Singer-songwriter and guitarist Robbie Faulks will be featured at the first of five concerts scheduled in the 33rd season of winter folk concerts at the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek on Wednesday, November 16. Tickets for the 8pm concert are $20.
The Chicago Tribune calls Robbie Fulks “…a masterly, …multifaceted songwriter…who can belt out hip-shaking, honky tonk, honeydew pop and chilling little ballads…with an unrivaled skill and spirt. So good, he’s scary.” Fulks is prodigiously talented, with the soul of a country singer and the mind of a vaudevillian. Widely regarded as one of the most gifted songwriters to ever ply the trade, he can sing the kids ditty “Eggs” and Merle Haggard’s “Sing a Sad Song” back to back and mean them both. Lost in the deserved accolades for being a fabulously unique, clever and heartfelt writer is the fact that he’s also one of the best guitarists around, who can whip it out in honky-tonk, country, bluegrass, power pop or whatever strikes his whimsy at the time.
Born in York, Pennsylvania, Robbie grew up in a half-dozen towns in southeast Pennsylvania, the North Carolina Piedmont and the Blue Ridge area of Virginia. He attended Columbia College in New York City before dropping out to focus on the Greenwich Village songwriter scene.
In the mid-1980’s Fulks moved to Chicago and joined Greg Cahill’s Special Consensus Bluegrass Band, with whom he made one record in 1989. Since then he has gone on to create a multifaceted career in music. He has been a staff instructor in guitar and ensemble at Old Town School of Folk Music, worked on Nashville’s Music Row as a staff songwriter, and has made multiple appearances on WSM’s “Grand Ole Opry," NPR’s “Fresh Air," PBS’s "Austin City Limits," NBC’s “Today Show," “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” and “30 Rock.”
An optional fixed price dinner will be served before the concert, at 6 pm. The menu consists of Pork and Tomatillo Stew served with tortilla chips, salad of chopped mixed greens, apples, jicama, avocado and honey-lime dressing. Dessert will be Pumpkin Flan.
The White Gull Inn folk concert series debuted in 1984, with monthly concerts November through April. In those days, according to White Gull Innkeeper Andy Coulson, such performances were called “house concerts” because they were usually held in the home of someone who provided lodging, dinner and breakfast and took up a collection at the door for the artist. Although not strictly a house, The White Gull had the rooms and the meals, Coulson said. Before long, the series gained popularity and began attracting in artists such as Tom Paxton, Bob Gibson and John McCuen of the Nitty Gritty String Band. “It took a while, but the artists who came the first few years liked being here in winter and spread the word,” Coulson said
Besides Robbie Fulks in November, future concerts this season will feature the bluegrass band String Ties on December 7, 2016, the Molly Tuttle Band (bluegrass) on January 11, 2017, the Don Stiernberg Trio (acoustic jazz) on February 22 and singer songwriter Scott Cook on April 5.
For tickets and more information about upcoming concerts, plus the accompanying optional dinners, call the White Gull Inn at (920) 868-3517 or toll free at (800) 624-1987, or by visiting the Inn’s website, www.whitegullinn.com. If still available, concert tickets can be purchased at the door, although many concerts sell out, so advance ticket purchase and reservations for the pre-concert dinners are recommended.