Category: Soul Music

New Audio: Introducing the Classic Soul Sounds of Austin’s Black Pumas

Black Pumas are a rising Austin, TX-based soul act, comprised of Grammy-winning producer and guitarist Adrian Quesada and 27-year-old singer/songwriter Eric Burton and a cast of collaborators. Interestingly, Burton was a street performer for several years, who busked his way from Los Angeles to Austin, where he met Quesada.

In a relatively short time, the band has received praise for their live shows from Pigeons and Planes and the Austin American-Statesman, eventually winning Best New Band and Song of the Year for “Black Moon Rising” at this year’s Austin Music Awards. Building upon the rapidly growing buzz surrounding them, the act will be releasing their self-titled full-length debut through ATO Records on June 21. The album’s latest single “Colors” is old-school singer/songwriter soul centered around a gospel and blues-inspired arrangement featuring soaring organs, a looped 12 blues guitar line, a supple bass line, and twinkling Rhodes — but by far, the star of the show is Burton’s soulful vocals and incredible range, which evoke hurt, yearning and pride. 

The band is making their NYC debut next Wednesday with a set at The Knitting Factory. 

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New Audio: Carlton Jumel Smith Releases a Swooning, Classic Soul-Inspired Declaration of Devotion

Last month, I wrote about Carlton Jumel Smith, a New York-based R&B/soul singer/songwriter, who emerged into the international soul scene with the release of his debut single “I Can’t Love You Anymore,” a 70s soul and R&B-inspired track that found him collaborating with the renowned Timmion Records production and house band team Cold Diamond & Mink. Building upon a rapidly growing profile within soul circles, Smith, who cites James Brown, Al Green, The Temptations, Sly Stone, Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack and Tom Waits as influences on his own work will be releasing his full-length debut 1634 Lexington Avenue through Timmion Records and Daptone Records.

Slated for release later this week, 1634 Lexington Avenue reportedly finds Smith and the Timmion Records crew carrying on in the tradition and sounds of Curtom Records, the Chicago-based studio and label founded by Curtis Mayfield; Memphis soul; and of course, by default Motown for contemporary listeners.  Now, as you may recall, album single “This Is What Love Looks Like!” while centered around a shuffling, two-step groove, a sultry horn line and Smith’s soulful crooning thematically and sonically drew from the classic soul and pop songs of the late 60s and 70s with the song’s narrator expressing his devotion to his life with a sweetness and passion that you’ll rarely here in contemporary music. Continuing in a similar vein as its predecessor, 1634 Lexington Avenue’s latest single “Woman You Made Me” is triumphant declaration of the narrator’s appreciation of the woman in his life, complete with the tacit recognition that love is complicated and hard — and that finding that special someone is both lucky and rare. Sonically, the song seamlessly meshes the classic 60s Motown sound with Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield psych soul.

“I sing the type of R&B and soul that I grew up with and I present it in a fashion that is designed to make one thing of love and loyalty, which as DJ Rogers once said ‘are not for sale,'” Smith says in press notes. 

Over the bulk of this site’s almost nine-year history, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstay Charles Bradley. And as you may recall, the late Jacksonville, FL-born, Brooklyn-based soul singer/songwriter led a remarkable life, overcoming unimaginable adversity, eventually appearing in two documentaries, Charles Bradley: Soul of America and the Daptone Records live documentary, Living on Soul filmed during the 2014 Daptone Records Soul Revue residency at the legendary Apollo Theater, and four full-length albums, 2011’s No Time For Dreaming, 2013’s Victim of Love, 2016’s Changes, and last year’s posthumously released Black Velvet.

