Out of the Wilderness (album)

Out of the Wilderness (album)
Out of the Wilderness
Studio album by Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise
Released 21 April 2009 (US)
Recorded 2008. Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA, United States
Genre R&B
Language English
Label Quarter 2 Three Records
Producer Bruce Robb

Out of the Wilderness is the 5th studio album by musical artist, Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, which was released on April 21, 2009 by independent record label Quarter 2 Three Records.


Album Description

Five years after their last studio record, Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise delivers Out of the Wilderness. This long-awaited album is the fifth major release from the blind artist who illuminates his listeners with his lyrical and musical vision.

A former RCA and Vanguard artist, Robert is returning to his roots in Out of the Wilderness. Across an intriguing selection of new material, Robert performs with a passionate sincerity whether the subject is his daughter leaving home for the first time in the unusually up-tempo “Beautiful Girl,” or his yearning for true love in the achingly romantic “Gotta Find a Woman,” or his heartfelt longing for his home in the ballad to his state “Alabama,” or just a brother living in “Americaland.” The ten song emotional journey exposes Robert doing what he does best - captivate with his unmistakable soulfully expressive voice that is deepened by a sense of his hard-won personal life experience.

“This record brings me back to the time when I started out as a singer-songwriter, where the music did not need the New York Philharmonic to make it real. It’s just me at the piano with the musicians around me finding my groove. I wanted to just be Robert and sing straight like Jim Reeves on ‘Put Your Sweet Lips a Little Closer to the Phone.’ I wanted to do a record that was innocent. That’s why I say ‘Out of the Wilderness’ because it is like I’ve been reborn,” explains Bradley.

A year in the making, Out of the Wilderness showcases a brilliant collaboration between artist and producer Bruce Robb with Bradley’s raw authentic spirit equally matched by one of music production’s purists. Robb’s vintage analog recording techniques and a musician’s soul create the sublime sonic landscape that pairs the rich gospel-honed vocals and bluesman’s undressed piano style with superlative musicianship by guitarists Matthew J. Ruffino and Zachary Throne, bassist Larry “Bones” Dennison, drummer Oscar Seaton, percussionists Craig Krampf and Scot Little Bihlman, and Robb himself on B3 and Wurlitzer.

“What makes this record unique is that it is coming from a place that is pure feel, something that is not easy to do. Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles… there just aren’t that many of them. It takes a special kind of artist, and that’s what makes this record so honest. It’s that irresistible groove,” describes Robb.

With the added magic of being one of the final recordings from the famous Cherokee Studios, the resulting album is best described as classic R&B that is remarkably contemporary, and everything a listener and fan can hope for.

Billboard Magazine Review

Out of the Wilderness
May 02, 2009

Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise There's no better purveyor of the swampy waters of roots music today than pianist/songwriter Robert Bradley. He and his band Blackwater Surprise mark their studio return after a six-year absence with the agreeably soulful "Out of the Wilderness." It's his fifth outing since 1994 when the blind busker was plucked off Detroit's streets to document his rough-hewn tunes teeming with homespun lyrical acumen. Reunited with keyboardist Bruce Robb, who produced 2003's "Still Lovin' You," Bradley brightens the CD's 10 originals with his effervescence, grooved choruses and gravelly voice, reminiscent of James Blood Ulmer. He pays homage to his home state on the country-inflected "Alabama"; gives it up to Ray Charles on the "Shaft"-like, reggae-tinged "Americaland"; and dances through the R&B and rock of "Everybody Wanna Party," a perfect summer anthem. There's not a moment of contrivance here, just pure, spirited fun. —Dan Ouellette


  1. ^ Billboard Magazine

“Out of the Wilderness” Songs Featured in the Motion Picture “Love N’ Dancing”

The album songs “Love You in the Daytime,” “Cryin’ My Eyes Out,” and “Everybody Wanna Party” are featured in the motion picture Love N’ Dancing starring Amy Smart and Billy Zane released to selected US theatres May 2009 and DVD in the fall.

