Robert Belfour

Robert Belfour
Pushin’ My Luck

Fat Possum

By Georgetown Fats
June 2010

Due to suspect birth records and Fat Possum’s tendency to embellish back story or embrace and nourish a mystery, little is known about Robert Belfour’s background. Two facts which remain crystal clear about Robert Belfour: he can make a guitar sing and music fans the world over owe the folks of Fat Possum a debt of gratitude for investing in non-commercially viable music.

Robert Belfour is a purveyor of Mississippi Hill Country and learned at the feet of both RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. On his second release titled Pushin’ My Luck, the folks at Fat Possum prove once again to be honored patrons of Deep Blues. This 2003 release proves that in the right hands, an acoustic guitar and a stripped down drum set can constitute a strong band.

Pushin’ My Luck opens with the instrumental “Hill Stomp.” Never has a finger picked guitar and a bass and snare drum combination sounded so full. Belflour’s polyrhythmic finger picking over a shuffle feel on a sparse drum set illustrate the dangers of overplaying. Belfour has the talent to take sparse instrumentation and still make a strong instrumental.

On “Breakin’ My Heart,” Belfour’s smokey baritone vocals illustrate why he is sometimes referred to as “The Wolfman.” Belfour stylistically sings behind the bar line and often draws out the last syllable of a phrase which creates a wolf howl sound. Also by stylistically singing behind the bar line while providing an uptempo shuffle groove, Belfour creates an irresistible dance/trance groove.

The disk closes out with “I’m Going to Leave You.” In all of its lo-fi genius, “I’m Going to Leave You” is Belfour singing away while picking out flawless bass and lead line out of six nylon strings. The beauty of the song demonstrates his ability to pick out two separate lines on a guitar and do so much with an paucity of notes.

In spite of world class talent and notoriety, Belfour seems content to making a career out of juking throughout Mississippi while catching on to a few festivals outside of Mississippi. Thanks again to the folks at Fat Possum for identifying an underserved market and bringing Belfour’s music beyond the Mississippi state lines.

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