Once Upon A Time In the East: How Bob Collum Blew Into Town and Settled Down
Hook-heavy, steel guitar-driven, rootsy power pop. - Time Out
“Go West, young man,” the cry went up of ages past. And they did. Except for one guy, who went East. And that’s Bob Collum, who in trading the praries for the less fetching plains of Britain’s surly southeast. has brought to these shores a tasty, tasteful taste of the music that both he and his native Tulsa, Oklahoma, call home.
In Tulsa, though, where everything is big as all outdoors – even indoors – nothing is done small, so on top of his power-pop influenced take on country music Bob has loaded, in a style akin to that of a pioneer with more cargo than wagon, about every last influence likely to be tried by a feller with a taste for audio adventure.
The Boy Most Likely Too... is a testimony to the enduring power of finely crafted songs played well. It deserves a wide hearing and appreciation. - Bucketfull of Brains
At the end of the 20th century millions of migrants swarmed America, looking for a better life, freedom, land, that kind of thing. Fast forward a hundred years and some change and one pilgrim name of Collum reverse the trend, arriving on Airstrip One just as the Millennium Bug bites and a troubled but excited world awaited a new hundred and got plenty: a reinvigorated B.C. bent on building upon the fantastic foundation of his first two albums (see the discography, folks, I haven’t got time to talk) and the formation of a new band.
Well, Okie Bob don’t take no for answer and before you could say 2004 Lazarus had unleashed on a new continent a new band and album, 'The Boy Most Likely To..', welcomed by major media with modest claims such as, “this is what the pop charts must sound like in heaven.”
'Bob Collum is so traditional in his use of country and western idioms that you almost expect the weeping slide guitar to be punctuated by somebody tossing a bar stool through the nearest saloon window' - Rock-Sound
Even now, with his band The Welfare Mothers (Neil Young fans take note and heart, this name is no mistake!) Bob & Co. – Paul, Nev and Allan to you – are constructing the musical framework for their fifth album, that will succeed and excel a series of cult hits that began with ‘97’s More Tragic Songs Of Life, broke out in 2001 with Low Rent Romeo, and then hit high stride with the double whammy of The Boy Most Likely in 2001 and then, only a year ago Set The Stupid Free, a new kind of musical civil rights protest tract!
From opening to closing time, Set The Stupid Free travels tracks you know but shows you sights at every stop, be it country, rock’n’roll, blues or pop, creating a veritable upscaled, downhome, cross-country music, all-in-one, K-tel-of-the-tasteful tour of modern music featuring a cameo by pedal steel legend BJ Cole.
Collum's take on country rock is a slow-burning delight. Lyrically wry and off-beat, musically tight and traditional, Collum infuses the Southern-fried boogie of Lynyrd Skynyrd with real observational poise. The swampy strut of Disco Jesus is great, but Damaged One - which sounds like the Eagles covering a Teenage Fanclub song - is utter bliss. - Teletext
And yet, despite the colossal critical group hugging that embraced it, Set The Stupid Free has not been the mountaintop to Bob’s climb. Even now fresh recruits, brought in to replace longtime, beloved but now departed bassist Dan Wilkinson, namely Mr Nevil Kiddier, and steel guitarist Allan Kelly… are in band basic training to boldly go where no band has gone before, across terrain both familiar and forbidding, towards a stylistic synthesis that will not only bend genres but also cross and mutate them in new ways both wondrous and bewildering.
Collum is a lyricist of note, and can turn his hand to heartbreak, pain, love and loss with equal facility, all the time while displaying his penchant for the slightly skewed view of things. -Maverick
For Bob is not only a one-man pioneer but also a humble explorer. Expect in future to be not only reprised by this captain and his crew, but also surprised. For no greater a love hath a man, that he would lay down his own riff for his brother.
People Who Have Played After Bob
Bob Has supported many artist including: Dave Alvin, Ron Sexsmith, Handsome Family, John Wesley Harding, Robbie Fulks, Hot Club of Cowtown, The Arlenes, Marshall Crenshaw, Peter Case, Nikki Sudden, Greg Trooper, Alejandro Escovedo, The Deadstring Brothers, Danny George Wilson, Ben Weaver, Amy Rigby, and Robert Earle Keen
Places That Bob has Played
South By Southwest Festival - Austin TX, Cambridge Folk Festival - Cambridge UK, Beyond Nashville Festival - London, UK , The Cavern - Liverpool, UK , 12 Bar Club, London, UK Schuba’s - Chicago IL, Fitzgerald’s - Chicago IL, Cain’s Ballroom - Tulsa, OK, The Blue Door -Oklahoma City, OK
Releases: Set The Stupid Free - 2008 The Boy Most Likely To… - 2004 Low Rent Romeo - 2001 More Tragic Songs Of Life - 1997
"Heavy on hooks and steel guitar." *** 3 stars UNCUT
"The kind of lyrical twists that endear so many while playing it straight."*** 3 stars Q
"'Set The Stupid Free' is more a case of locking several like-minded country-inclined practitioners into a confined space and simply sitting back to enjoy while they do what they do best. Believe me, playing nonchalently and making it sound urgent's no mean feat, but The Welfare Mothers have it down pat. Impressive stuff indeed." - Whisperin' & Hollerin'
"The words and instrumentation are well-done, and there's such genuine feeling behind it, Collum never comes off as hokey. Lamenting and sweet, he gently presses his subjects into releasing truth juices in every track." Alibi
"The execution is tight, the lyrics wry and razor-sharp, and the palette broad" - Morning Star
"Whilst 'Set The Stupid Free' may be firmly rooted in alt country in terms of sound, it manages to incorporate a solid pop sensibility, with pop melodies and hooks that'll have you humming the chorus to each song before the record is halfway through." Subba-Cultcha