Thursday, July 28, 2016

Robert Finley bio

“Put me last on the bill,” Robert Finley says, “because the party’s going to go as high as it’s going to go when I’m playing.” From someone else’s mouth that might be braggadocio, but when Finley says it, he’s just telling the truth. Onstage, he’s infectious. It’s the whole package—his sound, his songs, his energy, his look. Hailing from Louisiana, he mixes a Memphis-to-Texas electric southern grit with Nashville-clever songs. He’s gangly and graceful with an indomitable smile that radiates beneath his black ridge-top hat. “I don’t believe in doing a lot of holding back,” Finley says, “I’m going to give you everything I’ve got.”

Finley came up singing gospel, the only kind of music his parents would allow. His palette expanded quickly, however, through hanging out with older guys and trying to meet the demands of impressing the opposite sex. At 11, he took some money his father had given him to buy shoes and bought a guitar instead. With his friends, he starting making stuff up—rhymes and melodies, “whatever it took to keep the girls around,” he says. Words have always come easily to him. “Once I get the music, the lyrics just come natural,” Finley explains. “All you’ve got to do is look around. Just about anything you’d want to write about, somebody’s going through it. It’s hard to miss. Every day is a song, really.”

As a performer, Finley cut his teeth in the Army. He joined at 17 and was stationed in Germany working on helicopters. He got a secondary MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) as an entertainer and started leading his own band. They had a big repertoire, but specialized in soul and R&B—songs by Joe Simon, Tyrone Davis, Isaac Hayes, Marvin Gaye. Both the US servicemen and the European crowds loved it. During these years, Finley honed the art of capturing and keeping an audience, “making the magic happen.”  

Back in Bernice, Louisiana, Finley found that leading a band—without the strictures of the military keeping everybody on time and in place—was thankless and unsustainable. So he sharpened his solo act and played out whenever he could. He also began working as a carpenter, a profession he maintained for decades. Now legally blind, Finley can no longer build houses. He can still tear them down though, so Music Maker is working with Finley to keep the gigs coming and help connect him to new audiences. In 2016, he made a splash playing with the Music Maker Revue at the prestigious Globalfest in New York City, gaining critical praise from NPR and The New York Times.

“Here I am at my age, just now fulfilling my childhood dream,” Finley says with his warm and ever-present smile. “It’s like the song says, ‘Age Don’t Mean a Thing.’ See, you’ve got to hold to your dream; don’t ever let somebody tell you what you can’t do.” When he was younger, Finley would play 6 or 7 hours straight (10 hours straight, once) if the people wanted it. Still today, he brings a workingman’s ethic to performance; he plays hard and respects his audience. “Without the fans,” he says, “You’re nothing really. It doesn’t matter how good you are; you’ve got to be able to convince the people that you’re worth their investment.” Most nights, Finley will have you convinced before the end of the first song.

Monday, July 18, 2016


Music Maker Relief Foundation is pleased to announce that The Music Maker Blues Revue’s Los Angeles debut featuring, Robert Lee Coleman, Robert Finley, and Alabama Slim will be performing at the Season of Sunset Concerts series, August 18th, at 8:00 pm. NPR Music has called the Music Maker Blues Revue “exciting... amazing... great stuff.”

The Music Maker Blues Revue consists of artists such as Robert Lee Coleman, Alabama Slim, and Robert Finley, each of whom will perform at the Skirball Center. The “more than convincing” (NY Times) Robert Finley is a creative artist from Bernice, Louisiana that specializes in “roots soul” and is known for his live performances and is a recent signee to Big Legal Mess, which will put out his debut album ‘Age Don’t Mean a Thing’ this fall. Robert Lee Coleman is a legendary guitarist, from Macon, Georgia, that is known for playing with great artists such as Percy Sledge and James Brown. Alabama Slim is a gifted blues singer who grew up singing the blues with his grandparents and is known in the states and abroad for his album 'The Mighty Flood,' that features blues guitarist Little Freddie King. The New York Times predicts that the Sunset concerts will “showcase an intriguing mix of artists devoted to cultural exchange and preservation.”

