03 Jul Veteran Feature by Harry Walters Photographics
Harry Walters Photographics
Little Lord Robert
A little about Harry:
I was about twelve or thirteen years old when I got very much interested in photography. I had a Kodak film camera, some darkroom gear and an enlarger for printing. With all this photography stuff I needed pictures to develop so I started taking pictures of all kinds of things. The more I shot the more creative I got with my photos. I became more selective of what I shot and very aware of composition. I got drafted into the army and went to Vietnam. I was in the chemical core and assigned to a service battalion and traveled around the country to other military units to help secure their base perimeters. This gave me an opportunity to photograph various aspects of the war. I was like a photojournalist taking pictures whenever I could. About a year after getting discharged from the military I decided to go to school for commercial photography on the GI Bill. I studied photography in Chicago and classes were taught using 4 x 5 film cameras shooting table top products, portraits, etc. Upon finishing school I freelanced for a while, I did parties, some events and my friend’s wedding which I had fun doing but I felt I wasn’t satisfying my creative urge as a photographer. Now some thirty years later I still have a strong desire to create interesting pictures, have my own studio and enjoyed every bit of the journey. I tend to lean more towards advertising, product, glamour, beauty and conceptual art.
I spent two years active duty in the U.S. Army, two years reserve and two years inactive duty.
Presenting: Little Lord Robert
Robert Finlayson aka Little Lord Robert is a multi-instrumentalist from Chicago who recently released his second album, Saint Chicago. The singer-songwriter not only wrote all the songs and played all the instruments on his first two records, he mixed and produced them as well. In today’s DIY environment it all makes perfect sense to have total control over one’s product. Saint Chicago is a record filled with tunes both celebrating the city and its contribution to music styles, in particular Chicago’s bawdy brand of blues. A mixture of powerhouse rock riffs and textured multi-tracked guitars, the entire album surrounds the listener in a guitar hero inspired manifesto that proudly proclaims Rock ‘n’ Roll, which in the opinion of many, is dead and buried, but on this disc it is indeed alive and well, especially if Little Lord Robert has something to say about it. “I keep reading article after article where one artist or another is saying that Rock ‘n’ Roll as an important platform is dead, not necessarily the genre itself.” He goes on to add, On the one hand I do see what they’re saying, Rock music will never regain the status it held in the Sixties and Seventies, but that’s alright, it doesn’t need to look to the past. On the other hand there are plenty of bands or artists making good Rock music but obviously its no longer at the forefront of promotion by major labels.
The current climate of the record industry, if one can even claim there truly is an industry left anymore, is that for the up and coming artist it’s a long, long way to the top, or even the bottom of the heap. “This might sound counterproductive but I truly have no expectations concerning my career, yet I have a career path I’m taking. I don’t expect to receive massive radio airplay, or any at all, but at the same time I can release independently any sort of album I choose to make.”
Adding to this Little Lord Robert says that his next step would be landing a spot on a tour. “I’d like to get booked on a tour, I don’t really care who with, but the problem is that I don’t have much exposure yet as an artist. But I’m itching to get out there and play these songs live.” In the studio he’s a one man band, playing all the instruments himself, a lofty claim many a musician makes but rarely turns out to be the case. There’s not a single riff or note that Little Lord Robert didn’t play himself on both of his albums, but it’s an entirely different dynamic to playing with other musicians. “The studio environment is one thing, but there’s nothing like the unspoken communication between musicians when you’re playing live,” he says.
Musically speaking, Saint Chicago is an album chock full of various styles from Blues to Hard Rock, and everything in between. From the urban raunch of “Cheap Tattoo” to the Stones influenced riffage of “Do Right By Me,“ Saint Chicago pays homage to great artists of the past as well as allowing Little Lord Robert to incorporate those influences into his own sound. “I play the Blues but I’m not primarily a Blues artist,” says Little Lord Robert. “If I were to put a label on it I’d say that a cocktail of Classic Rock and Hard Rock is more appropriate for this record. I’ll always play my take on the Blues, but I’m more Van Halen than I am Muddy Waters.” Little Lord Robert mentions that legendary Bluesman Buddy Guy is a big influence and even calls out the Guitarists name as such in one line of the title track. “Buddy Guy’s a big factor in my playing, but also for his singing. No one ever talks about the powerful way he belts out notes, that man roars like a lion!”
But Little Lord Robert’s road to stardom hasn’t been confined exclusively to music, he has also spent the better part of the last decade appearing here and there in Chicago Indie films and TV shows, even acting and writing for the Chitown based web series Cafe Kremlin. He even lived for a few years in Los Angeles pursuing the film making angle. Music wasn’t taking a backseat to acting ambitions so much as it was about convenience and opportunity, yet another creative outlet for the musician. In the end, it’s all part of being a complete artist, and one that demands being in complete control of his artistic path.
Little Lord Robert’s albums are available at CD Baby, Spotify and Amazon. Other miscellaneous tracks and singles are available at Bandcamp.com.