“My life has been a battle
between my creative and self-destructive tendencies. Sometimes the self-destructive side actually feeds the creative side. As a songwriter, I try to put all those experiences into each one of my songs.” - Brian Lee Robinson
The best songwriters tap into life’s ups and downs and then deliver those powerful emotions through lyrics and melody. Perhaps no one knows this fact better than a singer/songwriter from Texas named Brian Lee Robinson. Over the years, armed with only a pen and six-string, he has turned his own demons into demos and life stories into songs.
Brian Lee was only eight years old when his dad passed away. Although they weren’t close, it was an event which greatly affected his musical life. He explains, “My dad’s demons took him at an early age, but not before his love of country music wore off on me.” Brian was in his mid-teens, when he began to morph from a poet into a lyricist. “It was because of this ability to see the song lyrics in my head, I decided I’d better learn to play the guitar,” offers Robinson. By the time he was in his late teens, he was not only playing guitar and composing songs, but performing in a Houston-based band.
At the age of twenty-two, after graduating Texas A&M, Brian packed up a trailer and headed off to Music City, U.S.A. He found himself working odd jobs on Music Row in Nashville, “I was living that starving artist life - I was crazy, constantly battling my self-destructive habits.” Brian’s big break came when he met guitarist and musical virtuoso Jerry Barlow - who helped him get a job as a copyboy at Merit Music in Nashville.
During the 1980s, Brian met many other songwriters including Roger Alan Wade, Keith Palmer, Mentor Williams, and Steve Cropper. He also landed many cuts from the likes of “Whispering Bill” Anderson, Roger Alan Wade, Tom Grant, Hank Thompson, and Jack Greene.” However, Brian’s most celebrated chart success came in 1985 when a song of his entitled “You Lifted Me High Enough” - performed by The Mercey Brothers – peaked at number ten on the Canadian Country Charts.
In the 1990s, Robinson formed his own publishing company with Roger Alan Wade, which turned out more cuts including “Run Like the Wind,” recorded by Thrasher Shiver and Cleve Francis. Via their publishing company, Robinson and Wade came very close to a deal with Curb Records with five of their songs. “We put a lot of work into that, and it would have been a great album, but unfortunately it was never released,” offers Brian.
The stress of near-success and Brian Lee’s constant battle with addictions caused him to have to move back home to Texas in 1999 to regain control of his life. He gives some personal insight, “I was battling my own problems and I needed to step away from the music business for a while - but I never quit writing.” Away from Music City, Brian completely rebuilt his life, slayed his demons … and kept true to his songwriting. He kept in constant contact with his Nashville contacts and sending them his new demos. By 2013, with the song catalog bulging at the seams, he knew it was time to re-enter the music business and began working on his début album as a singer/songwriter.
In 2014, he released Written with Blood, a raw and real collection of twelve all-original songs that were stylistically reminiscent of the honky-tonk sounds of the 60s and 70s. Critics remarked that it’s key track, “That Old Cat,” stood out as a ‘Johnny Cash meets Townes Van Zandt’ collision of classic country. Written with Blood, however, stands as more a reflection and compilation of the development of Brian Lee Robinson over the last thirty years as a songwriter and showcases his ability to tap into the extremes of human emotion.
His new EP The Texas Side of Nashville, is cut in the studio and more polished, but the Songwriting and down home honesty is unmistakable. It is pure Brian Lee Robinson. Brian’s well-crafted lyrics come from his own experiences of love and loss. His music visits the very extremes of human emotions - from sadness to satire and even good ole’ honky-tonk humor. .” The school of life teaches tough lessons, and that comes ringing through all of Brian Lee Robinson’s songs