More info, photos, video on Robert Finley:

More info, photos, video on Robert Lee Coleman:

More info, photos, video on Alabama Slim:

The Music Maker Blues Revue is a thriving band created in the early 1990s as back up for legendary artists such as Guitar Gabriel, Ironing Board Sam and Beverly “Guitar” Watkins. The Blues Revue’s performance represents Southern musical traditions ranging from Jazz to Blues, Boogie Woogie and Soul. After quickly becoming a powerhouse band of their own right, they have collaborated with artists such as Etta Baker, Macavine Hayes, Robert Lee Coleman, Pat Cohen, and many more.  This amazing band has performed all around the world from the United States, Argentina, Australia, Europe, and Guatemala.  Music Maker founder Tim Duffy stated: “ The Music Maker Blues Revue is a powerful, entertaining, set of the greatest blues musicians you ever heard.”

Sunset Concerts is a free music series that has been presented in Los Angeles, CA, at the Skirball Cultural Center,  since 1997. These concerts include alternate folk-rock, West Afriran blues, Brazilian samba/jazz, Colombian funk fusion, Southern boogie, and Middle Eastern rock music.  These concerts will take place every Thursdays from July 21 to August 25. Other performers/ performances include Thao and the Get Down Stay Down (July 21th), Songhoy Blues (July 28th), Thalma de Freitas (August 4th), M.A.K.U. Soundsystem (August 11), and Shai Tsabari and the Middle East Groove All Stars (August 25th). Doors open at 7:00 pm and have limited seating for first-come, first served.

Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. is a tax exempt, public charity under IRS code 501(c) 3. Music Maker aims to keep our Southern culture vital by directly supporting senior  (over 55) American roots musicians in need, expanding their professional careers, and assisting Next Generation artists in the development of their professional careers. Since the organization’s founding in 1994, Music Maker has assisted hundreds of musicians who represent the traditions of Blues, Gospel, Old-Time String Band, Jazz and more. Music Maker’s programs ensure the talents of these cultural treasures are accessible so that our rich musical heritage can be shared with the world and preserved for future generations.

Thursday, July 14, 2016



‘Low Light,’ the eighth album from independent recording artist Sean Hayes, captures his distinctive sound at its most intimate. Recorded both at home and in the studio, Low Light webs its way through genres, incorporating the pulse and yearning of R&B with the low-fi grit and crackle of folk. From the gauzy, beat-driven title track to the aching, old-school country “Sing Me Your Love Song,” Hayes’ voice glides between a growling purr and seductive vibrato, transporting the listener into a rich, sensual late-night world.

Publicly posted tracks "Love That Woman" and "She Knows."

Teaser video.

In his twenty-year career as a San Francisco-based musician, Hayes has won acclaim from fans and critics alike. He’s dueted with Aimee Mann, toured with Ani DiFranco and the Cold War Kids, been covered by The Be Good Tanyas and re-mixed by DJ Mark Farina, and had his music featured in a variety of television shows, films, and commercials. Raised in North Carolina and honed as an artist in Northern California, Hayes crafts music that, as the SF Weekly puts it, “succeeds on the tension between warm, resonant soul and dirt-road folk, all laced with a wandering troubadour’s coo.” In the track “Home I Left” Hayes sings of leaving San Francisco--“headed north with my young family/needed space to grow”—and this album is structured to represent snapshots from his life in the four years since. ‘Low Light’ thrums with songs of desire, sanctuary, and the redemptive power of love.

His previous album ‘Before We Turn To Dust’ reached #3 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter chart and was added by over 150 radio stations nationally. iTunes Store said, "It's the kind of salt-of-the-earth soul that would sit well on a mix alongside early Donny Hathaway recordings." Paste Magazine called Hayes “a very appealing songwriter—one who’s poised to get the recognition he deserves.”

Hayes is currently preparing for a national tour and composing music for a forthcoming James Redford documentary to air this fall on HBO.

