In a city known worldwide for its brand of country music, DeRobert and the Half-Truths have carved out a place for themselves as the flag-bearers of Nashville Soul.
DeRobert Adams, the voice in front of the Half-Truths, got his start some 200 miles west of Nashville in the small Memphis exurb of Covington, Tennessee singing in the church choir. It was there that DeRobert honed his talents as a powerfully soulful vocalist, training himself to perform dizzying vocal acrobatics and arias. Growing up without means, DeRobert spent most of his time fine-tuning those natural skills throughout childhood. In 2000, at the age of 19 against his family’s wishes, he packed a suitcase and stole away in the middle of the night to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a small college town just southeast of Nashville where he enrolled in Middle Tennessee State University. It was here that he met Nick DeVan and David Singleton who later founded G.E.D. Soul Records and soon thereafter DeRobert & The Half-Truths.
In the sweltering summer of 2007, DeRobert, DeVan, and Singleton began working on a 7” record under the name The Grips. DeRobert added his vocals to the A side, “Tennessee Strut.” It was released with little fanfare, but soon word began to spread about a little yellow 45 from an unheard of group from Tennessee. The record had a rough, old-school growl to its raw production and one thing that stood out undeniably was DeRobert’s powerful vocals. A follow-up was immediately released featuring DeRobert on both sides.
The first DeRobert and the Half-Truths 7” record, “Fallen’ In Debt” came out in 2008 followed quickly by two more, “Wake On Up” and the “Too Busy” EP. The gritty records drew attention from soul DJ’s and aficionados the world over. In 2010, DeRobert and the Half-Truths released their first full-length album “Soul In a Digital World” to favorable reviews. The LP allowed the band (now augmented with several talented local musicians) to stretch out with their brand of raw, syncopated soul. Staying true to their love of making music for the vinyl record, G.E.D. Soul Records released the 7” “Beg Me” EP in 2011 garnering a whole new level of fandom for the band and their little Nashville label.
One of the key features making this music so special is what has been described as “an audible sweat” embedded in the recordings. Recorded solely in Nick DeVan’s Poor Man Studio, the musicians huddle together in a small, heavily-insulated living room and grind out hard-boiled track after track. All of the musicians are working class folks eking out a living with side-jobs and stints on the road. The recurring themes of poverty, heartbreak and the perpetual struggle to monetarily stay afloat are reflected in the songs.
The new record, “I’m Tryin'” (available Jan 14, 2014) is a testament to a kind of working man’s soul music. Balancing the rhythmic elements of the old days with splashes of DeRobert’s modern vocals punctuating the melody like a possessed pugilist, the new album sets this group apart from other soul revival acts.
“I’m Tryin'” is the result of two years of hard-traveling and sweat-drenched recording sessions in the working class section of East Nashville, Tennessee. The band and label, both operating on a shoestring budget led a successful crowd-funding campaign through Kickstarter to finance this record. The result is by far one of the finest recordings produced by DeRobert and The Half-Truths and G.E.D. Soul Records.