Bio & Press

Out of these Blues, was voted No. 1 Album by Texas Music Scene, and Top 10 Album by Austin City Limits, No Depression, 93.3 KGSR, and Texas Music Magazine! Robyn was also voted a Top 10 Female Musician of 2011 by No Depression and Top 10 Best Song by No Depression and Texas Music Scene. Out of These Blues features a dizzying cast, including Producer/Multi-instrumentalist Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams), Ian “Mac” MacLagan (Faces, Rolling Stones), John Ludwick, Eddie Cantu, Gene Elders (George Strait, Lyle Lovett), Trish Murphy and Slaid Cleaves.

“The Queen of Modern Texas Country Soul” – No Depression

“The most formidable writer of the Robisons.” – Lone Star Music Magazine

“Now and then, a young artist arrives with such confidence that you wonder where he or she has been hiding. Ludwick sings, and she does seem inhabited by an old soul. Fortunately, she’s very much with us now.” – Texas Monthly

***Robyn will be featured in Indie Film, “Lost. Vegas. Hiway.” alongside Jack Ingram and Hal Ketchum.*** http://www.lostvegashiway.com/

BIOGRAPHY

Songwriting, like all true art, cannot be rushed. Scratch that. It can be rushed — but it shouldn’t. All songs reveal themselves in their own time, and whether that be all at once in a burst of inspiration or slowly over time — days, weeks, sometimes even years — well, the best songwriters come to learn and accept that patience is as essential to their craft as musical acumen and an innate way with words. Jump the gun and force a song before its time is right, and odds are the results will leave a lot to be desired.

The same can be said for artists themselves. Just ask Robyn Ludwick. Now four critically acclaimed albums into her career, the Wimberley, Texas based singer-songwriter has distinguished herself over the last decade as one of the most ferociously compelling voices not only in her native Lone Star State, but across the wider Americana landscape both home and abroad. But considering the fact that she didn’t start writing songs until she was 31 years old begs the question: What took her so long? Or, as Texas Monthly put it more tactfully in a review of Ludwick’s 2005 debut, For So Long, “Now and then, a young artist arrives with such confidence that you wonder where he or she has been hiding.”

Of course, confident and even staggeringly good debut albums are not unheard of — especially in a genre that’s produced such time-tested classics as Guy Clark’s Old No. 1, Steve Earle’s Guitar Town and the self-titled debuts from John Prine and Willis Alan Ramsey. But For So Long carried an extra element of surprise given that Robyn Ludwick, far from coming out of nowhere, just happened to be the previously unheard-from “kid” sister of two of the most respected and/or notorious Texas singer-songwriters of their generation, Bruce and Charlie Robison. By extension, that also made her the sister-in-law of Americana darling Kelly Willis and a Dixie Chick (Emily Robison) — not to mention the wife of in-demand studio and road bassist John “Lunchmeat” Ludwick. As “musical families” go, that’s a veritable full house spilling out onto the front lawn. But Robyn, ever the rebel at heart, started out on a very different path. Having ostensibly had her fill of dancehalls and honky-tonks by her late teens (her mother was a bartender), she married young, put herself through college and secured a “real world” career in forensic engineering. It was no mere fling, either; although she was between jobs when she finally gave songwriting a whirl in her early 30s, she was back in the engineering field long before her music career took off and managed to keep one foot planted in both worlds for more than a decade. In fact, it wasn’t until shortly after the summer 2014 release of her fourth album that she finally quit her “day job” for good and committed herself full-time to her true calling.

Of course, hindsight being 20/20, it’s clear now that music was this woman’s destiny all along. But tempting as it is to still ask “what took her so long,” and even wonder what might have happened had she only seen the light sooner, the fact is that Robyn Ludwick became an artist right when she did and not a minute sooner because for her, it was just time. Had she started her journey in her early 20s like most of her peers, she’d doubtless have a few hundred thousand more miles on her music odometer, with perhaps as many more fans and in all likelihood a discography twice as long as the one she has now. But at what cost art? A debut Robyn Ludwick album written and recorded when she was still shy of 25 might very well have made for a fine portrait of the artist as a young woman, but it most certainly would not have been as powerful an opening statement as For So Long, a record steeped in the hard-earned, world-weary wisdom of a woman full grown, answering the call of the muse not because it was expected of her or even because anyone talked her into it, but because its pounding at the door could no longer be ignored. And though her confidence and command of both her writing and singing voice has only grown stronger with each subsequent release — 2008’s Too Much Desire, 2011’s Out of These Blues, and 2014’s Little Rain — that first record still holds its own.

