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Out of the Wilderness
Artist: Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surpise
Label: Quarter 2 Three Records
This is one record which could almost accurately be called, 'an instant classic.'  With a loose, blues-rock style and strong old-school soul overtones, this 2008 CD rings with truth, longing and a passion rare in music today. The songs are uniformly excellent from the personal, "Beautiful Girl" about a young daughter leaving home for the first time to the fine soul ballad, "Sometimes I Want Some Good times In My Life," a story of homelessness and abandonment and the hope which emerges in spite of life circumstances. His narrative brings the hardest of life circumstances. But he never waivers in his faith in the life he sees before him.  Bradley's voice carries the lyrical songs and strong R&B based instrumental back-up with a naturally raspy grace reminiscent of Taj Mahal and the passion of Richie Havens, with no small does of the blues leanings of Ray Charles. The song, "Alabama," travels around the country always finding his way back to the heart of his homeland Alabama. The songwriting and lyrical approach could be described as Springsteen-like, but there is never even a hint of imitation on this outstanding collection of raw and roots focused American blues-rock songs crying out from his own deep-south experience. Robert Bradley has his own distinctively original voice which make artists like Springsteen his peer rather than his influence.  In the profound, AmericaLand, Bradley draws from his Ray Charles and his own experience in America with lyrics like...."One time give it up for Ray," and "There's been many rumors of wars, I don't know what they're fighting for..."   But, his faith in America shines in his themes, but it's not the glamour or blind patriotism which stand out in his songs, but his ability to take a clear eye'd look at the country we all see everyday full of strengths and flaws that is portrayed in songs like "AmericaLand."  And it all rises from the deeply-felt soul of an artist who is every bit as raw and real as predecessors like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke.  

Terry Roland

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