In late 2016, Bradley faced what would be one the greatest challenges in a lifetime filled with challenges. A stomach cancer diagnosis earlier during the fall forced him to cancel a busy touring schedule. Weakened by months of chemotherapy, facing a potentially life threatening surgery and confronting his own mortality, Bradley stepped into a home recording studio in Queens and spontaneously created “Lonely as You Are.” Featuring a looping piano sequence, shuffling drumming and gently strummed guitars, the track features Bradley’s imitable and achingly soulful vocals speaking and singing lyrics that express his profound loneliness, the tacit awareness of his impending mortality, his hope to be reunited with his mother and grandmother in heaven and his hope to leave something that connects with fans and others once he was gone. While the song is centered around a sparse instrumental arrangement of The Avett Brothers‘ Seth Avett (guitar) and Mike Marsh (drums) and co-producers James Levy and The Avett Brothers and Langhorne Slim‘s Paul Defigilia (bass, piano and organ and co-production), the track manages to be a great example of Bradley’s powerfully earnest soulfulness — and a comforting plea to other lonely souls out there. But goddamn it, it’s an also achingly sincere tear-jerker.

The song ends with Bradley saying “I love you. And this is Charles Bradley. I hope this one days get out to the world.” His hope has been realized, and while achingly sad, it’s a reminder of how a great artist’s work can resonate long after they’ve left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past month or so, I’ve written a bit about the Helsinki, Finland-born and-based, Bolivian-Finnish singer/songwriter, producer and percussionist Bobby Oroza, and as you may recall Oroza was raised by a family of musicians and artists. Naturally, as a result, a young Oroza was exposed to a wide range of music; in fact, family parties and get together frequently featured his Bolivian-born grandfather playing Latin and Cuban classics on his guitar or his parents playing albums from an eclectic and diverse record collection that included early jazz and blues, Motown, gospel, doo-wop, soul, as well as Brazilian, African, North American and South American folk, and Nuyroican salsa, all of which influenced the music he began writing and working on.

Before completing high school, Oroza decided that he needed to experience and soak up the rhythmic source that inspired him the most, so he would up traveling to Santiago de Cuba, where he intensively studied percussion and singing. Since returning to Finland, the Bolivian-Finnish singer/songwriter, producer and percussionist has been busy producing, recording and performing music to make a living. He eventually teamed with Timmion Records’ house band/production duo Jukka Sarapää and Sami Kantelinen, best known as Cold Diamond & Mink, along with guitarist/composer Seppo Salmi, who have helped achieve his artistic vision — smokey, late night, lo-fi soul paired with Oroza’s plaintive tenor crooning over the mix.

The Bolivian-Finnish singer/songwriter’s full-length debut This Love is slated for a May 3, 2019 release through Big Crown Records, and album single “Deja Vu,” revealed a young, up-and-coming artist, who specializes in singer/songwriter soul that sounded as though it could have been released sometime between 1971 and 1974. The shimmering, mid-tempo “Your Love Is Too Cold,” which was centered around Oroza’s plaintive vocals, jangling guitars, soaring organs, a punchily delivered hook, punctuated with oohs and ahhhs, and a propulsive rhythm section , sounded indebted to classic 60s era Motown soul — while being a bitter tell off to an indifferent, careless lover. “Alone Again,” This Love‘s latest single continues the late night, Quiet Storm-like vibes, centered around shimmering guitars, a sinuous bass line and Oroza’s plaintive and tender vocals, as his narrative laments over another late night wandering the streets alone. And in some fashion the song nods at a bit at Smokey Robinson’s “Crusin.'”

“This song was inspired by the particular thought of riding alone in an automobile in the night when the streets are empty,” Bobby Oroza says in press notes. “You are as free as your gas tank contains but no matter how far you drive your past experiences will follow in every turn. We started off with some thematic references here. I’m talking about the lowrider sound. We wanted a track we would put on when cruising aimlessly around. It’s your own space then and the whole setup is prone to a certain philosophical tone. We wanted to catch a moment we felt we all knew.”

 

 

 

 

Perhaps best known as one-half of the acclaimed, Juno Award winning roots rock act The Bros. Landreth, the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Joey Landreth has spent the past few years developing a reputation and sound as a solo artist.

