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 US: 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. He’s as comfortable backing up another artist onstage as he is leading his own band, and throughout he anchors his creativity in a sense of playful collaboration. “I just love music and I try to remain a student of it,” he says. “That’s where the playfulness comes in. I’m never going to master this, I’ll always be learning.” Humble words for an artist with an almost preternatural sense of the song, a gift for songwriting that brings him close to the legacy of Prine or Van Zandt, a songwriter who can shine a light on the harder edges of our humanity without losing sight of our hopefulness.
New single out today across all platforms from New Orleans’ Ric Robertson featuring Lucius. It’s from his upcoming album, Carolina Child, coming July 30, 2021 on Free Dirt Records. Robertson used to be in Lucius back in the day and the new album was produced by Dan Molad from the band. “Getting Over Our Love” is a sweet slice of psych Americana.