“That was my first time to get into the studio, and I had no experience at all with that, but it was produced by Danny Barnes (of Bad Livers fame), and I remember him saying, ‘I want to produce this record and make somebody 20 years from now totally amp on it, where you can play it 20 years from now and have it still be totally relevant,” recalls Ludwick. “And I never forgot that. And another thing Danny said was that you can never remake your first record; that’s going to be your first impression on everyone, and so it better be something to really lay a strong foundation for you musically. And the third thing was, every record that you make going forward has to be better than the one before it. And I’ve stuck to that rule ever since.”

To that end, Ludwick has always had the good sense (and good fortune) to collaborate with some of the very best players and producers that the fertile Texas/Americana music scene has to offer. Out of These Blues (and Little Rain) were helmed by the esteemed Americana heavyweight Gurf Morlix (Ray Wylie Hubbard, Lucinda Williams, Slaid Cleaves), garnering her accolades such as Top 10 Best Album honors from Austin City Limits, Texas Music Magazine, No Depression, Ray Benson’s Texas Music Scene and KGSR in 2011. But on every record, just as onstage every night she plays, it’s Ludwick’s songs that really do the heavy lifting. As a writer, she’s utterly fearless, whether she’s channeling torrid desire, devastating loneliness or wrestling her way through the wreckage of tortured family history. It’s no wonder that her brothers, no strangers to fine craftsmanship themselves, have both mined her catalog for such gems as “Departing Louisiana,” “Monte Carlo” and “Out of These Blues” — though as of yet, nobody’s sung a Robyn Ludwick song as powerfully as Robyn herself. There’s just something about the tug and grit of her slow, sultry Texas drawl that lends extra weight and bittersweet ache to every word.

It’s those songs and that voice that have earned Ludwick a loyal cult following of discerning Americana and roots music fans around the world. Even when she was still holding down a demanding engineering job (not to mention raising two young children), she worked as hard as any of her peers in the business, logging several tours across the States and overseas to both Europe and Australia. Naturally, she’s also done her fair share of performing throughout her home state, from listening rooms and theaters to festivals to spearheading 2015’s hugely successful Texas Flood of Love, a multi-artist benefit concert that raised more than $120,000 for Wimberley flood relief. But even though a writer for No Depression recently dubbed her “the queen of modern Texas country soul,” Ludwick has never once felt confined — or defined — by the rubric of “Texas music,” let alone any other one genre. Rest assured, the Bandera-native can still write the hell out of a great country song when she sets her mind to it, as evidenced by “Bars Ain’t Closin’,” a song she co-wrote with an aspiring young artist she was mentoring of late that was just cut by Texas favorite Wade Bowen and Holly “Granddaughter of Hank” Williams. Just don’t count on hearing much in the way of dancehall country or straight shuffles on her own next record. Although it’s still in the very early stages, Ludwick describes the work-in-progress as a powerful set of rocking songs cut with a decidedly sharper edge than anything she’s done to date … as only befits an artist who’s been hellbent on making up for lost time ever since she hit the ground running 10 years ago. So don’t be fooled by the cowering, battered victim she plays in her upcoming film debut (opposite a scarily convincing Gurf Morlix, and also starring Hal Ketchum and Ingram in an indie flick called Lost. Vegas. Hiway.); in her own life and music, Robyn Ludwick is every bit as much of a badass as such two of her own role models, Chrissie Hynde and Lucinda Williams.

“That’s really my goal, to be somebody that a young girl in this business, whether it’s here in Texas or in Timbuktu, can look up to like that,” she says. “Because chicks like Chrissie Hynde … those women are incredible, and they never let adversity affect their career. Their music was what they kept sacred through the whole thing and they never let anybody fuck with that, and I’m so about I’m so about that. That may not take me to the mainstream or anywhere near it, but it’s going to do some cool stuff, I think. That’s the idea, man.”

PHOTOS