Charlie Robison, Renowned Texas Country Artist, Dies At Age 59

Robison passed away just days after his birthday.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

September 10, 2023

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Charlie Robison; Photo Courtesy Charlie Robison

Charlie Robison, a country music singer-songwriter from Texas, passed away on Sunday, September 10, just nine days after his 59th birthday.

His wife, Kristen Robison, announced his passing on social media on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 10).

What Was The Cause Of Charlie Robison’s Death?

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that my husband, Charlie Robison has passed away today, surrounded by his family and friends,” she wrote. “My heart is broken. Please pray for me, our children and our family.”

According to a report from The Associated Press (per a family representative), Robison passed away in a San Antonio hospital following a battle with cardiac arrest and other related complications. 

Born In 1964

Charlie Robison, who was born on September 1, 1964, was previously married to Emily Erwin Strayer (Emily Robison) of The Chicks, formerly known as The Dixie Chicks. They had three children: Charles Augustus and twins Julianna Tex and Henry Benjamin. Charlie and Emily divorced in 2008 after nine years of marriage.

Years later, in 2015, Charlie wed Kristen. They welcomed a son, Jett James, in 2020.

He Came From A Musical Family

Robison hailed from a musically gifted family, with his brother Bruce Robison (songwriter of “Travelin’ Soldier”) and sister Robyn Ludwick also being talented singer-songwriters.

Hours after Charlie’s passing, Ludwick wrote, Today my heart is broken in the deepest most irreparable way. My big brother Charlie passed away in the arms of his loved ones. Please play some Charlie Robison on Repeat. He would want it that way.”  

Charlie Robison left a mark on the Texas country music scene. He turned to music in the ‘80s when a knee injury left him sidelined from football at Southwest Texas State University. He soon wound up in Austin, Texas where he joined several bands, including Chaparral, Millionaire Playboys, and Two Hoots and a Holler. He later embarked on a solo career, making his debut as a solo artist in 1996 with “Bandera.” He was signed to Sony and went on to release songs such as “My Hometown,” “Poor Man’s Son,” and “I Want You Bad.”

He’s also known for his version of “El Cerrito Place,” which was written by Keith Gattis and also recorded by Kenny Chesney.  

Did Charlie Robison Write His Own Songs?

YouTube video

Charlie’s music was infused with country, Southern rock, and classic rock. He was known for covering rock songs and Willie Nelson hits during his live shows (in addition to originals).  

Collaborating with his brother Bruce and Jack Ingram, Charlie delivered a live album titled Unleashed Live in 2000. Subsequently, he signed with Columbia Records, where he released “Step Right Up” and another live album, establishing his reputation as a versatile and talented artist.

Nashville Star

In 2003, Charlie Robison gained national recognition as a judge on the inaugural season of the TV singing competition Nashville Star (the season that featured artists such as Miranda Lambert and Buddy Jewell).

Shifting to the smaller independent label Dualtone, Charlie Robison released “Good Times” in 2004, embarking on extensive tours that provided him newfound creative control. This period witnessed an evolution in his sound, as he incorporated influences from Southern and hard rock genres, steering away from mainstream Nashville country.

Charlie Robison - Right Man for the Job, Courtesy of YouTube
Charlie Robison – Right Man for the Job, Courtesy of YouTube

In 2009, he unveiled “Beautiful Day,” a pivotal moment in his career and an album that featured songs inspired by his divorce from Emily. The album featured songs written by renowned Nashville singer-songwriter Keith Gattis. Tracks like “Good Times” made their mark in popular culture, with the song being featured in HBO’s original series “True Blood.”

Retired From The Stage And Studio

However, in September 2018, a life-altering event occurred. Robison revealed to his fans that complications from surgery had permanently deprived him of his singing ability. In a heartfelt message, he announced his retirement from the stage and studio, closing a chapter in his life that had spanned 25 years. Despite the challenges he faced, Robison expressed gratitude for the incredible journey and the happiness his fans had given him.

“Hey amigos, Charlie here. I’m sure you’ve all been wondering where I’ve been. Well, at the beginning of this year I underwent a surgical procedure that because of complications left me with the permanent inability to sing. Therefore, with a very heavy heart I am officially retiring from the stage and studio,” Charlie wrote in a statement to his fans. 

He promised to “keep it short” and went on to showcase his gratitude for those who have supported him along the way. 

“It’s been an amazing ride and I cannot tell you all what the last 25 years has meant to me. I was looking forward to another 25 but as they say ‘shit happens.’ I thank you all for everything you’ve given me and I hope I was able to give you a fraction of the happiness you gave me. It was a hell of a ride but as they say all good things must end. Keep on supporting this thing we call Texas/Red dirt and hopefully we’ll all get to have a cocktail or two and talk about the good ol days. Until then, Buenos Noches. It’s been fun. Love each and every one of y’all.” 

In 2022, Charlie Robison made an unexpected return to the music scene after a lengthy hiatus, with a show at the famous Billy Bob’s Texas.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.