About the Artist
Blind Detroit soulman Robert Bradley was plucked from obscurity in the early 1990s, when the Alabama-born singer, then a popular busker in Detroit’s Eastern Market, met up with a trio of white rock musicians, with whom he launched Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise. Debuting on RCA in 1996, the band scored an MTV hit with “Once Upon a Time,” a nostalgic tribute to Bradley’s heroes: Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, etc. Soon after, the band caught the ear of everyone from labelmate Dave Matthews, with whom they toured, to local hero Kid Rock, a guest on the band’s second record. With his debut album and the three albums that have followed, Bradley has struck a chord with fans of the increasingly rare brand of sweaty, throaty soul music bested by the likes of Redding. That said, he’s much more than that: His songs blend rock and gospel with soul, folk and, most recently, blues. In 2005, he starred as a bluesman in the Emmy-winning HBO film “Lackawanna Blues.”! The two-disc What About That: New Year's In Bloomington is the band’s first–ever full-length live record and features pre- and post-midnight sets that span Robert and the Blackwater Surprise’s catalog. Disc two features several moving solo and/or acoustic songs recorded during soundcheck, including an a capella rendering of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “New Orleans,” an ode to the Crescent City written some 10 years before Katrina.
An immediate must-have for fans of Detroit-based soul-man Robert Bradley, the two-disc What About That: New Year's Eve in Bloomington spans the blind, growly voiced singer’s career, while also featuring several previously unreleased tracks, including an infectious cover of Joe South’s “Games People Play”, a stunning a cappella rendering of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and the moving original “What About the Man” two of five solo and acoustic tracks recorded during soundcheck and collected on disc two. (Also included in that batch is an acoustic version of “Once Upon a Time” and “New Orleans” an ode to the Crescent City that Robert wrote some 10 years before Katrina). Finding the 56-year-old Bradley taking his Bloomington faithful to church on electrifying versions of “Once Upon a Time” and “Comin' Down” What About That: New Year's Eve in Bloomington features an expanded version of the Blackwater Surprise (augmented by backing vocalists, a second guitarist and percussionists) and a cover of Elmore James' “Something Inside Me."