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After an injury in college ended a potential football career, Charlie Robison came to Austin, Texas in the late 1980s and had stints in the bands Chaparral, Millionaire Playboys, and Two Hoots and a Holler. He went solo with his album "Bandera" in 1996. He subsequently signed with Sony and released "Life of the Party" on Sony's subsidiary Lucky Dog Records. The album gave him three of his biggest hits including "My Hometown." His next release was a live disc called "Unleashed Live," which is credited to Charlie, brother Bruce, and Jack Ingram. He then signed with Columbia Records for "Step Right Up" and another live album.
In 2003, Robison was a judge on the first season of the TV singing competition Nashville Star.
Unhappy with the expectations & limitations of being a Nashville country artist, he moved to a smaller independent label, Dualtone, for "Good Times" in 2004, followed by extensive touring and newfound control over his career. Accordingly, his sound began to evolve away from mainstream/Nashville country and toward more Southern & hard rock influences.
Five years after the release of Good Times, Robison released Beautiful Day on June 23, 2009 on Dualtone. This is the first CD he has self-produced. Both albums feature several songs written by Nashville singer/songwriter Keith Gattis.
His song "Good Times" was featured in the credits of HBO's original series True Blood in the first season's third episode.
In 2009 he embarked on an East Coast tour with stops in Little Rock, Nashville, Atlanta, Raleigh, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Iowa City, and Memphis to promote "Beautiful Day." Since then he has played primarily in Texas, with occasional shows in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.
He is known for playing classic rock covers during his live shows. Some of these include: "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Highway to Hell" (AC/DC), "Call me the Breeze" (JJ Cale), "Rocket Man" (Elton John), and several Rolling Stones songs, including "Dead Flowers" and "Honky Tonk Women." He also plays several songs associated with Willie Nelson, including "Whiskey River" and "Stay all Night."
His live band includes Mark Tokach (lead guitar), Abe Combest (Drums), Zeke Benenate (bass) J.C. Burt (steel guitar) and Chris Valdez (road manager/additional guitar). Prior to Beautiful Day, his band was known as The Enablers and included Keith Robinson (drums), Scott Esbeck (bass) and Travis Woodard (drums). Other notable members have included Kim Deschamps (pedal & lap steel, mandolin & guitar from 2000–2009), Kevin Carroll (guitar), Chris Grady (bass), Louis Landry (keyboards/accordion), and Kris Brown (bass). His recordings have also featured special guests Lloyd Maines (who produced Step Right Up and Good Times), Rich Brotherton, Charlie Sexton, and Natalie Maines (duet on "The Wedding Song" and harmony vocals on "El Cerrito Place").
In the fall of 2014, Charlie Robison opened Alamo Icehouse in San Antonio, Texas with former MLB player Brooks Kieschnick.