Bruce Robison – “Heartache to Houston”
Bruce Robison’s new single “Heartache to Houston” from upcoming album From the Top is currently available as a free download on his website—it might just be the best non-purchase you make all week.
“Heartache to Houston” begins like a slow burning fuse, with Robison coming to the harsh realization that “there’s nothing left worth saving” in his relationship. The solution? Leave town, of course. But this is country music, so that doesn’t quite work: he’s still seeing “her face in every headlight” as the miles fly by on I-10. The song slowly picks up speed and volume, and by the halfway mark it’s settled into a comfortable, mid-tempo groove anchored by drummer Joey Sheffield and guitarist Miles Zuniga of the band Fastball, both of whom know their way around an irresistible hook or two (remember late ’90s monster hit “The Way?”). This roots rock arrangement—which also includes Bruce Hughes and Brian Becken from the South Austin Jug Band—is a change of pace from Robison’s usual sound, but the song’s lyrics, vivid and sharply written, are typical Bruce. The portrait of a man spending hours behind the wheel, wanting to be anywhere but with his memories, is instantly recognizable to anyone who’s ever utilized this time honored method of (trying to) outrun heartbreak, or at least anyone who’s listened to “A Little Past Little Rock” a few dozen times.
Unfortunately, despite its catchiness, masterfully written lyrics, and an arrangement that’s made for steering wheel drumming, Robison’s version of “Heartache to Houston” might not get a lot of airplay outside of Texas. If some mainstream artist chose to record it, however, chances are it would go the way of Robinson-penned hits such as “Wrapped,” “Angry All the Time,” and “Travelin’ Soldier.”
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