus on the happier side of things.
6. “Sunset Boulevard”
Of course, “Sunset Boulevard” refers to the famous road in Los Angeles. This is yet another song from Life of the Party. As a result, interested individuals shouldn’t be surprised to learn that this isn’t the happiest piece ever recorded and released. “Sunset Boulevard” isn’t quite as dark as “Loving County.” The narrator is wishing he was a superstar with the standard set of superstar scandals so he can distract himself from how his ex broke up with him.
“Barlight” is Robison’s debut single. Still, interested individuals shouldn’t mistake it as the product of an inexperienced singer-songwriter, seeing as he played in several bands before embarking on a solo career. Amusingly, “Barlight” is a more playful song than its album-mates, “Loving County” and “Sunset Boulevard.” Here, the narrator is playing with nursery rhymes by coming up with one better suited for how he spends his nights as an adult, which is why the song follows “Barlight” with “Bar Bright.”
4. “El Cerrito Place”
El Cerrito is one of the cities that make up the San Francisco Bay Area. That should be more than enough for the listener to figure out that this song is about a desperately-lonely individual who has been separated from his significant other. Some people will know “El Cerrito Place” because Kenny Chesney released a version in 2012, which did well enough to reach the Billboard Hot 100. Robison’s version never charted at all. Despite that, it has its charms, meaning interested individuals shouldn’t ignore it in preference for its counterpart.
3. “Big City Blues”
Different people have different preferences. Some people do great when moving from small towns to big cities. In contrast, others find it a miserable experience, whether because they don’t connect with the people, the practices, or something else altogether. Perhaps unsurprisingly, country music tends to focus on the latter. This song’s narrator feels homesick because of his time in the big city. What makes this intriguing is the third verse, which mentions that his father parted ways with his mother on poor terms because his father preferred “big city girls.” The sequence encourages the listener to wonder about the exact circumstances of the narrator’s visit without providing the answers. Something that does much to set the song apart from its similar-themed counterparts.
2. “New Year’s Day”
“New Year’s Day” feels like a post-binge song. The lyrics make it sound like the narrator had a wild time last night. However, they also make it clear that it was more weird than anything else, meaning it wasn’t necessarily good throughout. In a way, these things make “New Year’s Day” feel more authentic-sounding, thus enabling it to stand out.
1. “My Hometown”
“My Hometown” was the second of Robison’s three singles from Life of the Party. It isn’t his highest-charting song. Instead, “My Hometown” peaked at the number 65 position on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Still, it remains one of Robison’s most popular songs ever released. This is the kind of song that resonates the most with people who have been around for a while. It doesn’t have a point to make. Similarly, it doesn’t have a lesson to teach. Even so, “My Hometown” has a certain worn-out magnetism to it, meaning its popularity isn’t without cause.
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