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Ric Robertson – Photo Credit: Gina Leslie
While you may not have heard his name before, it’s high time you meet Ric Robertson. The New Orleans-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s debut album is a fresh and authentic blend of swampy blues, rock, and country and it quickly becomes clear that he’s a force to be reckoned with. The Fool, The Friend is being released on June 29th, but you can hear it today in its entirety at The Big Takeover.
Ric Robertson’s inviting vocals, arresting musicianship, and otherworldly sense of songcraft have brought him close to a community of artists forging a new sound in Americana. Coming out on celebrated Appalachian newcomer Dori Freeman’s new record label, Blue Hens Music, the album features Freeman herself on harmony vocals along with her husband Nicholas Falk, plus Phoebe Hunt, Brother Roy, and Duncan Wickel. It also features Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers, and Robertson is currently on tour playing with Grammy-winning artist Rhiannon Giddens. Alongside these musical companions, Ric Robertson is teasing out a musical vision rooted in the soil of American music, shifting between genres with gleeful ease, reframing and defining what Americana means.
Like New Orleans itself, Ric Robertson’s music is a swirling blend of sounds, traditions, and stories that form something completely distinct. Though it knows and loves its musical forbears intimately, it won’t be claimed by one single musical influence. Robertson conjures this musical pedigree into a cohesive potion, a finely-tuned sonic concoction with just enough rock n’ roll to kill, just enough blues to keep you alive, and just enough country to make you hold on to love. It’s stirred by Robertson’s distinct voice: sweet, enticing, and contoured with the finely subtle grit of Mississippi River silt and the warmth of vintage vinyl.
As a songwriter, Robertson’s gift of injecting heartbreak with a sweet and forgiving humor magnifies a natural charm. Marked with a sharp lyrical command, Robertson’s songs transport listeners into emotional and visual spaces with old magic, and, like a scent associated with a childhood memory, leave listeners with the sense that they’ve known even his newest tune by heart for their whole lives.
Ric Robertson is an artist with the chameleon-like ability to transmute from emotion to emotion, genre to genre, and instrument to instrument, all the while beguiling listeners to believe that there is no sorcery involved – just damn fine tunes. But Ric Robertson conjures magic on The Fool, The Friend, and it’s a spell you’ll wish to be under again as soon as it’s over.
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