It’s just before noon and Ric Robertson heads out the door on an already sweltry New Orleans morning. A short walk into the French Quarter and his day begins. He spends the next few hours at the piano, hypnotizing the crowd while lending his honey-warm voice to the swampy tunes of Bobby Charles. As the day begins to cool, Ric picks up a Telecaster to wield a band in the songs of Willie Nelson and hopping seamlessly to drums, to bass, and back to keys, transitions into a set of funk tunes a la Sly Stone. Late into the night Ric commands the room with sincerity and credibility, leading the band in classic standards and deep cuts alongside his own song in a voice as nimble and beguiling as his predecessors. This voice spills out onto Frenchman street and into the world on Ric Robertson’s debut album, The Fool, The Friend.
Ric has the gift of injecting heartbreak with a sweet and forgiving humor that few songwriters possess, magnifying his natural charm. His is a kind of musicianship and lyricism bred only by those with the keen ability to listen and absorb and the relentless ability to create. It’s had him fill in for the Woods Brothers and has him touring Rhiannon Giddens this summer. The Fool, The Friend gathers an august cadre of musicians and friends, including Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers, Dori Freeman, Nicholas Falk, Phoebe Hunt, Brother Roy, and Duncan Wickel (the album will be released on Dori Freeman's record label Blue Hens Music). Robertson is an artist with the chameleon-like ability to slink from genre to genre, instrument to instrument, and cover to original, all the while enchanting listeners to believe that there is no sorcery involved - just damn fine tunes. But there is indeed magic on The Fool, The Friend, a spell you’ll wish to be under again as soon as it’s over.