Bruce Robison celebrates Texas-size hit

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070810/BUSINESS11/708100388/1438/ENTERTAINMENT50

Friday, 08/10/07

Texas songwriter Bruce Robison celebrated the success of his third No. 1 hit, “Wrapped,” with a party at BMI this week. Robison wrote the song about an experience he had with his wife, Kelly Willis, and fellow Texan George Strait took it to the top of the charts in July for his 55th No. 1 single.

“We’ve been married for 11 years,” Robison said before the party. “We went out for five years before we got married, and we broke up two times. I wrote the song about her one of those times. I would think I was over her, and then I would see her again and realize I was completely gone.”

Robison, whose sister-in-law is Dixie Chick Emily Robison, also penned the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill hit “Angry All the Time” and the Dixie Chicks’ No. 1 record “Traveling Soldier.” He said the secret to his songwriting success, and his sanity, may be that he lives in Austin, Texas, not Music City.

“In Austin, there is just nothing going on music business-wise,” he said. “I love going to Nashville because of the excitement and electricity of things going on. There are always people cutting and deals getting made. If you live there, I don’t think that can help but affect you, and it can affect the way you write. I don’t necessarily think that’s good for me.”

Babies bring the No. 1s

He said he and Willis, who is also a singer/songwriter, have a pretty reliable way of gauging when one of his songs is going to be a hit: Willis gets pregnant. The couple are parents to Dodie, 6, twins Abigail and Benjamin, 4, and Joseph, 18 months.

“We were pregnant with Dodie when we found out about ‘Angry All the Time,’ ” he said. “Then we were pregnant with our last baby when we heard about ‘Wrapped.’ We pretty much had a hit every time we found out we were pregnant.”

Robison opted not to bring most of his children to the party, but he did persuade Dodie to climb out of the swimming pool long enough to celebrate the occasion. Other guests at the shindig included Willis; Strait’s manager, Erv Woolsey; Bill Catino, head of promotion at MCA Records; former TV host Harry Chapman; songwriter Mando Saenz; Tamara Saviano, publicist for Kris Kristofferson; Jody Williams, vice president of writer-publisher relations at BMI; and Frank Liddell and Travis Hill, co-owners of Carnival Music.

“Bruce Robison was the first writer we ever signed at Carnival,” Hill said. We’re very proud of his songs, and he’s just a great person.”

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