Tag: soul

Live Footage: Mavis Staples Performs “We Get By” on “CBS This Morning Saturday Sessions”

Over the past few years, I’ve written a bit about the legendary, Chicago-born singer, actress, and civil rights activist Mavis Staples and throughout a music career that has spanned over eight decades, several different genres and styles as a member of The Staple Singers and as a solo artist, Staples has had achieved commercial and critical success, as well as a proverbial boatload of accolades. Staples has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards with the Staples Singers, winning one — a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2004. She received a Grammy nod for a collaboration with Bob Dylan. And as a solo artist, she’s been nominated for five Grammys, winning two — Best Americana Album for 2010’s You Are Not Alone and a Best American Roots Performance for  2015’s”See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.” The legendary, Chicago-born vocalist has also been nominated for 11 Blues Music Awards, winning nine, including Album of the Year for 2004’s Have A Little Faith, which featured Song of the Year and album title track “Have A Little Faith.” She’s also won three Soul Blues Female Artist Awards — one in 2004 and back to back wins in 2017 and 2018. And let’s not forget that Mavis was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Staple Singers in 1999, was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2016 and inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Staples turns 80 next month — July 10, 2019 — and while many artists at her age and with her achievements would have understandably begun to slow down, the legendary vocalist has managed to be wildly prolific, releasing three, critically applauded albums in her late 70s with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Her latest album, the Ben Harper written and produced, We Get By was released by her longtime label home Anti- Records a few weeks ago, and as the legendary vocalist says in press notes, “When I first started reading the lyrics Ben wrote for me, I said to myself, ‘My God, he’s saying everything that needs to be said right now. But the songs were also true to my journey and the stories I’ve been singing all my life. There’s a spirituality and an honesty to Ben’s writing that took me back to church.”

“I come from a family of Mavis fans,” the multi-Grammy nominated and multi-Grammy winning Ben Harper explains in press notes, “so her music has been woven into the fabric of my life from the very start. When I got the call for this gig, it felt like my entire career, everything I’d ever written, had been pre-production for this.” 

The imitable Mavis Staples was recently on CBS This Morning’s Saturday Sessions where she and her backing band performed the uplifting album title track”We Get By.” Naturally, the track is what Staples has long specialized in: heartfelt, uplifting spirituals centered around lived-in experience — particularly, finding some way to survive in a difficult and uneasy world with your dignity, sanity and spiritual life intact. 

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New Audio: Daptone Records Release an All-Star Collaboration to Celebrate Their 100th 45RPM Single

The renowned indie soul label Daptone Records was founded back in 2001 when its founders, Gabriel Roth and Neal Sugarman wanted to build a new home for their bands’ respective releases after Desco Records folded. Shortly, after label’s founding, Roth, Sugarman, Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones and a collection of artists found an unassuming, beaten up, two family 19th Century brownstone in Bushwick, Brooklyn that would eventually become the home to their new label and their famed House of Soul Studios. And through the release of 50 full-length albums and about 100 singles on 45RPM, the Brooklyn-based soul label built a globally recognized reputation for its discerning tastes and uncompromising standards of quality, realizing exceptionally well-crafted and thoughtful soul records, made by a close family of musicians, who share a common musical philosophy, vocabulary and integrity. 

Since their formation, the label has sold over a million records from their roster of artists including JOVM mainstays Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, The Budos Band, Antibalas, Menahan Street Band, The Sugarman 3 and Naomi Shelton. Although many of the label’s artists have never quite achieved mainstream pop status, the label’s roster have managed to influence artists and labels around the world, including the likes of Amy Winehouse, who worked with The Dap Kings on her seminal album Back to Black, as well as Mark Ronson and Jay-Z, who have tapped the label’s sound for some of their biggest hits. 

Daptone’s 100th 45RPM release is slated for a June 28, 2019 release. And interestingly, the  A-side single “Hey Brother,” which is credited to the Daptone Family features a a historic and unprecedented collaboration of the label’s roster of incredible talent, including the late and beloved monarchs of the soul, Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones, as well as Saun & Starr, The Frightnrs, James Hunter, Naomi Shelton, Amayo and Lee Fields performing together for the first and only time on record. The single finds each of those artists singing a powerful and much-needed message of righteousness and brotherhood over a What’s Going On Marvin Gaye-era like groove played by members of The Dap Kings and Menahan Street Band. 

