© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison Take The Stage At The Pioneer Museum In Fredericksburg

Carin Lamontagne
Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis love TPR!

Real life husband and wife singers Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis separately have very distinguished music careers. But now they’ve created an additional noteworthy body of work together.

“We just got a new record we’re putting out, it’s our second record together. And so we’ll be doing a lot of material from our brand new record,” Willis said.

Where they’ll be doing it is at Fredericksburg’s Pioneer Museum on Saturday night, May 31, as part of the venue's roots music series.

“We’ll have stand-up bass, a pedal steel, a fiddle, Bruce plays harmonica, we both play acoustic guitars, and we have drums," Willis said. "It is country music, but it’s not the kind of stuff that’s in Nashville.”

There’s a curious story I came across where at a performance, someone once yelled out a request for “Me and Bobby McGee,” which is not a song their band played. Willis describes what happened next:

“To my surprise, Bruce could," she said. "He did it completely, without missing a beat. It was a big, glorious moment for him, which of course irritated me because I’m his wife and things like that irritate me because we’re a little competitive.”

So she planned sweet revenge, deciding to learn the old hit "Harper Valley PTA," which is a complicated, difficult, very wordy song.

“It changes key three times,” Willis noted.

But her plan needed further planning.

"(I) phoned the band to be sure they were ready to play it, planted someone in the crowd to request it," Willis said. After the request, it all played out this way: "Bruce says, ‘Oh, no I don’t think we know it,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, I think I can!' "

She of course sang it without flaw.

“It really surprised him. It was great fun for me,” Willis said, and now "Harper Valley PTA" has become a mainstay of their show.

“The shows are really fun. This is the most satisfying moment of the whole cycle for me,” she said.