Reviews from SoulTracks on Sun Music are the highly rated music releases by artists played on the 24/7 and On-Demand streams.
|Cecile McLorin Salvant - The Window
The list of jazz luminaries impressed by Cecile McLorin Salvant’s talent is itself impressive. They include Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Wynton Marsalis, Patti Austin, Dianne Reeves and the late Al Jurreau. Salvant impressed the Grammy voters enough to land three nominations and twice carry home the golden gramophone.
Salvant could be described as a jazz singer who primarily interprets the standard songbook, as well as adding original material. However, the four works that she released prior to the soon to be released project, The Window, are distinct. Cecile, her 2010 debut released after she wowed the critics and professional artists alike at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, served as Salvant’s introduction to the larger music world, and she displayed the type of range and phrasing to her interpretation to selections from the songbook canon that drew comparisons to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan that continue to this day. Read more...
|Raheem DeVaughn: Decade of a Love King
Raheem DeVaughn loyalists are used to waiting out extended periods of time for new music from the multifaceted artist. Despite his vocal suppleness, his music is often just edgy enough that it can’t be snugly fit into broad-strokes mass marketing campaigns. After all, nearly two years passed between the release of his first single, 2003’s “Until,” and the unveiling of its parent album, 2005’s The Love Experience. Since parting ways with Jive Records shortly after 2010’s underexposed The Love & War Masterpeace, he has kept the musical well running respectably with several independent albums, as well as a handful of online mixtapes.
Arriving three years after the impressive Love Sex Passion, DeVaughn’s sixth full-length CD, Decade of a Love King, rises to the occasion with a focused and well-balanced brew of sensually minded slow jams. Read more...
|Kandace Springs - Indigo
Be true to yourself. Kandace Springs said that she got that good advice from two important legendary musicians and major influences on her life: One was a father, Scat Springs, who has carved out a reputation as a sought after backing vocalist and highly regarded band leader and soul singer in a town best known for county music. The patriarch of the Springs family, who is recovering from a stroke suffered in 2017, is a soul music legend in Nashville. Of course, you can’t be an artist in Music City and not be a little bit rock and country as well, and the Scat Springs set list, which runs at least a couple of hundred songs deep, includes some country and rock numbers.
Springs also got the same advice Prince, who connected with Springs after hearing a recording of her cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.” His Royal Badness was impressive enough to invite Springs to Paisley Park to perform at events commemorating the 30th anniversary of the release of the Purple Rain album.
Prince became a friend and advisor, and the advice to be true to herself came as Springs worked on what would be her highly regarded debut album, Soul Eyes. Unfortunately, Soul Eyes dropped after Prince died in April 2016, but those words from Scat Spring and Prince continue to influence Spring’s work on Indigo, her latest recording. Read more...
|Conya Doss - CLEAR
It’s amazing when any artist can consistently make albums over a nearly two-decade period and not have any interruptions. That goes doubly true for independent artists such as Cleveland’s Conya Doss. And that’s not to imply that an interruption means that something bad happened.
Life happening can be enough to result in the three- or four-year hiatus that Doss never takes. She’s dropped a project filled with original music on a nearly biennial basis since her 2002 debut A Poem About Ms. Doss and that includes her latest project, CLEAR. Doss achieved this while working as a teacher in the Cleveland schools and being a parent herself. Read more...
|Tamia - Passion Like Fire
If it is your life's philosophy that real love feels like the 90s-era, then you already know about Tamia. As an unofficial member of that generation's 'One-Name Diva Squad' (Brandy, Monica, Toni, Chante' and Deborah), what she's got in common with her peers is also what's kept her in the mix the last two decades: the ability to sang.
Her return from a six-year hiatus in recording, 2012's Beautiful Surprise, earned a pair of Grammy noms and a deal with Def Jam, the label from which she released 2015's superbly-nuanced Love Life. Her seventh CD and latest release, Passion Like Fire, doesn't have the same feel as Love, but still demonstrates the lyrical depth, vocal range and uniquely sweet, saucy that keeps her in demand and a part of the post-90's mix. Read more...
|Anthony David - Hello Like Before
Anthony David would rank high among the artists whom fans would want to explore the Bill Withers songbook. The two soulful singer/songwriters have a few things in common: Both are great guitarists and lyricists who have a penchant for crafting stories and using songs to create memorable characters. David and Withers are also military veterans.
So, it’s not surprising that Hello Like Before, David’s heartfelt and faithful tribute to the music of Bill Withers, includes a version of “I Can’t Write Left-Handed.” David doesn’t stray too far from Withers’ classic version of this Vietnam era tune about the micro-level cost of war, right down to the dirge-like hums from the backing vocalists. What distinguishes David’s version is the personal touch that he gives to the monolog that opens the tune. Withers wrote this song in 1973, and recorded it around the time that America’s military role in Southeast Asia was coming to an end. Withers introduced “I Can’t Write Left-Handed” by telling the now famous story his encounter with the veteran who asked him to write a letter to his mother because the man’s right arm had been amputated. Read more...
|Jeffrey Osborne - Worth It All
Five decades into a genre-crossing career, Jeffrey Osborne offers his first album of original material in 15 years on Worth It All. The richly deep-toned vocalist started out on the drum set during his teenage years, but by the time he joined then-simmering soul outfit L.T.D. in the early ‘70s, the way was paved for his dynamic pipes to shine on.
The six-year recording period which saw him lead the band’s classics “Love Ballad,” “Back in Love Again,” “Holding On,” and “Never Get Enough of Your Love” to the upper reaches of the R&B charts was followed by nearly a decade’s worth of solo hits spanning both soaring ballads (“On the Wings of Love,” “You Should Be Mine,” “Only Human”) and contagious uptempo anthems (“Stay with Me Tonight,” “Don’t You Get So Mad,” “She’s on the Left”). Read more...