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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

69 Year Old Blues/Soul Singer-Songwriter Robert Finley Returns With New Dan Auerbach-Produced Album

By Stevie Connor.

Robert Finley’s new album Black Bayou is out now on easy eye sound. The 69 year old blues/soul singer-songwriter returns with Dan Auerbach-produced album - a swaggering tour de force of blues, soul, and funk sharing stories from the swamps of Louisiana ....His timeless tales of surviving love, betrayal, and alligators cements him as one of the last true bluesmen of his time.

Finley is joined again by frequent collaborator and producer Dan Auerbach for a thundering, swaggering record that tells Finley’s story of his life in the bayou of Louisiana. Today, Finley also released his first single “What Goes Around (Comes Around)” – a sweltering, swampy rock track that shows off Finley’s smooth-as-whiskey vocals. Watch the accompanying music video, directed by Tim Hardiman, featuring Finley in a larger than life and stylish visual.

On the track Finley stated, “You gotta reap what you sow... do to another what you would have done to you. Be real, tell the truth. For all those out there hurting, you just have to keep the faith. I've seen it over the years, especially with my career - you got to put joy out into the world and it will come back. It's never been anything short of the truth for me.”

Black Bayou, Finley’s third studio album, is a portrait of Louisiana from an insider who’s lived there all his life and coalesces all of the vibrant genres bubbling in the bayou from gospel, blues, rock and roll and more. With this Auerbach-produced album, they created a vivid collection of songs that depict life in North Louisiana, with Finley playing the role of charismatic and knowledgeable tour guide.

“It’s amazing to realize how much of an impact Louisiana has had on the world’s music,” says 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.”

Finley recorded Black Bayou at producer 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 devised 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 using getting everything in one take.

“I started singing, and they started playing,” Finley explains. “That’s how we made the album. It wasn’t written out. Nobody used a pencil and paper. We just sang and played together in the studio.”

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 reveals Finley as something even more distinctive: a truly original Louisiana storyteller who evokes the place and its unique culture for the rest of the world.

Finley doesn’t plan to call any other place home. “I’m not interested in living in no big city,” he says. “There’s good places here for hunting and fishing. I can fall asleep in my yard or sleep out on my porch, and nobody’s gonna bother me. Nothing bad is gonna come and get me.”

Struggle and celebration commingle in the stories of Black Bayou. In everyday life death looms. Through the jaws of an alligator on “Alligator Bait,” where Finley shares a true tale of his grandfather using him as as bait to catch an alligator when he was a child or just the gradual pace of time, on “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely” a poignant track spotlighting the generation forgotten in nursing homes across the nation. On “Sneakin’ Around” or “Miss Kitty,” Finley’s tales of lust and love are a timeless 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.


Wednesday, 8 November 2023 - London, UK - Jazz Café

Thursday, 9 November 2023 - Manchester, UK - Blues Kitchen

Friday, 10 November 2023 - Pandrup, DK - Blues Heaven Festival

Tuesday, 14 November 2023 - Toulouse, FR - Salle Nougaro

Wednesday, 15 November 2023 - Saint-Nazaire, FR - VIP

Thursday, 16 November 2023 - Amiens, FR - La Lune des Pirates

Saturday, 18 November 2023 - Šumperk, CZ - Blues Alive Festival

Monday, 20 November 2023 - Tourcoing, FR - Le Grand Mix

Tuesday, 21 November 2023 - Paris, FR - Maroquinerie

Thursday, 23 November 2023 - La Roche-Sur-Yon, FR - Quai M

Friday, 24 November 2023 - La Rochelle, FR - La Sirène

Saturday, 25 November 2023 - Castres, FR - Lo Boegason

Sunday, 26 November 2023 - Saint-Etienne, FR - Le Fil

Robert Finley is an army veteran and was a skilled carpenter before losing his sight in his 60s, which led him to finally pursue his musical dream. Finley has overcome divorce, house fires, an automobile accident and is now legally blind following losing his sight due to the medical condition, glaucoma, which forced him to retire from carpentry and finally pursue his long delayed music career. Finley believes his sight was improved by the power of prayer, and Finley’s faith has also helped him focus on launching his music career in his 60’s. According to Finley, “losing my sight gave me the perspective to see my true destiny.”

His ascent has been swift. His previous Auerbach-produced album, Goin’ Platinum, received widespread critical acclaim including Associated Press who praised Finley’s ability to lend “instant credibility to any song.” Finley also toured more than ten countries, and his live show drew praise from publications including The New York Times. Finley was profiled on PBS NewsHour, which led to him becoming a contestant on the 2019 season of the TV competition America’s Got Talent, reaching the semi-finals.

He was born in Winnsboro in 1953, but has spent most of his life in Bernice, a small town of about 1,600 souls just thirty miles from the Arkansas border. After serving in the Army, he played blues in juke joints and sang gospel in churches around the region, often mixing those two styles with southern soul, heavy rock, swamp pop, jazz, and anything else that crossed his mind. His second album Sharecropper’s Son was inspired by Finley's childhood: his family were sharecroppers, and he was unable to regularly attend school and often worked with his family in the field picking cotton. This was a landmark release, landing him the cover of SPIN Magazine, NPR Morning amongst other critical acclaim.

He’s since headlined shows with The Black Keys, Greta Van Fleet, Nathaniel Rateliff and many more.



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