Landreth’s critically applauded full-length debut, 2017’s Whiskey was largely seen as an extension of his work in The Bros. Landreth. However, his highly-anticipated sophomore album Hindsight, which was co-written and produced by rising multi-instrumentalist Roman Clarke and recorded at Lincoln Country Social Club Studio in Toronto and Stereobus Recording in Winnipeg, reportedly finds the Winnipeg-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist crafting his most impassioned and uplifting material to date while pushing his sound and approach in a new direction. Thematically, the album as Landreth says in press notes features “a collection of songs that explore ideas about learning from mistakes, letting go, forgiving and growing up. And heartbreak. It wouldn’t be a Landreth endeavour without some heartbreak.”

“Cryin’,” Hindsight‘s latest single is a slow-burning and easy-going bit of singer/songwriter soul that recalls Bill Withers and Sandra Rhodes’ under-appreciated Where Has Your Love Been as the track is centered around a Muscle Shoals meets neo-soul inspired arrangement featuring a soaring hook, shimmering guitars, gospel-like organs, Landreth’s soulful crooning and an expressive guitar solo — and much like the material that seemingly influenced it, the track is essentially a deliberately crafted, old-fashioned blues about being heartbroken and crying in your beer.

Landreth will be embarking on an extensive UK and North American that will feature his producer and collaborator Roman Clarke. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

April 23 – Lewes Con Club, Lewes, United Kingdom

April 24 – Fat Lil’s, Witney, United Kingdom

April 25 – The Boileroom, Guildford, United Kingdom

April 26 – The Railway Inn, Winchester, United Kingdom

April 27 – The HUBS, Sheffield, United Kingdom

April 28 – Audio Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom

April 29 – White House Unique Social Club, Ashington, United Kingdom

April 30 – The Wardrobe, Leeds, United Kingdom

May 1 – The Night and Day Café, Manchester, United Kingdom

May 2 – The Bulls Head Alton, Alton, United Kingdom

May 3 – Kilkenny Roots Festival, Kilkenny, Ireland

May 4 – Killkenny Roots Festival, Kilkenny, Ireland

May 5 – The ROOTS @ The Rafa, St David’s, United Kingdom

May 7 – Thekla, Bristol, United Kingdom

May 8 – The Garage, London, United Kingdom

May 9 – The Flowerpot, Derby, United Kingdom

May 11 – Rhythm & Blues Night 2019, Groningen, Netherlands

May 12 – Paard Café, The Hague, Netherlands

May 14 – Blue Shell, Cologne, Germany

May 15 – Kranhalle, Munich, Germany

May 17 – Nachtwache, Hamburg, Germany

May 18 – Sonderborghus, Sonderborg, Denmark

May 19 – Blues Garage, Isernhagen, Germany

May 20 – Badehaus, Berlin, Germany

May 21 – Bygningen, Vejle, Denmark

May 22 – Tobakken, Esbjerg, Denmark

June 6 – Dekker Centre, North Battleford, Canada

June 29 – Puisto Blues Festival, Jarenpaa, Finland

July 20 – Vancouver Folk Festival, Vancouver, Canada

July 27 – Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Canso, Canada

 

New Video: Bobby Oroza’s Self-Directed Trippy Visuals for the Bitter Tell Off “Your Love Is Too Cold”

Bobby Oroza is a Helsinki, Finland-born and-based, Bolivian-Finnish singer/songwriter, producer and percussionist, who was raised by a family of musicians and artists. And as a result, a young Oroza was exposed to a wide range of music.  Family parties and get togethers frequently featured his Bolivian-born grandfather playing Latin and Cuban classics on his guitar or his parents playing album from their eclectic and diverse record collection, a collection that included early jazz and blues, Motown, gospel, doo-wop, soul, as well as Brazilian, African, North American and South American folk, and Nuyroican salsa, all of which influenced the music he began writing and working on.

Before completing high school, Oroza decided that he needed to experience and soak up the rhythmic source that inspired him the most, so he would up traveling to Santiago de Cuba, where he intensively studied percussion and singing. Since returning to Finland, the Bolivian-Finnish singer/songwriter, producer and percussionist has been busy producing, recording and performing music to make a living. He eventually teamed with Timmion Records’ house band/production duo Jukka Sarapää and Sami Kantelinen, best known as Cold Diamond & Mink, along with guitarist/composer Seppo Salmi, who have helped achieve his artistic vision — smokey, late night, lo-fi soul paired with Oroza’s plaintive tenor crooning over the mix.

