Wednesday 1 May
Dublin - The Sugar Club
Dublin - The Sugar Club
Belfast - Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival
Kilkenny - Kilkenny Roots Festival
Ospel - Moulin Blues
Robert Finley's third studio album Black Bayou, was released October 27 on Easy Eye Sound. 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 karmic rock track that shows off Finley’s fine-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 is a tour 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 his 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 do with where he’s from.”
Finley recorded Black Bayou at producer Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville. It’s the third 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 guitarist Kenny Brown and 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.