New Release: John Fullbright – Social Skills

While straightforward songwriting certainly has its place in every last genre of music, it’s the sneaky, or clever, or “is this a joke or not?” kind of tunes that can really leave a lasting mark on discerning listeners. John Fullbright’s new single, “Social Skills,” is a striking example of the musician’s deviously masterful songcraft; combining deeply funny lyrics with a distressed delivery that leaves listeners confused about whether or not they’re supposed to laugh.

“Social Skills” rides a thumping, straightforward rock groove while Fullbright links line after line of what its like to lean on one vice or another—or all of them—to cope with a lack of, you guessed it, social skills. The song’s catchy refrain is repeatedly delivered with a sing along tinge, but it’s a devastatingly honest confession from its writer: “So I drink this gin and I take these pills, just because I don’t have social skills.”

The public at large hasn’t heard much from Fullbright since his album Songs; a chasm of eight years that seemed unthinkable for someone with so much hype—including a GRAMMY nod, an Americana Music Association Emerging Artist nomination, and awards from ASCAP and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame—surrounding his early career. “It’s been a process of learning how to be in a community of musicians and less focusing on the lone, depressed songwriter…just playing something that has a beat and is really fun,” Fullbright says. On September 30th, Fullbright is set to end the dry spell with the release of his new LP, The Liar, opening up his newfound trust in musical collaboration for the world to hear. “That’s not to say there are no songs on this record where I depart from that because there are, but there’s also a band with an opinion. And that part is new to me.”

The Liar was recorded at Steve and Charlene Ripley’s farm-to-studio compound in northeastern Oklahoma. After Steve’s passing, Charlene flirted with the idea of selling the studio property, so Fullbright mobilized quickly to ensure he was able to record there before it changed hands. He threw together a band made up of, as Fullbright calls them, “the usual suspects.” Anyone fleetingly familiar with Oklahoma music will recognize the roster, which includes Jesse Aycock, Aaron Boehler, Paul Wilkes, Stephen Lee, and Paddy Ryan, all of whom are in more bands than seems possible. Along with a few more friends stopping in to lay down takes, they finished the songs and tracked the album with engineer Jason Weinheimer in a whirlwind four days.

“It was such a collaborative thing with some really cool voices,” Fullbright said, expressing surprise at the ease of the process. “It’s just like playing music in Tulsa. Everybody kind of does whatever they do, and it works.”

Catch John Fullbright on tour…

September 23 – Santa Monica, CA – McCabe’s Guitar Shop
September 25 – Glen Ellen, CA – Jack London State Park
September 30 – Oklahoma City, OK – Blue Door (sold out)
October 1 – Oklahoma City, OK – Blue Door (sold out)
October 2 – Tulsa, OK – Fassler Hall
October 7 – Dallas, TX – The Kessler Theater
October 8 – Austin, TX – C-Boys Heart & Soul
October 9 – The Woodlands, TX – Dosey Doe
October 13 – Kansas, OK – Bushyhead Farm Fall Festival
October 23 – Pittsburgh, KS – Mountain Stage
October 26 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge
October 27 – Little Rock, AR – Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack
October 28 – Memphis, TN – B-Side
October 29 – Nashville, TN – The Bluebird Cafe
October 30 – Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
November 17 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall
November 20 – Fall River, MA – Narrows Center for the Arts
December 1 – Dallas, TX – Poor David’s Pub
December 2 – Austin, TX – The Saxon Pub
December 3 – La Grange, TX – The Bugle Boy
December 4 – Houston, TX – McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
December 5 – San Antonio, TX – Sam’s Burger Joint

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