For the way Bruce and Charlie Robisons careers have gone, youd think they must have been plotted since birth. Wrong.
We never planned for anything like this, Bruce Robison said. We were off to college and had no thoughts of playing music. When we both dropped out of college and decided to move to Austin, we kind of just fell into it.
Added Charlie Robison, There wasnt even anybody that was musical in our family. We were all fans and grew up on a ranch together with a lot of good music being played, but thats about it.
Its become the brothers lives and livelihood, each one mirroring the other. Theyve both released more than a halfdozen albums, written hit singles and sustained successful solo country careers for more than 15 years. The pair has traveled a parallel path from the very beginning, and every intersection has pushed them farther than before. Its appreciated now, but the invisible cord was resented before.
I used to hate it, Bruce Robison said. When we first started out, it was like getting a job and having your sibling at the next desk over, and you were just trying to get noticed and figure out who you were.
When I hear one of his records, it gets me inspired and wanting to write, Charlie Robison said. Its the same way with him. Its not some competition it just helps fuel the creative fire for both of us.
I used to hate it.
For all their similarities, there are just as many differences, and thats probably why sibling rivalry didnt get the best of them.
Bruce is the songsmith and vanguard who keeps his eye on industry trends; Charlie is the truer performer, with the charisma and presence of the country troubadours of the 1970s and 80s. They both admire what the other has and strive toward it.
We go about music a lot different, Charlie Robison said. Hes a technician with the songs, he writes all the time, and is one of those people who write three to four days a week. Im on the road a little more, do a lot more traveling, and Im the one writing ideas on napkins in a hotel room, putting it together a week before I go into the studio.
Said Bruce Robison, When we were growing up, he was much more of a gregarious, explosive kind of personality, and thats the way his music comes out. He has that feeling like Willie or Merle where he can sing anything. He has a persona that comes through really strong, and thats a gift.
Looking forward, Bruce Robison is planning a duets album with his wife, Lawton-born Kelly Willis, as well as a steady stream of digital singles; Charlie Robison is preparing to record a followup to his 2009 album, Beautiful Day.
Until then, both will continue to tour, realizing its only a matter of time before their paths cross again, like their nearmiss at Wormy Dog Saloon, with each playing within a weeks time.
Bruce Robison will have you know they look forward to that now.
Its hard to imagine doing this alone, he said.