Robert Finley, Black Bayou Review
Robert Finley’s album Sharecropper’s Son grabbed my attention back in 2021, and his latest work, Black Bayou (2023), provides a deeper understanding of his evolution as an artist. Finley’s journey from a self-taught musician who began crafting songs at a young age to a soulful, versatile artist under the production of Dan Auerbach is remarkable. This trajectory is crucial to appreciating the depth and range found in Black Bayou.
Finley’s background of learning music by ear and feeling brings a unique authenticity to Black Bayou. This self-taught approach, characterized by his exploration and occasional deviation from traditional chords, enriches the album’s sound. His ability to stumble upon new, sometimes unconventional musical paths contributes to the fresh and distinct sound of Black Bayou. This is especially evident in the album’s fusion of blues, soul, gospel, and rock, where his intuitive understanding of music allows him to blend these genres seamlessly.
The collaboration between Finley and Auerbach, which began with Sharecropper’s Son, has evidently matured in Black Bayou. Auerbach’s recognition of Finley’s versatility and “magnetic hugeness” of voice is fully realized in this latest work. The album showcases Finley’s ability to transcend traditional blues, bringing in elements from various genres, just as he desired not to be confined to a single musical box. The diverse songwriting and instrumental support from an all-star band, as seen in Sharecropper’s Son, continue to be a significant feature in Black Bayou, enhancing the overall quality and depth of the music.
Finley’s powerful vocals, a highlight in Sharecropper’s Son, remain a central element in Black Bayou. His soulful, honest, and emotionally resonant singing style captivates listeners throughout the album. The track “Souled Out On You” from Sharecropper’s Son echoes in the soulful renditions and heartfelt lyrics of songs like “Sneakin’ Around” and “What Goes Around (Comes Around)” in Black Bayou.
The evolution of Finley’s musical journey is further exemplified in the thematic richness of Black Bayou. While Sharecropper’s Son delved into personal and historical narratives, Black Bayou expands this storytelling, infusing it with vivid imagery of Louisiana’s landscapes and culture. This progression from the more autobiographical themes of Sharecropper’s Son to the broader, yet deeply personal stories in Black Bayou, showcases Finley’s growth as a songwriter and storyteller.
In summary, Robert Finley’s Black Bayou continues and expands the artistry displayed in Sharecropper’s Son. His journey from a self-taught musician to a soulful storyteller with the creative input from Dan Auerbach is beautifully encapsulated in this album. Black Bayou is a fine album that shows Finley’s growth as an artist, his versatility in musical styles, and his ability to weave rich, emotive narratives through his songs. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Robert Finley: Website |
October 27, 2023
Easy Eye Sound