Today, Robert Finley dropped “Country Boy,” a funky slice of country soul, and the latest song from forthcoming Sharecropper’s Son — the career-defining new album from “the greatest living soul singer,” released on Easy Eye Sound on May 21 2021. A soulful masterpiece written by Finley and co-written and produced by Dan Auerbach, Sharecropper’s Son features blues veterans and studio legends who have worked with everyone from Elvis to Wilson Pickett.
The song’s lyrics recall Finley’s childhood and were improvised as he and the band rolled tape, reminiscent of soul greats including Otis Redding. “When we play live, I always leave room in the show for lyrics I make up on the spot while the band hits a groove,” he explains. “I guess the younger generation calls it free-styling, but for me, it’s just speaking from my mind, straight from my soul.”
Finley has always been a consummate entertainer and sensational soul singer, but when he lost his sight, he became an overnight success after 67 years of hard work. Finley has a voice that has stood the test of time and can glide from a gut-deep growl to a transcendent falsetto, all in a single phrase. Rooted in the classic sounds of southern soul, country, rhythm and blues, Sharecropper’s Son showcases Finley’s formidable vocals, which take centre stage and encapsulate his remarkable life story. Finley’s stories of pain and joy will uplift as he shares his belief that you are never too young to dream and never too old to live.
With songwriting by Finley, Auerbach, Bobby Wood, and contributions from respected country songwriter Pat McLaughlin, Sharecropper’s Son also features an all star band including guitar expertise from Auerbach himself, Mississippi hill country’s Kenny Brown – a blues veteran of R.L. Burnside’s band, and studio legends Russ Pahl, Billy Sanford and Louisiana guitarist Billy Sanford. They are joined by other notables: keyboardist and songwriter Bobby Wood and drum legend Gene Chrisman, who both played a historic role in Memphis and Nashville music. The line-up was completed by bass contributions from dap king Nick Movshon, blues legend Eric Deaton and former Johnny Cash bandmate Dave Roe, as well as a full horn section, and percussion from Sam Bacco.
The fire behind the conflagrant performances on Sharecropper’s Son is ignited by 67-year-old Finley, who has cited a range of vocal influences, including Al Green, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Elvis, James Brown and The Beatles, all inspiring his genre diverse approach. Finley stated, “I want people to understand that I can’t be kept in a box. I like to do all kinds of music—everything that means anything to me, from gospel to blues to soul to country to rock ‘n’ roll.”
Sharecropper’s Son will be released on May 21 on Easy Eye Sound. There will be an exclusive sunrise yellow vinyl, available from the Easy Eye Sound store only.
*Feature image: Screengrab of video