Tag Archives: soul

Cross The Musical Bridge

1 Mar

“Coming Home” by Leon Bridges, which was just recently released, is a breath of fresh air in a sea of standard popular new releases. Right from the first note, it is clear that Bridges is channeling the musical stylings of the likes of Smokey Robinson and Sam Cooke.

This song in particular is reminiscent of Cooke’s “You Send Me,” in terms of tempo and pure soul, and “Sad Mood” in terms of lyrical content. It literally sounds as if it could have been coming out of a jukebox in the early 60s.

The lyrics are simple but never overly simplified. They clearly tell the story of a man who is in a melancholy state over the girl he has lost. It is a tale told over and over again in song, but to express it musically in a specific retro way in 2015 makes it sound new.

Bridges vocals are soulful and full of longing and maturity past his young age. He croons, wearing his heart on his sleeve, and makes “Coming Home” a track that can be enjoyed by many generations.

Discography: Coming Home E.P. (2015)

Official Website: http://www.leonbridges.com/

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Stay With Sam Smith

1 Jun

Singer/songwriter Sam Smith is already getting praise for his music, and his debut album isn’t even released in the United States yet. You may have caught him on Saturday Night Live, or have heard his name being thrown around in music lovers conversations, but if you have not here is your formal introduction to his song “Stay With Me.”

The start of the song, with strong piano and simple percussion are swirling musical echoes of Bill Withers “Lean On Me.” In fact “Stay With Me” holds the same powerful anthem quality which is only bolstered by a gospel choir that surprises and moves in the tune’s chorus.

Smith’s voice, however, brings to mind another retro influence, David Ruffin of The Temptations. You can hear it especially on The Temptations hit “My Girl.” Full of soul and a vocal range that exquisitely hits all the right high and low notes, both Ruffin and Smith are artists whose talent is inherent and infectious.

“Stay With Me” is a track that is relatable on many levels and Smith brings just the right amount of emotion to the song, wavering between delicacy and strength.

If you’re looking for a song with heart, check out “Stay With Me” and listen as Smith lays his heart out for all to hear.

Discography: In The Lonely Hour (2014)

Official Website: http://www.samsmithworld.com

Rock on Reed

23 Feb

Let’s be honest, the closest thing to a real life time machine is music. We can hear a song, and recall instantly where we were when we first heard that tune. What the decade was like, the fashion, what was trendy. And if a modern song is done right, done to retro perfection, with one listen we can instantly be transported back to the time the song was inspired by.

Such is the case with Eli PaperBoy Reed & The True Loves “I’ll Roll With You.”

With a midtempo beat, horns, a catchy chorus and backing vocals, all mixed together with Reed’s soulful vocal stylings, the song brings back the swagger and style of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles “Tracks of My Tears.”

The deep rooted Motown feel comes across in every note, clear as a bell as Reed yearns for a girl who may be weary of him and his reputation.

“All I want is one sweet girl,” Reed croons, “We don’t need the high class crowd.” It’s the kind of innocent song, with innocent lyrics that takes one back to the 50’s and 60’s, especially with The True Loves backing Reed up.

So if you’re looking to experience the past in a modern number, get ready to be swept away by Eli Reed and The True Loves.

Discography: Roll with You (2008) Come and Get It! (2010)

Official Website: http://www.elipaperboyreed.com

Go Down The Road With The Heavy

20 Oct

The Heavy have never shied away from tackling dark material in their songs, but perhaps their most haunting tune to date is the southern gothic, slow blues track “Lonesome Road.”

The band may hail from England, but they capture the sound of New Orleans soul so well, it’s hard to believe they did not grow up immersed in the Louisiana culture.

“Lonesome Road” relies on sparse horns and percussion, with a bit of electric guitar to set the stage for gruesome lyrics such as

“When it’s over from the start
When it hangs by the nail
When it leaks like a murdered heart
When it’s too sad a tale.”

Kelvin Swalby may be this generations Ray Charles with just enough soul, funk, blues and jazz in his voice to make his a superstar. “Lonesome Road,” with its slow pacing, and dirge like marching sounds is like a modern day version of Charles’ “It’s Alright.”

In both songs, the most effective element is the background echoing vocals. In “Lonesome Road” a ghostly choir wails like banshees throughout the track which is sure to give anyone goosebumps.

If you’re looking for a standout modern track with retro soul to add to your Halloween party playlist, look no further than “Lonesome Road”

Discography: Great Vengeance and Furious Fire (2007),The House That Dirt Built (2009),The Glorious Dead (2012)

Official Website: http://www.theheavy.co.uk

Wake up with The Apache Relay

8 Sep

A humming sound followed by electric guitar and percussion crashing mimicking the cacophony of transitioning from a sound asleep state to one of alertness is the perfect jolt of energy to start The Apache Relay’s “Can’t Wake Up.”

Folk-rock-alternative and soul combine into 4:30 minute musical melting pot. While the tune relies heavily on Americana twang, it is when lead singer (and Bassist) Michael Ford Jr slips into his higher register and r&b soul sound that “Can’t Wake Up” makes you stand up and take notice. Part Smoky Robinson and the Miracles “Tracks of my Tears,” Ford wails and croons so smoothly, one can’t help but wonder what other musical talents he has up his sleeve.

With just a hint of retro soul intertwined within the song “Can’t Wake Up” proves that a little bit of old fashion goes a long way.

Musical Missal

5 May

Donna Missal hasn’t even released an E.P. but the buzz around her is strong.

Seamlessly blending the musical styles of Ella Fitzgerald and Janis Joplin (a la “Cry Baby”) with her own flavor, Missal brings raw passion, chops, and a maturity seldom heard anymore to “Mr. Rogers.”

The pretty string ensemble heard throughout the tune is a stark contrast to Missal’s rough and coarse vocals. The intensity and vulnerability Missal brings to the song is one I implore anyone to try and match. This is a girl scorned, and when Missal cries “leave my heart alone,” one can feel the excruciating pain.

With earnest lyrics and the musicality of a seasoned professional, Donna Missal’s “Mr. Rogers” is retro, jazzy, soulful, pop that deserves attention.

Check out this amazing LIVE performance of Mr. Rogers to see what the buzz is all about! A MUST WATCH!

Official Website: http://donnamissal.com/

Make the Right “Pick”

7 Apr

Staccato piano chords and drumbeat help Pickwick’s “Halls of Columbia” get the groove rolling along It’s a slow –down and dirty – bluesy – soul – head nodding – toe tapping tune that feels as if it is an unearthed, unreleased export from the Elton John catalog (Circa “Bennie and the Jets”).

The real star of the track is lead singer Galen Dillard-Disston, bringing forth an adult contemporary sound that is as much Elton John as it is The Black Keys. Disston’s voice bears the weight of the track, nuanced and full of rock n’ roll with a heaping amount of soul.

Wailing its way through “Halls of Columbia” Pickwick is a band that you’ll want to keep your eye on and your ears tuned in to.

Discography: Can’t Talk Medicine (2013)

Official Website: http://www.pickwickmusic.com/