Roy Roberts | Checkerboard Lounge | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.

Roy Roberts 

When: Sat., Sept. 28, 7 p.m. 2013
Price: $15, $10 in advance
North Carolina-based bluesman Roy Roberts served for a time as Solomon Burke’s guitarist, and on his own he’s spent years scuffling along the blues highway; he’s also an esteemed producer and songwriter, and his Rock House label has released music by several important contemporary blues artists (including himself). Roberts just released Anthology of Soul and Blues, a compendium of highlights from his Rock House catalog, and it shows him to be a versatile stylist who favors a robust, old-school sound: “live” instrumentation, propulsive grooves, and deep-soul horn charts reminiscent of Willie Mitchell’s work during the vintage Hi Records era. His mellow vocals achieve an emotionally resonant balance with the instrumental backing, and he uses his exploratory yet low-key guitar solos to convey deep feeling rather than proclaim his prowess. A gift for storytelling informs his lyrics, whether he’s crooning a love song (the pop-sweetened “I Truly Love You”), celebrating the joys of clubbing and juking (“I’m Going Out Tonight”), or contemplating the beauty of a Mediterranean night (“Sicily Moon”). Roberts doesn’t make it to Chicago very often, making this a rare chance to see an underappreciated blues stylist who’s spent too many years laboring in obscurity. —David Whiteis



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