Robbie Fulks is a country guy. Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Virginia and North Carolina, Fulks moved to Chicago 30 years ago. His country style became jazz and bluegrass fed, although he said he's still true to his roots. "That's basically a fancy way of saying I listen to all sorts of music under the sun, and since you are what you eat, it all slips in," Fulks said. Loyal Fulks fans know he'll always say it like it is. Often times he will make up lyrics to songs as he plays or improvise comedy sketches. "The script element is really light," Fulks said. "I think that's kind of Chicago-y, kind of Second City." Fulks had his first gig at 15, playing mostly guitar but a slew of other instruments, too, in a John Hartford-like act, he said. Playing country in Chicago alone, Fulks said, sets him apart from other musicians. To "widen his musical vocabulary" further, Fulks said, he joined a Hideout Chicago residency in 2010. Every show is inherently different because he plays with new musicians each week. "So you know one week I'll be playing with one person in a folky duo, and the next week I'll have four other guys onstage covering some rock album, and then next week it'll be swing," Fulks said. But through whatever transformations he experiences, Fulks said, he always keeps the recklessness and the drive that got him started close to heart.
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