Under the Influence
We have a new musical conductor for the month of May. John over at Sound of One Hand Typing gets to pick our themes for this month. Today is our Free Choice week, so I thought I would indulge us with another Under the Influence post.
Once again, I’m under the influence of The Cute One. Every time he hears a new to him artist, or is reminded of a group that may or may not have been all but forgotten, he has me check them out on YouTube. Today’s artist is one that he was rather insistent that I listen to.
According to Wikipedia:
Robert Finley (born February 13, 1954) is an American blues and soul singer-songwriter and guitarist. After decades of performing semi-professionally followed by time away from music, Finley made a comeback in 2016. He released his debut studio album, Age Don't Mean a Thing, later in the year, which was met positively by critics.
Finley was born and raised in Bernice, Louisiana, United States. At 11 years old he began practicing the guitar he had purchased from a thrift store. Gospel music played a crucial role in his early development: "I always went to gospel quartet groups and I always took the front row seat, and I just watched their fingers", recollected Finley in an interview. In 1970, he joined the army, originally to serve as a helicopter technician in Germany. Upon his arrival, however, Finley accommodated the army band's need for a guitarist and bandleader by traveling with the group throughout Europe until he was discharged.
After returning to Louisiana, Finley worked as a part-time street performer, leader of the gospel group Brother Finley and the Gospel Sisters, and as a carpenter. He was deemed legally blind and forced to retire from carpentry. In 2015, Music Maker Relief Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports aging blues musicians, discovered Finley busking before a gig in Arkansas. With their help, Finley made a musical comeback, featuring him in packaged tours with acts like Robert Lee Coleman and Alabama Slim.
Finley released his debut studio album, Age Don't Mean a Thing, on September 30, 2016, on Big Legal Mess Records. Although for the most part Finley was a bluesman, his record producer Bruce Watson keyed in on more of his soulful compositions. With production credits from Watson and Jimbo Mathus, Finley traveled to Memphis to record the album with members of the Bo-Keys. He penned all but two of the tracks, highlighted by an autobiographical title song, on Age Don't Mean a Thing, evoking influences from Booker T. and the MGs, James Brown, and B. B. King. Music journalists were highly receptive to Finley's comeback and album, particularly his revitalizing take on Southern soul.
After Age Don't Mean a Thing, Finley got connected with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Auerbach and Finley then released an original soundtrack for the graphic novel, Murder Ballads, published by z2 Comics. Shortly after the release of the Murder Ballads soundtrack, Billboard announced that Finley would be releasing a full-length album produced and co-written by Auerbach.
The album, Goin' Platinum! was released on Easy Eye Sound (Nonesuch Records) on December 8, 2017. The following year Finley joined Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound Revue tour. Finley followed up the Easy Eye Sound Revue tour with a series of headline shows around the world.
In 2019, it was announced via social media that Finley was a contestant for the fourteenth season of America's Got Talent. AGT released a sneak peek where Finley sang an original song, called "Get It While You Can". He managed to reach the live shows but was eventually eliminated in the semi-finals.
In 2021, Finley announced the album Sharecropper's Son, to be released May 21, 2021 on Easy Eye Sound. The album is autobiographical in nature, and centers around Finley's upbringing on a crop share in Louisiana. The album is produced by Dan Auerbach.
So what does Mr Finley sound like? Here’s a playlist for you to enjoy:
Get It While You Can
Age Don’t Mean a Thing
You Make Me Want To Dance
I Just Want To Tell You
Souled Out On You
Honey Let Me Stay The Night
What do you think? Am I under a good influence, or bad?
Today’s post is part of the Monday’s Music Moves Me blog hop, hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Stacy Uncorked, Curious as a Cathy. , and Ramblin with AM. Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants. If you have a MUSIC* post, feel free to join in the fun! *sorry non-music posts are not permitted in this blog hop.