Beloved Americana piano man John Fullbright hits Dosey Doe - The Big Barn with a new album, The Liar, on Oct 9
THE WOODLANDS, TX – John Fullbright, the popular singer/songwriter who got his start in 2008 with the Oklahoma band The Turnpike Troubadours, returns to the stage after an eight-year hiatus when he hits Dosey Doe - The Big Barn on October 9.
The public at large hasn’t heard much from Fullbright since his critically lauded album Songs, despite a GRAMMY nod, an Americana Music Association Emerging Artist nomination, and awards from ASCAP and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
“It’s been a process of learning how to be in a community of musicians and less focusing on the lone, depressed songwriter and just playing something that has a beat and is really fun,” Fullbright said. He is also ending his self-imposed dry spell with the release of his new LP, The Liar, opening up his newfound trust in musical collaboration for the world to hear.
Earlier this week, the Austin-American Statesman premiered Fullbright’s latest single, “Stars,” with music writer Peter Blackstock saying that it “instantly struck me as an American classic… an extraordinary singer, Fullbright puts all of his heart and emotion into the simple yet cathartic lyrics.” Uncut named The Liar their “Americana Album of the Month” in the recent November 2022 issue, praising his vocal might and “renewed lightness of spirit.”
The album was recorded at Steve and Charlene Ripley’s farm-to-studio compound in northeastern Oklahoma. After Steve’s passing, Charlene flirted with the idea of selling the studio property, so Fullbright mobilized quickly to ensure he was able to record there before it changed hands. He threw together a band made up of, as Fullbright calls them, “the usual suspects.” Anyone fleetingly familiar with Oklahoma music will recognize the roster, which includes Jesse Aycock, Aaron Boehler, Paul Wilkes, Stephen Lee, and Paddy Ryan, all of whom are in more bands than seems possible. Along with a few more friends stopping in to lay down takes, they finished the songs and tracked the album with engineer Jason Weinheimer in a whirlwind four days.
“It was such a collaborative thing with some really cool voices,” Fullbright said, expressing surprise at the ease of the process. “It's just like playing music in Tulsa. Everybody kind of does whatever they do, and it works.”
The grab-and-go momentum landed Fullbright in the studio with some old songs (“Unlocked Doors” also appeared on 2009’s Live at the Blue Door), some new, and some unfinished, making his newfound trust in musical collaboration essential to the arrangements and reflected fully on the final album. The Liar, as a result, utilizes emotional and instrumental dynamics in ways Fullbright hasn’t allowed himself to explore fully before. There’s a noticeable slack here, an indulgent instrumental break there, and the general feeling that the tight-lipped John Fullbright who agonized over the writing process and then hesitated to talk about the meanings behind his songs in the past has eased up.
“What rules didn’t I have?” Fullbright said about his former songwriting self. “Even like, how many syllables were in a line, I had arbitrary rules for. So much of that has gone out the door, and I’m so much happier. It’s really just the idea that you don’t have to do this by yourself. It’s so much more fun to collaborate.”
Doors open on the night of the concert at 6:30 p.m. with a full course meal available before Fullbright mounts the stage at 8 o’clock. More information about Fullbright and his music can be found at johnfullbrightmusic.com/tour.