Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise is an American band. It formed in 1994 when former members of the band Second Self met the blind street performer Robert Bradley. Bradley was born in Alabama, and gained musical experience and spirit by singing as a child at The Alabama School for the Blind. He had spent several years in Detroit by 1994, performing occasionally on the street, and playing on Saturdays in Detroit's Eastern Market, when guitarist Michael Nehra, bassist Andrew Nehra, and drummer Jeff Fowlkes overheard Bradley through an open window while rehearsing for a new project. After listening to Bradley sing for an hour, they invited him up to the studio to record several acoustic songs, then asked him to become their vocalist.
Love N' Dancing (2009) - This romantic comedy starring Amy Smart and Billy Zane features six original new Robert Bradley songs, including Smart's grand finale dance number, "You're My Lady." The film and soundtrack were released in May 2009.
Playing for Change (2006) - Bradley appears as himself in this 2006 music documentary. The soundtrack was recorded live on the streets and in the subways of the three cities: Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York.
Lackawanna Blues (2005) - Bradley appears in this HBO movie starring S. Epatha Merkerson and Terrence Howard about Lackawanna, New York in 1956, at the dawn of integration. He performs on-screen, and has three songs featured on the soundtrack (including a duet with Macy Gray).
Blackwater Surprise (RCA, 1996) - On September 17, 1996, RBBS released their 11-track debut. The result was marked as “an effective collaboration between a blind blues musician and a sympathetic Detroit rock trio.” The album was produced by Michael and Andrew Nehra, and engineered and mixed by Michael Nehra.
Authorized Bootleg: Live (RCA, 1997) - limited edition CD featuring four live tracks
Live (RCA, 1999)
Time to Discover (RCA, 2000) - This album featured guitarist Michael Nehra, his brother Andrew as bassist, and guest vocals by Kid Rock. Allmusic reviewer Mark Morgenstein praised Time to Discover as “the first modern blues classic of the new millennium.” The album was produced by Michael and Andrew Nehra, and engineered and mixed by Michael Nehra.
New Ground (Vanguard, 2002) - Even though this was seen by critics as one of the band's less successful efforts, it was noted as “earnest... exuding a hard-won optimism and working-man's head-down forbearance.” It peaked at #38 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart.
Out of the Wilderness (2008) - Five years after their last studio record, Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise released this album. The 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. Bruce Robb was producer, engineer, and mixer.
Believing in Detroit: A Tribute to Vladdy and Sergei (JFW, 1998) - a limited-edition compilation, original recording, featuring "Shake It Off"
KBCO Studio C Volume 12 Compilation Live In KBCO (KBCO, 2000) - recorded at a Boulder, Colorado radio studio, featuring "Baby", recorded live
KFOG Live from the Archives 8 (KFOG, 2001) - live, limited-edition compilation, featuring "Baby", recorded live in studio
Wish You a Merry Christmas (2001) - limited collector's edition, rare three-track CD single
Monitor This February/March 2002 (2002) - compilation featuring "Train"
It'll Come to You - The Songs of John Hiatt (Vanguard, 2003) - compilation featuring "It'll Come to You"
What About That: New Year's Eve in Bloomington (Kufala, 2006) - A two-disc live album, it documents the singer's once-annual New Year's stops at the Bluebird nightclub in Bloomington, Indiana.
Relix Magazine Music Sampler July 2006 (Relix, 2006) - an import compilation featuring "Once Upon a Time"
Lackawanna Blues Soundtrack (HBO Films/Vanguard, 2004) - produced by Bruce Robb, featuring Robert Bradley's "Dark Road," "Something Inside Me," and "Down on Me", a duet with Macy Gray