Robert Finley releases his anticipated fourth studio album Black Bayou, an 11-track tour de force that coalesces gospel, blues, soul, and rock into a raw, thundering tribute to Finley’s home state of Louisiana. Telling tales of the bayou from childhood to now, the 69-year old Finley takes listeners on a journey that showcases his growly vocals, sultry falsetto and cements him as a living legend.
Black Bayou has already been heaped with praise from SPIN, The FADER, American Songwriter, UNCUT, Paste, MOJO, Brooklyn Vegan and a slew of other outlets, including The Bluegrass Situation who have hailed Finley as their Artist of the Month for November. Finley recently performed the new album on CBS Saturday Morning, giving a rousing performance of his singles “What Goes Around (Comes Around)” , “Sneakin’ Around”, and “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely.”
Finley recorded Black Bayou at Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville. It’s the fourth time the duo have worked together, although for this record they did things a little differently. Rather than write songs beforehand—as they did on 2017’s Goin’ Platinum and 2021’s Sharecropper’s Son—they conceived everything in the studio, with Auerbach leading a band of some of the finest players around: drummers Patrick Carney (The Black Keys) and Jeffrey Clemens (G. Love & Special Sauce), bassist Eric Deaton, and legendary Hill Country blues guitarist Kenny Brown along with vocalists Christy Johnson and LaQuindrelyn McMahon—who just happen to be Finley’s daughter and granddaughter. They worked quickly, devising their parts spontaneously and getting everything in one take.
Black Bayou is a portrait of North Louisiana from an insider who’s lived there all his life. It coalesces all of the vibrant genres bubbling in the bayou from southern soul, jazz, folk, blues, rock and roll and more. A vivid collection of songs that depict life in North Louisiana, with Finley playing the role of charismatic and knowledgeable tour guide. Tales include surviving the jaws of an alligator on “Alligator Bait,” a true story of his grandfather using him as bait to catch an alligator when he was a child. Songs like “Miss Kitty,” a tale of lust and love are an instant induction into the canon of the blues tradition. In all, a collection set to establish Finley as perhaps one of the last true bluesmen of our time and a truly original Louisiana storyteller who evokes the place and its unique culture for the rest of the world.
“It’s amazing to realize how much of an impact Louisiana has had on the world’s music,” says Dan Auerbach, “and Robert embodies all of that. He can play a blues song. He can play early rock and roll. He can play gospel. He can do anything, and a lot of that has to do with where he’s from.”
If Finley’s previous albums established him as a formidable blues and soul artist - overcoming losing his sight in his 60s to become a music star - Black Bayou, Finley hopes, will help put North Louisiana on the musical map and launch the next generation of stars. Finley still plays small clubs around the region—even the occasional nursing home. Rather than move to where the music industry is, Finley is bringing the industry down to Bernice and working to boost regional acts and has plans for a new local recording studio in the works. “We got a lot of good talent down here in North Louisiana, but nobody’s really done much with it.” Finley stated, adding, “A lot of people just haven’t had the opportunity to record—or even just be heard. It worked for me, so I might as well try to help someone else get discovered, too.”
01. Livin' Out A Suitcase
02. Sneakin' Around
03. Miss Kitty
04. Waste Of Time
05. Can't Blame Me For Trying
06. Gospel Blues
07. Nobody Wants To Be Lonely
08. What Goes Around (Comes Around)
09. Lucky Day
10. You Got It (And I Need It)
11. Alligator Bait
“Black Bayou is definitive Robert Finley—a master musician and entertainer—taking all his bluesy swagger up a notch, a bigger sound with heavier grooves, full confirmation that Robert Finley only gets better with time.”
“Black Bayou’s swampier blues and subtler arrangements offer a versatile range of material that reveals the wide expanse of his vocal prowess.”
“An anthem of hope”
“The 11-track album, a portrait of a life that comes together in strokes of gospel, blues, and rock and roll, is simple, relatable, and wise, but above all honest.”
“Black Bayou is surely the album Finley was put on Earth to create, filled with stories only he could tell. 5 STAR REVIEW”
“Approaching his eighth decade, then, and with no shortage of tall tales to impart, Robert Finley’s work here is clearly just getting started.”
“Funky, bluesy… Fueled by Robert's soulful Southern grit”
“In no short terms, Finley’s journey thus far has been nothing short of mythical.”
Easy Eye Sound has announced Tell Everybody! (21st Century Juke Joint Blues From Easy Eye Sound) - an anthology surveying the current state of the blues coming August 11. Featuring exclusive recordings cut at Easy Eye Sounds’s Nashville studio, this snapshot of 21st century juke joint music captures a wide-ranging collection of voices compiled by the Billboard 2022 Blues Label of the Year and its founder Dan Auerbach. Drawing from across the blues landscape - from acoustic anthems to roiling rock n’ roll - Tell Everybody! features masters like North Mississippi’s R.L. Boyce, Betonia’s Jimmy “Duck” Holmes and the Delta gospel sounds of Leo “Bud” Welch; alongside brilliant youngbloods like Detroit duo Moonrisers, Chicago’s Gabe Carter, and Korean-American Kentucky native Nat Myers.
Title track “Tell Everybody” highlights high-powered Louisiana singer-songwriter-guitarist Robert Finley backed by Hill Country blues legends Kenny Brown (guitar), Eric Deaton (bass) and Kinney Kimbrough (drums).
Watch Finley’s new music video for “Waste Of Time,” filmed at Easy Eye Studios and featuring appearances from The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach. The video is a snapshot of the creation of the album, set to the gristly, crunchy, swaggering blues number from Black Bayou.
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