Sean Hayes Tour Dates

July 15 - Woodmen Hall - Lopez Island, WA
July 30 - Castoro Cellars - Templeton, CA
July 31 - HopMonk Novato - Novato, CA
August 4 -  Cedar Cultural Center - Minneapolis, MN
August 5 - The Frequency - Madison, WI
August 6 -  SPACE - Chicago, IL
August 7 - Pabst LIve - The Back Room at Colectivo - Milwaukee, WI
August 9 - North Dakota Museum of Art - Grand Forks, ND
August 25 - The New Parish - Oakland, CA
August 27 - HopMonk - Sebastopol, CA
September 7 - MotorCo - Durham, NC
September 8 - Eddie's Attic - Decatur, GA
September 9 - Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC
September 10 - 12th and Porter - Nashville, TN
September 11 - Zanzabar - Louisville, KY
September 13 - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH
September 14 - 9th Ward - Buffalo, NY
September 16 - Cafe 939 - Boston, MA
September 17 - One Longfellow - Portland, ME
September 18 - Columbus Theatre - Providence, RI
September 20 - Iron Horse - Northampton, MA
September 21 - Le Poisson Rouge - NYC, NY
September 23 - Johnny Brendas - Philadelphia, PA
September 24 - IOTA - Arlington, VA
September 25 - The Evening Muse - Charlotte, NC
October 6 - Filling Station - Bozeman, MT
October 8 - Top Hat - Missoula, MT
October 9 - Pub Station - Billings, MT
October 10 - Larimer Lounge - Denver, CO
October 13 - Avogadro's Number - Fort Collins, CO
October 15 - State Room - Salt Lake City, UT
October 22 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA
November 2 - Green Frog - Bellingham, WA
November 3 - Tractor Tavern - Seattle, WA
November 4 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR
November 5 - HiFi - Eugene, OR
November 6 - Brickroom - Ashland, OR
November 9 - SOhO - Santa Barbara, CA
November 10 - The Satellite - Los Angeles, CA
November 11 - Venue TBA - San Diego, CA
November 12 - Moe's Alley - Santa Cruz, CA

Monday, July 11, 2016


Following the release of its debut full-length ‘music for outcasts’ (L’Echiquier / D├ęcor / Weiner) and the wrapping up of a national tour that saw the band play everything from a DIY July 4 party in a parking garage to a record store, a church to an outdoor bar stage, Leland Sundries has premiered its new video for “Studebaker” at Impose Mag.
The band will perform tomorrow at Green River Festival in western Massachusetts, the same day as Dawes, Shovels & Rope, and Shakey Graves. Mercury Lounge will host a headlining show on Monday on a bill with Ron Gallo.
Pop Matters is streaming the entire album, comparing it to Pavement and calling it “folk-rock awesomeness… memorable."
Spotlights have also run in American Songwriter, Paste, Flavorpill, Pure Volume, UNCUT, MOJO, and spins at WFUV, KCRW, and KEXP. In a Q&A, CMJ praised its “fine character building.” called Leland Sundries “folk rock from a weird, loose-limbed, garage-rock point of view.”
The Memphis Commercial Appeal called ‘music for outcasts’ “literate, tuneful character sketches, songs rooted not just in his own hard-living lifestyle but also in the people he met on the road... establishing the band as worthy successors to such durable acts as Son Volt, Clem Snide and Deer Tick.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016



September 30 will see the emergence of a major new soul music voice with Robert Finley’s debut album ‘Age Don’t Mean a Thing’ on Big Legal Mess Records, a Fat Possum imprint. Already, the New York Times has called the 62 year old north Louisianan singer “more than convincing… venerable but vigorous.” NPR Music reviewed a performance of the Music Maker Blues Revue featuring Finley, calling it “exciting… amazing… great stuff.” He has performed at NYC’s prestigious GlobalFest and at the King Biscuit Festival. He is set to follow that with an appearance at LA’s Skirball Center on August 18.

Produced by Bruce Watson and Jimbo Mathus, the album traverses the classic Booker T & The MGs-esque Memphis groove of “I Just Want To Tell You,” the tough soul-blues of the title track, “Snake In My Grass,” and “Is It Possible To Love 2 People,” the romantic deep soul of “Make It With You,” danceable funk on “You Make Me Want To Dance,” the tremolo- and organ-soaked heartache of “It’s Too Late.” Finley proves himself a powerful songwriter, penning seven of the album’s nine tracks himself.

Facing vision troubles after careers in the US Army and as a civilian carpenter, Finley has decided to pursue music full-time with the assistance of the Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Finley traveled north to Memphis to work with members of the Bo-Keys. Players include a who’s who of the Memphis soul scene including drummer Howard Grimes (Al Green, Otis Clay, Syl Johnson, OV Wright), Marc Franklin (Bobby “Blue” Bland), Jimbo Mathus (Elvis Costello), Al Gamble (St. Paul & The Broken Bones, the Hold Steady, Alex Chilton), Kirk Smothers (Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Guy), Reba Russell (U2, BB King), Harold Thomas (James Carr), Daunielle Hill (Solomon Burke).