I’ve been looking for a band like the Mo Robson Band for some time now—straight ahead honky-tonk. No frills. “Can’t Afford the Luck” is the first single from their new album, Can’t Afford the Luck scheduled for release on August 24th.
It’s workin’ man’s music that you can dance to, hum to, or crank up the volume to as you drive down the road. Makes you think of Hank Jr. and Waylon. Good ole kick-ass honky-tonk. I was just talking to a friend last week about the perfect recipe for honky-tonk – simple, gritty and driving. That’s what the Mo Robson Band is all about.
“Can’t Afford the Luck” is enjoyable music about barely surviving, feeding the family and working your ass off to survive. Something most of us can relate too.
Root Hog Radio caught up with lead man Mo Robson this week.
Roothog Radio: When did you know you were going to be a musician?
Mo Robson: I have always had a big interest in music and sports. I began playing the drums when I was about 13. When I was about 20 years old I knew music was what I wanted to do so I hung up my cleats and joined my first band as a drummer…leaving school and baseball behind.
Roothog Radio: Who were your musical influences early on?
Mo Robson: I grew up listening to anything from Waylon Jennings to Guns N Roses to Social Distortion to Merle Haggard.
Roothog Radio: Who are your musical influences now?
Mo Robson: Pretty much the same. I don’t listen to as much rock, but I still listen to what I grew up on. Guys like Steve Earle and Gram Parsons are guys I did not discover until later in life. Both have become big influences for me. I listen to them both regularly along with a lot of Waylon Jennings.
Roothog Radio: What is your definition of good honky-tonk music? Great honky-tonk music?
Mo Robson: Good honky-tonk music to me should be simple…and by simple I mean not overplayed. It also has to have a grit to it, even if it’s a slow song. Great honky-tonk music to me is four on the floor…rowdy and gritty tunes that make you want to dance and raise hell.
Roothog Radio: What was the inspiration for your new album?
Mo Robson: I’m really not sure to be honest with you. In writing and recording this album I wanted to get back to more of the older honky-tonk/outlaw sound and I think we achieved that. I wanted to make an album as stripped down and honest as possible both lyrically and sonically.
Roothog Radio: The Mo Robson Band is honky-tonk/outlaw. What do you think of the labels Americana and Rockabilly?
Mo Robson: Rockabilly I get. I understand what rockabilly is. Americana on the other hand is a little more vague to me. I like music that gets labeled Americana, but to me most of it should either be simply called rock or country.
Roothog Radio: Who are the current band members? What do they bring to the band?
Mo Robson: On drums is Brandon Rice, aka Spud Crowley. Spud also sings harmony vocals and we write together. Robby Baxter is our lead guitar player and also produced our new album Can’t Afford the Luck. Robby can play pretty much anything with strings on it. Aaron Wynne is playing steel guitar for us and is a very good songwriter. He has penned songs that have been recorded by Jason Boland and The Stragglers as well as Eleven Hundred Springs. On bass we have our youngest member Drew Harakal. He has really locked in with Spud helping to make our rhythm section very solid and strong. I feel very fortunate to have all of these guys on board with me. Not only are they all very talented but the chemistry is there both on and off stage.
Roothog Radio: How has the crappy economy affected you guys?
Mo Robson: It has affected us in a few ways, but the area we are most affected is with the high gas prices. Being on the road has gotten to be very expensive which cuts into our profits. It now seems like more folks are starting to get out more again though which is a good turn-around.
Roothog Radio: What’s your favorite aspect to live shows?
Mo Robson: The fans and the energy we feel on stage. I also like that you never really know what might happen next.
Roothog Radio: What makes Texas the best state?
Mo Robson: The people and the back roads. It’s also home.
I give “Can’t Afford the Luck” an enthusiastic 9.75/10 (Keep the 10 reserved for Hank Williams Jr. and Waylon Jennings).
Goes good with HWJ, Waylon and Willie.