Where does the song stop and the musician start? Put similarly, how inextricably linked is the singer of the song and the song itself? How much is fiction, how much is storytelling, and how much is experiential, how much is pulled from reality? I consider these questions when listening to gallivanting bard Robert Sarazin Blake. How many miles has RSB logged in his travels? Can we even imagine the things he’s seen, been a part of, played witness to on the road over the years? If he told us a story was true, would we be able to believe him? How much like fiction would it sound? When performing, Blake’s banter bleeds into his set, seamlessly blending music and musing. Again, where does the show end and the man start?
Whether his tales are pulled from reality or fiction (probably a little of both), what I do know is that they are always highly entertaining, engaging, and captivating. When we invited him to the WXPN studio to record our Folkadelphia Session, Blake was touring his newest album, his 10th (or is it his 11th, 12th?) release, the fantastic Robt Sarazin Blake. Behind his seemingly simple sprechstimme vocalization lies a colorful universe of incessant journeying, the past colliding with the present – sometimes joyously, sometimes painfully, and traditional ballads and folk songs being bent to Blake’s will. At the center of it all, Blake remains a true entertainer, a troubadour with a hat on his head, a guitar on his back, and song on his tongue. He maintains a place by his side for all to listen and to be there with him.
In our studio recording, Blake tracked songs from his new album, Robt Sarazin Blake, including a semi-improvised and quite lengthy version of “Ghosts on Bedford Avenue” that I highly recommend you set some time aside to listen to.