Hearing Ric Robertson for the first time, you’ll be forgiven if John Prine is the first name that comes to mind. Robertson’s voice has the same soft Southern burr as Prine’s, the same Zen acceptance of humanity’s failings, and, most importantly, the same sense of playfulness in the music. There’s a bit of Willie Nelson in there too, not just from all the smoke in the air, but from the colliding elements of jazz, funk, and country.
Robertson’s an American original, pulling influences from the greats that came before, but wholly responsible for creating his own creative universe. When he’s not writing songs or playing music, his polymath personality fills time learning claymation, filmmaking, building puppets, learning pedal steel… He’s relentlessly creative, the musician’s musician, as testified by the fact that he’s continuously in demand as a touring bandmate, playing with everyone from Rhiannon Giddens to The Wood Brothers.
His new album, Carolina Child, coming July 30 on Free Dirt Records, is Robertson’s break-out moment, a fully-fledged multiverse of madcap ideas and creative anarchy. The album was produced by Dan Molad of Lucius, and features Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig from Lucius plus a whole host of Robertson’s friends, colleagues, and picking partners, drawn from all over the U.S. The album includes Dori Freeman and Nick Falk from Galax, VA, Gina Leslie from New Orleans, Sam Fribush of Greensboro, NC, Alex Hargreaves (Steve Martin, Kacey Musgraves) and Eddie Barbash (Jon Batiste) from Brooklyn, Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers, Kai Welch, Logan Ledger, and Nate Leath (Sierra Ferrel) from Nashville. A guest list this large and varied is a testament to Robertson’s easygoing musicianship.
Today, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of premiering Robertson’s video for “Thinkin’ About You.” About the track, he says:
“I was sitting on my balcony in New Orleans and thumb picking some blues guitar when I saw a puddle on the street below that reflected a lovely rainbow across the top. The silky strips of color ripples were so beautiful, a combination of a hole in the street, leftover rainwater, and some exhaust gases that had dripped from someone’s car. Yuck. But pretty! That paradox started unraveling seemingly random words until I just started playing with how many words I could fit in a verse.”
Pre-order the album here.