Raised in Monroe, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi, Rob Robinson leads the Nashville-based soul-blues- Southern rock band HeavyDrunk. On record, the group is a sprawling ensemble including six vocalists, horns, B3 Hammond organ, piano and three guitars. HeavyDrunk’s collective vibe recalls the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd. As for Robinson’s primary musical reference points, they’d seem to be the latter groups, Little Feat and classic soul.
Robinson and guitarist Will Beeman wrote most of Holywater, HeavyDrunk’s third album. “Walking to the Mission in the Rain” is swampy rock highlighted by Robinson’s distinctively Southern vocals and a prominent horn section. “One Dancing Fool” could be an imaginary collaboration by the Allman Brothers Band and James Brown on a Saturday night in Memphis. “Pick You Up Along the Way” is another Southern rock song but, simultaneously, the funkiest thing on the album.
“Keeping Up with the Kid” swings the blues and name-checks the late Texas guitar master Stevie Ray Vaughan, reproducing his idiosyncratic style. HeavyDrunk returns to Memphis with the Stax Records-era Staple Singers soul sound of “Memphis.” Robinson and HeavyDrunk also create compelling quieter material, such as the heartfelt “High on Love” and the album’s Randy Newman-like title song, “Holywater.”
In addition to leading HeavyDrunk, Robinson owns Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. Heavy responsibility at home must be why all of the show dates on the band’s Facebook page are in Tennessee.