Charlie Robison – “Reconsider”

Juli Thanki | June 19th, 2009

Charlie Robison Leo Tolstoy’s famous beginning of Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” can certainly be applied to country music, a genre known for—among other things—its extensive library of songs about various depressing things. Often it’s these unhappy songs that fascinate listeners the most. After all, how many “Outside My Window’s” can you hear before it all starts to run together, leaving you jonesing for “A Good Year for the Roses” or “Whiskey Lullaby?” Sometimes you just want to wallow in someone else’s soulcrushing misery.

“Reconsider” is one of those wallowing songs. For the gossip lovers out there, it also has that extra voyeuristic oomph to it due to Robison’s 2008 divorce from wife Emily. You may recall that the sweet smash “Cowboy Take Me Away,” co-written by Emily’s sister/fellow Chick Martie, was based on the couple’s courtship, making this song about a marriage’s disintegration even more depressing. Robison didn’t write “Reconsider,” (it was penned by Keith “El Cerrito Place” Gattis for his 2005 album Big City Blues) but it sure seems he’s lived every word when he despairs “was I ever good enough?” It’s a departure from the goofy swagger of his better known songs “Right Man for the Job” or “Life of the Party,” but this vulnerability seems to suit Charlie Robison.

Gattis’ version is good, but Robison’s interpretation is excellent, a standout track on an album bursting with standout tracks. Of special note is the chorus, in which he pleads “If I tried would you reconsider/Would you reconsider coming home/If I cried would you reconsider/Would you reconsider coming home,” sounding as though he knows it’s a futile hope, but it’s all he’s got to hold on to as the world crumbles at his feet.

No, “Reconsider” isn’t the carefree hit of the summer; but it’ll stick with you long after your suntan has faded.

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  1. Baron Lane
    June 19, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Cool. Tolstoy’ and the Dixie Chicks in the same review. I agree, this is a great song within a great album.

  2. Kelly
    June 19, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Charlie Robison might be the new Dale WAtson or Justin Townes Earl of the 9513 with all the recent mentions…which is totally fine with me!

  3. Leeann Ward
    June 19, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Yes, ditto to this review. Glad our conclusions were the same, especially the interpretation of it being a futile hope.

  4. Leeann Ward
    June 19, 2009 at 9:31 am

    So far, Charlie Robison does not appear to be especially interesting to Country Universe readers, but I plan to do my part to change that.

  5. Rick
    June 19, 2009 at 10:47 am

    To my knowledge Keith Gattis has been Ashley Monroe’s steady boyfriend for the last couple of years, so its likely he wrote this prior to their hooking up! (lol)

    Charlie Robison has strong musical appeal to Texans and fans of the whole Red Dirt / Texas Regional music scene sound but not much beyond that. His stint as a judge on Nashville Star had most viewers asking “Who’s he? Oh, me’s that mister Dixie Chick guy.” While artists like Pat Green and Jack Ingram can actually transition successfully to Top 40 country radio, I don’t expect Charlie to ever pull it off. He’s just an Americana kind of guy….

  6. Kelly
    June 19, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Rick – Charlie still draws really well when he tours outside of Texas, plus he was a regular presence on CMT with his creative videos for much of the time between 2000-2005, so I think his proifile is higher than you claim it to be.

    When i interviewed him for the podcast, we chatted for a bit “off-mic”, and he admitted to me (he eluded to this on the podcast also) that he made concessions in order to please the label and hopefully gain more fans in the process in the past, but his days of doing that are over. He went on to say that he got more than a taste of that fame and couldve had more, but it’s just not for him. Sometimes I hear that from artists who “missed the big-time” and think its crap, but he was able to convince me that he was sincere in that regard. Sadly, your assertion that he is an “Americana kind of guy” is most likely correct from a national stand-point, I am just glad that we dont give a crap about that here in the good ol’ Lone Star State!

  7. Leeann Ward
    June 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Another thing that I thought was interesting in Kelly’s interview with him is that he said that the songs that made national charts quickly dropped from his set list while it was other songs with less mainstream popularity are the ones that everyone wants to hear at the shows.

  8. Leeann Ward
    June 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Oops, that was a very poorly constructed sentence. Hopefully, you get the gist though, because I’m too lazy to rewrite it.

  9. Brady Vercher
    June 19, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Don’t jump the shark, Kelly…

    This one is pretty dang desperate…and that’s why I like it. He’s so low that he’s not even asking her to come back home, he’s only asking that she reconsider it and even throws in a few preconditions. Excuse me while I go shed a tear. I think it might be one of my favorites on the album.

  10. Matt C.
    June 19, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    The Tolstoy reference is a rather transparent attempt to validate Jim’s “hillbilly scholar” thesis, but, regardless, Juli Thanki is a goddess.

  11. Chris N.
    June 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Tolstoy is the new Dale Watson.

  12. Kelly
    June 19, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Brady, Jump what shark? You know I have to defend us Texans to Rick!

    Dale Watson is the other white meat.

  13. Juli
    June 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Tolstoy does have a rather substantial influence in the country music world: Jamey Johnson has the same facial hair. Also, “Between Jennings and Jones” was originally titled “Betwixt Gogol and Dostoevsky.” True story.

  14. Brady Vercher
    June 19, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I thought some of Dostoyevsky’s ramblings about suffering would go well with the Tolstoy.

  15. Rick
    June 19, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    So, do all you 9513 staff and contributors have “POEM” t-shirts you secretly wear when listening to “Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian”? Crikey, mate! (lol)

  16. Jamie
    September 11, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I much prefer Gattis’s version (THE original)…but that’s just me.

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