Robert Finley says he’s gone from the cotton field the Beverly Hills. At the age of 67, the veteran musician is finally earning some long-overdue attention on account of Sharecropper’s Son, his new record that beautifully chronicles his childhood in the fields of rural Louisiana, the semi-recent loss of his eyesight, his unflappable faith, and various other aspects of his incredible life. The autobiographical album—which was produced by Dan Auerbach of Black Keys—has received oodles of critical acclaim en route to landing Finley on the cover of Spin and on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre alongside Blues Traveler earlier this month. Though he’s in a great place at the moment, life wasn’t always easy for him. Not even close.
Recently, Finley spoke to My First Band host Tyler Maas about his newfound success and the long, arduous, and unlikely road that brought him to this prominent point. Over the course of about an hour, the singer spoke about growing up as the actual son of a sharecropper, his years as a builder, his path back to music when life threw him some curveballs, and the opportunities that were born out of especially challenging circumstances.
Admittedly, Finley did most of the talking in this one, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. Get ready for some amazing stories about Finley’s adolescence in the 1950s and ’60s, the memorable walk to buy his first guitar, being discovered and appearing on America’s Got Talent, and the process of making an album that both entertains listeners and serves as an insight into his personal history.
My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering and Lakefront Brewery. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. You can also listen to rebroadcasts of previous My First Band episodes on WMSE every Wednesday from noon to 12:30 p.m. CST. Music used in this episode comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Robert Finley (“Sharecropper’s Son”).