Under the Influence: Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis

Juli Thanki | July 2nd, 2014

Under the Influence is a monthly(ish) feature in which artists discuss the writers who have influenced them over the years. Last week we got the chance to ask Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison about the artists who have inspired them.

Robison: Willie Nelson was probably the biggest influence all the way around, but as a singer-songwriter, it’s Guy Clark: when I was growing up in Bandera, Texas, I heard a lot of Guy songs through Jerry Jeff Walker. Now, when I listen to songs and think of where it sounds the most similar to the approach I take and everything, I think my biggest influence as a writer definitely be Guy. To me, his voice is very similar to the way that I write. I’m kind of a ponderer, which is why I lean more toward writing by myself. I have always loved the process of starting with a little something – a melody or an idea – and trying to build on it until you have something that feels finished…but it’s been a struggle ever since we had children. There’s just not enough hours in the day, and it’s a real struggle to find the time and space to be creative.

 

Willis: I’d have to say that Lucinda Williams was the biggest inspiration for me. I was only writing very rarely back when I first started making records. She had such a unique voice and her songs were unlike anyone else’s. When I heard her music, I felt that it gave me the freedom to think that I could write my own goofy little weird songs, that I didn’t have to be Bob Dylan to write a song. If it was just me, my voice, and something I wanted to say, then it could be good.

  1. Leeann Ward
    July 2, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Dang children!

    • Juli Thanki
      July 2, 2014 at 9:21 am

      They ruin everything…until they get good enough at math to work the merch table.

  2. Leeann Ward
    July 2, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I was just going to say “They ruin everything!”:) Yes, it’s good when they at least get old enough to earn their keep. If not a merch table, a paper route will do.

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