Robert Connely Farr returns to his Mississippi roots with gritty new LP, Shake It
There’s a difference between feeling the blues and living the blues. When blues isn’t sincere, you can tell. But that’s not the case with Robert Connely Farr’s ninth studio album, Shake It, a riveting, romping, trans-stomp gem. The Bolton, Mississippi native was born into the blues and hasn’t strayed from the influences of Charley Patton, Sam Chatmon and his mentor Jimmy “Duck” Holmes despite relocating to Vancouver, British Columbia. Farr breathes, bleeds and embraces his roots fully on this raw, dirty LP.
Farr’s done a lot of living, and he ain’t done yet. He makes this clear on Shake It, his third studio album since 2019, the same year he received a cancer diagnosis that required emergency surgery.
“I ain’t no young man but I know I know I know I ain’t that old,” he hollers on the title track. It’s a great blues line, and it’s also a life philosophy for Farr, who won’t let anything stop him from doing what he loves and laying down honest, hypnotizing tracks.
There’s something healing about Farr’s dirty, transparent blues. When listening to “Ain’t No Other Way,” you believe him when he shares his hard times, and you know he’s alright. You know he’s getting through them. I can’t help but think this song in particular speaks of his recent diagnosis: “Ain’t no other way, babe, I’m here to stay, ain’t no other way.”
What is it about sharing hardships that elevates the performers and the listeners? When it’s performed in such a way that you know it’s a release for the artist – as it’s clear that’s the case with Farr – I believe it helps us all release some troubles. Perhaps, in these dark times, a candid blues album like Shake It serves as treatment. Shake It is a gritty, distortion-fueled adrenaline rush of an album that’s also a mood-enhancer. I recommend checking it out no matter what you have going on in your life, but it hits particularly well when you feel like you’ve had enough. Key tracks include “Screamin’ and Hollerin,’” “Goin’ Down South,” “Lefty” and “Sugar Mama.” The sound is reminiscent of early Black Keys, Tab Benoit and R.L. Burnside.
Recorded at Vancouver’s historic Hipposonic Studios (AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi), Shake It was co-produced by Farr and his band, “The Dirty Dirty,” which features drummer Jay Bundy Johnson and bassist Tom Hillifer.
The album was released Oct. 7 (self-released).
Musicians on the album are Farr (guitar and vocals), Jay Bundy Johnson (drums) and Tom Hillifer (bass).
Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Robert Connely Farr “Ain’t Enough”