Now, as you may recall, the Bolivian-Finnish singer/songwriter’s full-length debut This Love is slated for a May 3, 2019 release through Big Crown Records, and from slow-burning and ethereal album single “Deja Vu,” Oroza specializes in deeply anachronistic singer/songwriter soul with that particular track sounding as though it could have been released sometime between 1971 and 1974. Interestingly, the album’s latest single is the shimmering and mid-tempo “Your Love Is Too Cold.” Centered around Oroza’s ethereal and plaintive vocals, jangling and shimmering guitars, soaring organs, a punchily delivered hook, punctuated with oohs and ahhhs, and a propulsive rhythm section, the album’s latest track sounds indebted to classic Motown era soul — all while being a bitter tell off, in which the song’s narrator describes finally seeing their lover as indifferent, careless and abusive, and then gathering the strength and confidence to finally leave.

Directed by Bobby Oroza, the recently released video stars Oroza as a washed up karaoke singer in a tiny, sparsely attended bar singing and bopping around while the staff and the one or two drunks in the bar dance with him. The video ends with everything returning to normal — everyone being bored and wishing they were someplace else.

New York-based R&B/soul singer/songwriter Carlton Jumel Smith emerged into the international soul scene with his debut single “I Can’t Love You Anymore,” a 70s soul and R&B-inspired track that found him collaborating with the renowned Timmion Records production and house band team Cold Diamond & Mink. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the New York-based soul, who cites the likes of James Brown, Al Green, The Temptations, Sly Stone, Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack and Tom Waits as influences will be be releasing his full-length debut 1634 Lexington Avenue through Timmion Records and Daptone Records.

Slated for a May 10, 2019 release, 1634 Lexington Avenue reportedly finds Smith and the Timmion Records crew carrying on in the tradition and sounds of Curtom Records, the Chicago-based studio and label founded by Curtis Mayfield; Memphis soul; and of course, by default Motown for contemporary listeners.  Centered around a shuffling, two-step groove, a sultry horn line and Smith’s soulful crooning, 1634 Lexington Avenue‘s latest single “This Is What Love Looks Like!” draws from the classic love songs of the late 60s and 70s — and as a result, the song’s narrator expresses his devotion to his love with a swooning sweetness and passion devoid of the cynicism and selfishness of most contemporary pop.

“Here is a guy that woke up and realized what he had before it was too late and he is only too happy to share this with the world and he proclaims and declares his love for the world to hear,” Smith explains in press notes. “He is talking directly to his girl…but loud enough for everyone to hear because he is so proud of his involvement with her.”

 

Bobby Oroza is a Helsinki, Finland-born and-based, Bolivian-Finnish singer/songwriter, producer and percussionist, who was raised by a family of musicians and artists. And as a result, a young Oroza was exposed to a wide range of music.  Family parties and get togethers frequently featured his Bolivian-born grandfather playing Latin and Cuban classics on his guitar or his parents playing album from their eclectic and diverse record collection, a collection that included early jazz and blues, Motown, gospel, doo-wop, soul, as well as Brazilian, African, North American and South American folk, and Nuyroican salsa, all of which influenced the music he began writing and working on.

Before completing high school, Oroza decided that he needed to experience and soak up the rhythmic source that inspired him the most, so he would up traveling to Santiago de Cuba, where he intensively studied percussion and singing. Since returning to Finland, the Bolivian-Finnish singer/songwriter, producer and percussionist has been busy producing, recording and performing music to make a living. He eventually teamed with Timmion Records‘ house band/production duo Jukka Sarapää and Sami Kantelinen, best known as Cold Diamond & Mink, along with guitarist/composer Seppo Salmi, who have helped achieve his artistic vision — smokey, late night, lo-fi soul paired with Oroza’s plaintive tenor crooning over the mix.

