We've written about Robert Connely Farr twice before (here and here). He is a songwriter from Bolton, Mississippi, now based in Vancouver, who has been mentored by bluesman Jimmy "Duck" Holmes in the ways of Bentonia Blues: a regional variant of Delta Blues handed down over the generations from Henry Stuckey. Building on the success of his 2018 full length release "Dirty South Blues" and 2020's well-received "Country Supper," Farr returns in 2022 with "Shake It," his ninth studio album.
In 2019, Farr took his band down to play Holmes’ historic Bentonia Blues Festival; it proved to be a seminal experience for the group. Immediately following that performance, Farr and his band returned to Vancouver to begin recording a new project; it was then Robert received an unexpected cancer diagnosis and began an emergency surgery. After recovering from that unfortunate circumstance Farr got right back to work with a string of new releases, culminating in the group of tracks that would become his very successful "Country Supper."
Capping 2022 with the release of "Shake It," Robert Connely Farr gets back to the serious business of decrypting Jimmy’s obscure tunings and haunting melodies. After listening to the full album, the title track really jumped out for me as a sonic masterpiece. With the electric guitar doing so much to drive the groove, the bass is left to double as another kick drum track, with bassist Tom Hillifer dropping fat nuggets right down the middle of the pocket like pistol shots from the back parlor. In the tradition of so many blues greats before him, Farr delivers a kind of music that is both visceral and raw. His lyrics tell of lost love and catfish in the swamp; of hard nights and howling guitars, with Farr's signature gravelly vocal and a simmering rhythm section adding both grit and fire. This is the heart-roar of a man that has dodged more than a few bullets—as "Shake It" joins the love of vintage blues with an infectious passion for the present moment. The result is a collection of nine blistering tracks as timeless as they are full of adrenaline, delivered as proof that a true bluesman will rise to the occasion of whatever life throws at him.