Following a successful release of his latest album, Black Bayou, Robert Finley is set to make his Grand Ole Opry debut on December 9, 2023. Listen to “Livin’ Out A Suitcase” above.
Finley was recently on tour in Europe celebrating the release of his album, Black Bayou, which has been praised by SPIN, The FADER, UNCUT, Paste, MOJO, Brooklyn Vegan and many other outlets, including The Bluegrass Situation who hailed Finley as their Artist of the Month for November.
Black Bayou is a portrait of North Louisiana from an insider who’s lived there all his life. It coalesces all of the vibrant genres bubbling in the bayou from southern soul, jazz, folk, blues, rock and roll and more. A vivid collection of songs that depict life in North Louisiana, with Finley playing the role of charismatic and knowledgeable tour guide. Tales include surviving the jaws of an alligator on “Alligator Bait,” a story of his grandfather using him as bait to catch an alligator when he was a child. Songs like “Miss Kitty,” a tale of lust and love are an instant 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 and a truly original Louisiana storyteller who evokes the place and its unique culture for the rest of the world.
“It’s amazing to realize how much of an impact Louisiana has had on the world’s music,” says Dan 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 to do with where he’s from.”
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, Finley hopes, will help put North Louisiana on the musical map and launch the next generation of stars. Finley still plays small clubs around the region—even the occasional nursing home. Rather than move to where the music industry is, Finley is bringing the industry down to Bernice and working to boost regional acts and has plans for a new local recording studio in the works. “We got a lot of good talent down here in North Louisiana, but nobody’s really done much with it.” Finley stated, adding, “A lot of people just haven’t had the opportunity to record—or even just be heard. It worked for me, so I might as well try to help someone else get discovered, too.”
Robert is an army veteran and was a skilled carpenter before losing his sight in his 60s, which led him to finally pursue his musical dream. Finley has overcome divorce, house fires, an automobile accident and is now legally blind following losing his sight due to the medical condition, glaucoma, which forced him to retire from carpentry and finally pursue his long delayed music career. Finley believes his sight was improved by the power of prayer, and Finley’s faith has also helped him focus on launching his music career in his 60’s. According to Finley, “losing my sight gave me the perspective to see my true destiny.”
Robert Finley has headlined shows and toured with The Black Keys, Greta Van Fleet, Nathaniel Rateliff and more.