Album Review: Dave Keller — Soul Changes
Preconceptions can be a dangerous thing. When I read the advances of Dave Keller‘s Soul Changes, I made the assumption that Keller would be the latest vocalist in a Memphis-flavored retro bag. And while he is in fact that, he’s much more. Taking nothing away from the fine singers who don’t play an instrument onstage – Charles Bradley comes to mind – Keller offers a bit more on Soul Changes. Yes, he sings in a searing, soulful style, but he also rips it up on bluesy electric guitar.
With stellar backing on the first half of the album by the Hi Rhythm Section plus Stax veterans Bobby Manuel (guitar) and Lester Snell (keyboards), Keller turns in performances that compare favorably to Boz Scaggs‘ self-titled 1969 Muscle Shoals foray. And the second half of the disc (cut in Brooklyn) features backing by The Revelations, an NYC band who truly get the whole soul vibe. The songs on Soul Changes deal with the dissolution of Keller’s marriage (“17 Years,” for example) and he successfully channels pain and despair into a album that’s visceral and emotionally charged throughout. The album was nominated for a 2014 Blues Music Award. Recommended.
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About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.