Robert Finley, Black Bayou Review


Robert Finley, Black Bayou Review

by Darnell Jackson

Robert-Finley-5-Finger-Review-CDRobert Finley’s latest album, Black Bayou, released on October 27, 2023, under the Easy Eye Sound label, is a blend of blues, soul, gospel, and rock, a fine collection of songs. Finley’s whisky-toned vocals journey us through the heart of Louisiana; his narratives are powerful, and his vocals are exceptional.

The musical style of Black Bayou marks a distinct evolution in Finley’s artistry. It features a heavier groove and a fuller sound than his previous works, displaying his versatility as he moves between slow-burning, atmospheric tracks like “What Goes Around (Comes Around)” and more upbeat, soulful numbers like “Sneakin’ Around.” This blend of tempos and moods creates a rich, textured modern soundscape deeply rooted in traditional blues and soul music.

Thematically, the album delves into personal life stories, love, loss, and resilience. Finley’s songs reflect Louisiana’s vibrant culture and rich musical heritage, painting vivid pictures of the state’s landscapes and lifestyles. The themes of faith and the pursuit of happiness are woven through the tracks, adding depth and universality to the album.

Critically, Black Bayou has been well-received, with reviewers praising its soulful sound, compelling songwriting,Robert-Finley-1 and Finley’s dynamic performance. It has been described as the pinnacle of his career and a top contender for the year’s best blues album. I agree.

This album’s standout features are Finley’s storytelling abilities, ranging from the groove-based, atmospheric track “Livin’ Out a Suitcase” to the upbeat and soulful number “Sneakin’ Around.” In “Alligator Bait,” he combines personal anecdotes with broader themes, creating intimate and expansive narratives. His stories are told with rich detail and emotional depth, inviting listeners into his world.

The album’s creation process at Easy Eye Sound Studio, under the guidance of producer Dan Auerbach, was notably organic. Finley, accompanied by a talented group of musicians, including his daughter and granddaughter on vocals, crafted the songs spontaneously, often capturing the essence of the tracks in a single take. This approach lends authenticity and rawness to the album, emphasizing Finley’s natural talent and the musicians. This is also the way of a true bluesman.

Robert-Finley-2Black Bayou showcases Finley’s musical and lyrical skills and deep connection to his roots in North Louisiana. The album’s songs reflect the diverse influences and experiences that have shaped his life and career. Despite the fame and acclaim, Finley remains deeply connected to his community, using his music to bring attention to the talent and stories of his home region. Don’t miss out on this one; go ahead and get yourself some Black Bayou.


Black Bayou

Release Date: October 27, 2023

Label: Easy Eye Sound

About the author

Darnell Jackson

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