“I was a reticent artist at best.”
— Rob Galbraith
As a DJ during the mid-’60s at Knoxville’s WNOX, Rob Galbraith could be heard spinning everything from Ray Charles to David “Fathead” Newman, resulting in unique, salt-and-pepper playlists that began to season his own songwriting proclivities. After tracking a few effective demoes for hometown artists Clifford Curry, Jonah and the Whale, and Van and Titus Elmore, Galbraith moved to Nashville to shorten the commute between his hometown and Music City. He gained employment at Moss Rose Publishing, earning $80 a week to write and record demos in his emergent rural-soul style. When Epic/Columbia heavyweight Billy Sherrill heard the Galbraith demo “Willie Was A Honkie,” he signed Galbraith to Columbia. Nashville Dirt debuted in 1970.
But it was the background that truly suited the bashful Galbraith. He transferred laterally within the label, unsuccessfully shopping bombshell demos for J.J. Cale and Harry Chapin. A songwriting deal with Combine Music paired him with the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Tony Joe White, and Donnie Fritts. It was at Combine’s studio on 17th Avenue where Galbraith began tracking the demos for what would become his sophomore album. Guitarist Don Potter adapted Galbraith’s piano parts, and cellist Michael Bacon (brother of actor Kevin) added several graceful passes—a decision uncommon in conventional country music. When Combine neighbor RCA heard what Galbraith was developing next door, they signed him to a record deal in 1975, resulting in the following year's Throw Me A Bone.
"I was a reticent artist at best," Galbraith told Edd Hurt in 2016. "But you write these things, and you sing them in the studio, and sometimes you feel like you'd like to hear some of that."
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