soul Archive

Hundred-word Reviews for July 2016, Part 4

Genre-wise, I’m all over the map today with the next five of my quick reviews. Shannon Labrie – War & Peace On her second album, Labrie applies her strong and expressive vocals to quality material. The album title suggests something weighty and expansive, but unlike Leo Tolstoy‘s 1869 novel, it’s a warm and inviting collection

Hundred-word Reviews for July 2016, Part 2

More quick reviews. Some good’uns in this batch, including titles from the always-reliable Omnivore Recordings. Brian Cullman – The Opposite of Time Moody and atmospheric are the first two adjectives that come to mind when spinning The Opposite of Time, the second solo album from Cullman. His day job is as music journalist; that explains

Hundred-word Reviews for July 2016, Part 1

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans. Today kicks off another of my occasional week-long extravaganzas in which I post five reviews each business day, each exactly 100 words. Some of the artists will be well-known; others obscure and/or bubbling under. All (save maybe one or two out of the total 25) are well worth

The Bo-Keys: Today’s New School of Old-school (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… Bo-Keys producer/bandleader Scott Bomar says that the bulk of the work on Heartaches by the Number took the form of pre-production. “I spent well over a year compiling songs – covers and originals – for the record,” Bomar says. The result is a rich collection of weepers: crying-in-your-beer tunes, all given

The Bo-Keys: Today’s New School of Old-school (Part 1)

One of the most intriguing album releases of this year doesn’t sound like a new record, not at all. Recorded in Memphis, Tennessee and featuring veteran musicians from the city’s rich musical history, The Bo-Keys‘ Heartaches by the Number (Omnivore Recordings) builds upon classic songwriting and like-minded original tunes to create a timeless recording. But

The Digs: Travel to the Beat of a Different Drum

“We’re pulling from a lot of places at once, trying to create our own thing,” says Ram Mandelkorn, guitarist and songwriter for Asheville-based soul/jazz/funk outfit The Digs. “And we’re getting closer to it.” The instrumental group features a unique lineup: guitar plus a keyboardist who plays bass lines with his left hand, and a rotating

Album Mini-review: Mayer Hawthorne — Man About Town

File next to: Marvin Gaye, The Dramatics, Fitz and the Tantrums On his 2009 debut, Detroiter Mayer Hawthorne showed just how developed an artist he was; that album – wholly realized on a laptop – was an effective pastiche of classic soul and r&b. The highlight of Hawthorne’s résumé up to that point was his

Album Mini-review: Janiva Magness — Love Wins Again

File next to: Bonnie Raitt, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Shemekia Copeland Though she’s been making albums for decades now, blues vocal powerhouse Janiva Magness was initially an interpreter of other composers’ music. It’s only been in recent years that the seven-time recipient of Contemporary Blues Female Artist award has turned her attention to the task of

The New Mastersounds Schedule Residency at Brooklyn Bowl

Dynamic funk/jazz fusion quartet The New Mastersounds recently came to Brooklyn Bowl for a three-day, four-show residency April 14-16. The group, founded in 1999 in Leeds, England, has been doing an extended series of shows in Brooklyn annually for awhile now, says guitarist Eddie Roberts. “We’ve been playing at the Brooklyn Bowl for years. We

Blues Vocalist Janiva Magness Opens Up on ‘Love Wins Again’

Though award-winning blues vocalist Janiva Magness has recorded a dozen albums to date (her latest, Love Wins Again, was released April 8), she came to songwriting long after her career began. “I did not want to be a writer,” she says. “It made me nervous; I didn’t like the idea. I wanted that idea to