Robert Finley – You’re Never Too Old

In 2019 Robert Finley was introduced to a national audience on America’s Got Talent – at age 65. That slipped by me until Helga tipped me off to the excitement surrounding the release of his new album, Sharecropper’s Son. Thanks, Helga!

As with most “overnight success” stories, Finley’s musical career goes back many, and in his case many, many, years. He played guitar while an enlisted man in the Army in Europe in the early 70’s. After his discharge, back home in Louisiana, he led Brother Finley and the Gospel Sisters in the 80’s. Fast forward a few decades, making a living as a carpenter, and Finley was heard busking at the 2015 King Biscuit Blues Festival in Arkansas by Tim Duffy. Duffy heads the Music Maker Relief Foundation that assists aging Southern roots artists. By September 2016 Finley released his debut studio album, Age Don’t Mean a Thing. Listen to the whole album or at least check out the first track, “Just Want to Tell You”, to get a listen to this classic voice.

Shortly after the release of Age Don’t Mean a Thing, Finley began working with Black Keys co-founder and uber-producer, Dan Auerbach. Finley’s second album, Goin’ Platinum!, was released at the end of 2017 on Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound label. Here is the official video for “Medicine Woman”, co-written by Finley and Auerbach. In addition to Finley’s incredible voice, you can hear Auerbach’s influence on the arrangement and his unmistakeable guitar tone.

Here’s the video for the title track from Sharecropper’s Son. If you like what you hear, listen to Finley rock out on “Make Me Feel Alright” and feature his falsetto on “Country Boy”.

Dan Auerbach: Black Keys Frontman’s Production Efforts Are Unmistakable

Dan Auerbach must be one of the busiest men in the music business.  In addition to doing his part to keep bluesy rock & roll vital with the Black Keys, he’s been a very active record producer.  When you listen to some of the work he’s produced, you can clearly hear that he’s not afraid to infuse it with his own style.

Later this summer Valerie June will release “Pushing Against a Stone” in the U.S., with Auerbach as co-producer and co-writer of a number of songs. June is just getting noticed, playing festivals all over Europe this summer after opening for Jake Bugg earlier in the year (see our recent post Jake Bugg). Listen to “Raindance” from June’s self-released album “Valerie June and the Tennessee Express”, then listen to “You Can’t be Told” from the upcoming album. The latter pretty much screams Black Keys.

Another of Auerbach’s recent production efforts is “Nomad” by African guitar wizard, Omara “Bombino” Moctar. The subject of Ron Wyman’s documentary “Agadez, the Music and the Rebellion”, Bombino is touring the world this year including a month in the U.S.  Listen to “Mehegagh” (What Shall I Do) from “Agadez”, then listen to “Amidinine” from “Nomad” to hear Auerbach’s influence.

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