The Bolivian-Finnish singer/songwriter’s full-length debut This Love is slated for a May 3, 2019 release through Big Crown Records, the label home of Lee Fields & The Expressions,  The Shacks and El Michels Affair. The album’s latest single is the slow-burning and aching ballad “Deja Vu,” a deceptively anachronistic track that sounds as though it could have been released sometime between 1971 and 1974. Interestingly, the song tells the story of the moment when romantically, you’re in a repetitious rut, and when you realize that you and your relationship are at a fork in the road and sometimes in that moment, there comes a fundamental and painful understanding about yourself and your partner.

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle Lacy is a Charleston, SC-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who specializes in vintage rock ‘n’ roll and soul — and his Dala Records debut is the Squeeze meets Daptone Records-like “Hangin On,” a track that pairs Lacy’s plaintive and soulful croon with an arrangement that features a gospel-inspired intro, plinking keys, a funky bass line, a rock ‘n’ roll-like backbeat, a mournful horn line, a swaggering guitar line and an anthemic chorus. And while being an incredibly crafted song that sounds as though it could have been released in 1962 or 1982, the core of the song is the narrator’s desperation and heartache, which you can literally feel throughout.

 

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming British Singer-Songwriter Stealth Releases Behind-the-Scenes Video featuring The Dap Kings

Stealth is an up-and-coming Birmingham, UK-based singer/songwriter. Citing influences such as Howlin’ Wolf and Etta James, the up-and-coming British singer/songwriter specializes in an old school bluesy and soulful take on pop and soul.  His single “Judgement Day,” was a viral hit that has amassed over 10 million streams on Spotify and YouTube combined, landed on the charts in 12 different countries and appeared on an episode of USA Network’s Suits — and as a result, his EP The Intro, which featured the song landed at #2 on the iTunes UK singer/songwriter charts and #3 on the iTunes US charts. His sophomore EP, Verse, featured “Real Life,” a track that was featured on ABC’s The Catch and E’s The Royals — and the track was also featured in a Kia Stinger ad campaign throughout Europe. Adding to a growing profile, the Birmingham-based singer/songwriter has opened for the likes of Seinabo Say, Jamie Woon, Zella Day, Tiggs Da Author, Vaults, Kaleo and others. He also received frequent airplay across BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 6 and BBC Introducing — and was nominated for 3 Unsigned Music Awards before he signed to Ultra Music.

Since signing to Ultra Music as their first blues/soul/pop act, Stealth has continued to build upon a rapidly growing profile. His third EP, Chorus features “Gotta Stop Loving You,” a track with an accompanying Ryan Saradjola-directed video that has amassed over 1.5 million views on YouTube since its release; “Truth Is,” which was included on the official FIFA ’19 soundtrack alongside tracks from Barns Courtney, Billie Eilish, Broods, Childish Gambino, Death Cab For Cutie, Gorillaz, Logic and more.

Stealth’s latest single, the Stevie Wonder meets Fela Kuti and The Africa 70-like “Black Heart” finds the up-and-coming British singer/songwriter collaborating with the world famous funk and soul band The Dap Kings. Centered around a strutting bass line, a sultry horn line that only a few backing bands can provide, a twinkling organ line and Stealth’s soulful vocals, the track is full of bitter recriminations and accusations towards a deceitful lover — and by the end the song is a proud tell off to the same lover.

“‘Black Heart’ is all about noticing the little things a person does before they break up with you. They are saying one thing but their black heart says another,” Stealth says in press notes. “Had the pleasure recording this with the Dap Kings over in NYC and it was a dream come true. Obviously heard them on Back to Black and I’ve been a huge fan of Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones who they also recorded and played with. To have the opportunity to meet and record with these living legends was unbelievable.”

The recently released video features behind-the-scenes footage of the Birmingham-based singer/songwriter beginning with Stealth heading to Daptone Records’ House of Soul Studios in Bushwick, Brooklyn — and jamming and recording with the world famous Dap Kings. Now, as some of you know, I’ve actually been to House of Soul Studios and you can practically feel the spirts of Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones in and around the property.