Legendary Detroit songwriter Robert Bradley of Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise was the first artist hired by the film’s music supervisor and producer Bruce Robb. The two had previously worked together very successfully on HBO’s award-winning movie “Lackawanna Blues.” Robb and Bradley were also already planning the new album Out of the Wilderness, which would overlap the film’s music production schedule. The final nod came from the film’s producer-choreographer Robert Royston who happened to be a big fan of the group.

Robert Bradley’s Song “Alabama”

Alabama Governor Bob Riley has awarded Robert Bradley a Certificate of Commendation for the song “Alabama,” which was formally dedicated to the state.

Robert Bradley’s Dedication to the State of Alabama:

“My heart still lives in Alabama just as sure as the southern winds blow...” -- Robert Bradley

My name is Robert Bradley and I was born in Evergreen, Alabama. Along with my 13 brothers and sisters, I grew up on a farm where we raised cows, chickens, ducks, turkeys, hogs, and also a mule named Old Pete. We grew our own vegetables, made our own syrup out of sugar cane, and canned just about everything. If I try hard enough, I can still taste the flavor of homegrown Alabama plums, yellow meat watermelon, and boiled peanuts. I have great memories of those days - coon hunting, chopping wood, catching a deer each fall, and going to church at Antioch Baptist every Sunday morning.

At the age of 9, I attended the Alabama School for the Blind in Talladega where I spent my next 8 years studying piano under my favorite teacher Mrs. Hendrix. I lived in the school nine months of the year and came home for the holidays. If my parents could afford it they would pick me up, or I would catch the Greyhound bus.

Attending the school, I was inspired by the “five blind boys,” Calvin Scott, Clarence Carter, and my favorite minister Reverend Frank Lee. After supper, a bunch of us would go up by the side of the hill and down in the flats where we would sing and pretend that we were The Blind Boys of Alabama.

The school was instrumental in my life in two profound ways; I learned Braille along with techniques to help me function better in the world as a blind person living in a sighted society, and I began to develop what would become my signature vocal style. I had grown up listening to country and soul, and now I had found a way to fuse both of those styles of music with my voice. That gift would change the course of my life.

I've always thought that Alabama was in the middle - both geographically and philosophically. I think by being in the middle we learned to understand all sides of things. We all just mixed together and worked together, regardless of race or creed, and most importantly looked out for each other. People in Alabama do that; they look out for each other.

I have been fortunate that my career as a professional musician has given me the opportunity to travel the world, but I've never found a place that could replace what Alabama will always be for me in my heart. I am dedicating this song "Alabama" to the state that I am so proud to call home because no matter where I live, “My heart still lives in Alabama...”

I would like to say thank you to all of the citizens of Alabama, including the people who may have moved away, but were living there during the period of 1958 – 1966. I am so grateful for programs like the Alabama School for the Blind with all the volunteers from Talladega College and the numerous other organizations that contributed to our school, brought us Christmas presents, helped out on field trips, took us on picnics and literally helped us climb mountains. Although I may never see you, you have all helped me fulfill my dream of becoming a successful singer and songwriter.


Robert Bradley


Robert Bradley: lead vocals, piano
Matthew J. Ruffino: guitar
Zachary Throne: guitar
Larry "Bones" Dennison: bass
Oscar Seaton: drums
Scot Bihlman: secret weapon
Craig Krampf: percussion
Bruce Robb: Hammond B3 organ, Wurlitzer electric piano

Songs written by Robert Bradley with Matthew J. Ruffino
Quarter 2 Three Publishing / BMI

Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Bruce Robb
Second Engineering & ProTools Technician by Barry Stone
Recorded at Cherokee Studios, Hollywood
Additional Recording at Materlink Studios, Nashville
Mixed at Sonora Recording, Los Angeles
Matered by Ron McMaster, Capitol Records
Executive Produced for Quarter2Three Records by Tiffany Downey

Original Artwork Designed by Younhee Lee and Jihyun Rosa Hong


1. * Billboard Magazine Review

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