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Robert Cherry



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In late 2005, Robert Cherry slipped from beneath the heavy cloud cover of Cleveland, Ohio—his home of two decades—and rolled south toward The Queen City, where he planted himself in the buckled plates above the Ohio River. Numb from one too many Cleveland winters and struggling with apathy, the singer-songwriter thought he might be done with a lot of things—past lives haunting the ‘50s-era apartment complexes dotting Lake Erie’s south-western shores, month-long stretches without direct sunlight… maybe even music itself.

The music, however, wasn’t finished with him. As an experiment, Cherry embraced a new songwriting method—actively not writing. And through the winter of 2006, the songs found him in a thinly walled four-unit apartment building, finger-strumming an acoustic, whisper-singing melodies. The chords were full and comfortable, the melodies melancholy yet uplifting, the lyrics straightforward and elemental—timeless themes made personal in the dynamic present.

If the writing of the album—the follow-up to his solo debut “The New Forever”—was a solitary, sepia-toned affair, the recording was just the opposite, a virtual and often literal party attended by old friends and overseen by a new one. Produced by former Afghan Whigs bassist John Curley at Ultrasuede Studios, “Paint No Devils” features Cherry’s croon and strum backed by singer Paul Lahey, guitarist Calvin Brown and drummer Andrew McMullen (all late of the Toronto-based quartet Leviride), as well as Curley’s signature melodic thunder.

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