Written and recorded by The Frightnrs, “Hey Brother (Do Unto Others)” initially appeared on their acclaimed full-length debut, Nothing More to Say. With the band’s Dan Klein tragic death from ALS just before the album’s release, the label and its artists felt it would be both a thank you to the label’s deeply devoted fans and a fitting tribute to Klein to re-imagine the track as a soulful, All-Star team-like collaboration. Sadly, in the aftermath of the deaths of Charles Bradley, Dan Klein, Cliff Driver and Sharon Jones, the single has become a meditative and loving tribute to all of the artists they’ve lost in a tremendously short period of time. 

“Everybody seemed to really love the idea of being together on a record like that,” Gabriel Roth recently told Billboard. “Every one of those singers that I asked, after I explained what we were trying to do. they really jumped through hoops to try to make it happen.” 

New Video: Marta Ren and The Groovelets Release a Sleek and Gorgeously Shot Visual for Psych Soul Barnburner “Worth It”

In her native Portugal, the Porto-born and-based vocalist Marta Ren has been a part of the country’s music scene since the mid 1990s and she may be best known for her stint as the frontwoman of the acclaimed breakbeat outfit The Bombazines with whom she recorded and released two full-length albums — and for contributing her vocals to a number of nationally known acts. Interestingly, Ren has long been inspired by the funk and soul sounds of the 60s and over the last few years, the Porto-born and-based vocalist decided it was time to step out into the spotlight with her own soul and funk project, under her name. She eventually hooked up with her backing band The Groovelets, with whom she released her critically praised, attention-grabbing debut Stop Look Listen, an effort that received airplay from BBC Radio 6′s Craig Charles and Radio France‘s Francis Viel.

Building upon a growing international profile, Ren and her Groovelets played across Europe to support her critically acclaimed debut effort, including the Trans Musicales Festival, Sziget Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag and Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul Festival. Interestingly, the strutting, Emre Ramazanoglu-produced “Worth It,” is the first batch of material from the Portuguese soulstress in a couple of years — and reportedly, it’s the first taste from her highly-anticipated sophomore album, slated for an early 2020 release through Record Kicks. And while retaining elements of the classic 60s soul that first caught the attention of this site and elsewhere, Ren an The Groovelets’ latest single is a sultry, slow-burning and cinematic track that finds their sound nodding at psych-tinged soul that finds Ren taking names and kicking ass with stomping aplomb.

Directed by Pedro Coquenão and Vasco Mendes, the recently released video for “Worth It” is set in an empty yet gorgeous and opulent, old theater and focuses on a broken-hearted Ren, getting herself ready to perform. And at points, the video has Ren as a larger-than-life, force of nature. 

In her native Portugal, the Porto-born and-based vocalist Marta Ren has been a part of the country’s music scene since the mid 1990s and she may be best known for her stint as the frontwoman of the acclaimed breakbeat outfit The Bombazines with whom she recorded and released two full-length albums — and for contributing her vocals to a number of nationally known acts. Interestingly, Ren has long been inspired by the funk and soul sounds of the 60s and over the last few years, the Porto-born and-based vocalist decided it was time to step out into the spotlight with her own soul and funk project, under her name. She eventually hooked up with her backing band The Groovelets, with whom she released her critically praised, attention-grabbing debut Stop Look Listen, an effort that received airplay from BBC Radio 6′s Craig Charles and Radio France‘s Francis Viel.

Building upon a growing international profile, Ren and her Groovelets played across Europe to support her critically acclaimed debut effort, including the Trans Musicales Festival, Sziget Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag and Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul Festival. Interestingly, the strutting, Emre Ramazanoglu-produced “Worth It,” is the first batch of material from the Portuguese soulstress in a couple of years — and reportedly, it’s the first taste from her highly-anticipated sophomore album, slated for an early 2020 release through Record Kicks. And while retaining elements of the classic 60s soul that first caught the attention of this site and elsewhere, Ren an The Groovelets’ latest single is a sultry, slow-burning and cinematic track that finds their sound nodding at psych-tinged soul that finds Ren taking names and kicking ass with stomping aplomb.

 

 

 

 

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. 

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 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.