Charlie Robison, the Texas singer-songwriter whose rootsy anthems topped the country charts until he was forced to retire after complications from a medical procedure left him unable to sing, died Sunday. He was 59.
Robison died at a San Antonio hospital after suffering cardiac arrest and other complications, a family representative said.
Robison launched his music career in the late 1980s, playing in local Austin bands such as Two Hoots and a Holler before forming his own Millionaire Playboys. In 1996 he released his solo debut, Banderanamed after the Texas Hill Country town where his family has farmed for generations.
When approached by Sony in 1998, Robison signed with the Lucky Dog imprint, which was dedicated to rawer country. His 2001 album Come on produced his only Top 40 country song, “I Want You Bad.”
In 2018, Robison announced that he had permanently lost the ability to sing following throat surgery. “It is therefore with a heavy heart that I officially say goodbye to the stage and the studio,” he wrote on Facebook.
Robison was a judge on USA Network for a year Nashville star, a reality TV show in which contestants lived together while competing for a country music recording contract.
He is survived by his wife, Kristen Robison, and four children and stepchildren. Three of his children were by his first wife, Emily Strayer, a founding member of the superstar country band The Chicks. They divorced in 2008.
Robison’s break with Strayer inspired songs on the 2009 album Beautiful day. He recorded it while living across the street from the Greyhound bus station in San Antonio, in a loft apartment with mismatched furniture and strewn beer bottles, “the ultimate bachelor pad,” he recalled.
“People come up to me and say they’re going through something right now, and it’s like this was written entirely about them,” Robison told The Associated Press in 2009. residual effect of the record.”
Robison’s last album, with a rock tone High life from 2013, including a cover version of Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”
Memorial services are in preparation.