soul Archive

Album Review: Mavis Staples — We Get By

When it comes to African American roots music – for that matter, any American roots music at all – the Staples name is royalty. Led by Roebuck “Pops” Staples and wife Cleotha, the Staple Singers made music that did more than just transcend genres; it erased the divisions between them. The group’s anthemic, soul-stirring songs

Album Review: The New Mastersounds — Shake It

It may well not have been their explicit intention, but over the last two decades, the New Mastersounds have helped a strain of jazz to become mainstreamed into widespread popular culture. Jazz has always been there – at least for a hundred or so years – but with some important exceptions it’s enjoyed only a

Hundred Word Reviews for August 2019, Part Two

Ten more reviews. All new music, covered in the space of 100 words each. Jazzmeia Horn – Love & Liberation I love instrumental jazz, but I have to admit that vocal jazz resonates less strongly with me. Thus, you’ll find remarkably few reviews here that cover jazz vocalists. This is well worth an exception; very

Hundred-word Reviews for August 2019, Part One

It’s that time again: reviews of new music that passes the rigorous “smash or trash” competition happening periodically at my CD changer. Diplomats of Solid Sound — A Higher Place First off, let’s give credit where it’s due and acknowledge that Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are owed a debt for reintroducing soul to today’s

Can’t Stop Running: Todd Rundgren’s ‘Nearly Human’ at 30

Being a serious fan of Todd Rundgren isn’t always an easy path, but it’s a rewarding one. The wunderkind from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania started his musical career out in relatively conventional fashion – as guitarist for late ’60s proto-powerpop band Nazz – but even before he left that group, the depth and wide-encompassing nature of

Ryan RnB Barber: Persistence Pays Off

As recently as 2015, Ryan Barber was homeless. But through a combination of determination and talent, today the Asheville musician is realizing his life and music goals. The newest release from Ryan RnB Barber – today a ubiquitous presence in the Asheville music scene – is a solo album pointedly titled Rejuvenation. Backed by his

Album Review: Various Artists — Soul Explosion

There’s undeniable appeal in retrospective compilations. With the benefit of hindsight and historical context, compilers can curate a set of songs that displays the character of a given theme, be it a style of music, a genre, or a survey of a particular label’s output. Legendary Memphis label Stax has been the subject of quite

Moves: Movin’ On Up

More than a decade ago, guitarists Stephen Murray and Matt Martin launched their band, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, as a sort of hybrid between ragtime jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. Seven albums, two EPs and countless gigs later, the band looks much the same. But it sounds completely different. Reflecting that change, the band is

Even More Hundred-worders for May 2019

I’m determined to keep my backlog of music-for-review to a manageable size. Making that happen means that once again it’s time for ten of my quickie reviews. So off we go. These are all new or very recent titles of new music. Girls on Grass – Dirty Power I really like this record. Right off

Hundred-worders for May 2019

Here we go again, kids. If you’ve visited Musoscribe before, you likely know the drill: new albums worth your (and my) time, covered in the tidy space of precisely 100 words each. Proper Ornaments – 6 Lenins Here’s a nice one. With shades of Echo & the Bunnymen and the church, this London group makes