Robbie Fulks is a singer, recording artist, instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter. His most recent release, 2017’s Upland Stories, earned year’s-best recognition from NPR and Rolling Stone among many others, as well as two Grammy® nominations, for folk album and American roots song (“Alabama At Night”).
Fulks was born in York, Pennsylvania, and grew up in a half-dozen small towns in southeast Pennsylvania, the North Carolina Piedmont, and the Blue Ridge area of Virginia. After 1980s stints playing with Greg Cahill’s Special Consensus Bluegrass Band and teaching at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, Robbie worked as a staff songwriter on Music Row in Nashville (1993-1998). His early solo work includes the influential early "alternative-country" records Country Love Songs (1996) and South Mouth (1997). His music from the last several years hews mainly to acoustic instrumentation; it returns him in part to his earlier bluegrass days, and extends the boundaries of that tradition with sparely orchestrated reflections on love, the slings of time, and the troubles of common people.
Radio: multiple appearances on WSM’s “Grand Ole Opry,” PRI’s “Whadd’ya Know” and “Prairie Home Companion," NPR’s “Fresh Air,” “Mountain Stage,” and “World Cafe.” TV: PBS’s Austin City Limits; NBC’s Today, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Later with Carson Daly, and 30 Rock. Artists who have covered his songs include Sam Bush, Kelly Hogan, Hiss Golden Messenger, Andrew Bird, Mollie O’Brien, Rosie Flores, John Cowan, and Old 97s. Festivals he’s played include Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Calgary Folk Festival, Bumbershoot, Birmingham City Stages, IBMA, Walnut Valley Festival (Winfield KS), Wakarusa (Lawrence KS), Americanafest (Nashville), Hideout Block Party, Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Taste of Chicago, Rhode Island Rhythm and Roots, Whispering Beard, and Pickathon.
Mr. Fulks is more than a songwriter. He's a gifted guitarist, a soulful singer with an expressive honky-tonk tenor, and he's a natural performer. But what really sets him apart is his songwriting.
-New York Times
His picking and playing find a natural setting in which to inhabit the minds and stories of characters far more likely to be found in the Appalachian foothills than the concrete jungle of his home city, Chicago.
One of the most observant and wry songwriters of the past two decades.