Your Sunday iPod add: Tony Momrelle’s Soul From Across the Pond

momrelle1Welcome to your iPod add.

Today I’m going to introduce you to that new soulful voice you’ve been looking for for some time now.  He’s singer songwriter, Tony Momrelle! He has been laying down amazing groove oriented soul from across the pond for years.  Sorry, your favorite terrestrial radio station may be clueless to who he is and thus will never air his talent in any rotation. Their loss! Momrelle is a talent who has for years been the lead vocalist for the flat out bad ass British band Incognito; a featured vocalist for the dance and smooth grooves group Reel People; as well as a backing vocalist for my girl, Sade. Yep!

Momerelle with Sade

Momerelle with Sade

Momrelle’s Extended Play (EP) titled Fly was release almost a year ago and is still kickin’ today. The standout tracks are the eponymous “Fly”–an up tempo jam with a James Brown “funky drummer” shuffle rhythm which opens up a vast space where Momrelle demonstrates bright flashes of the vocal stylings of Stevie Wonder.  His lyrics are both simple and fantastically poetic.  Upon listening to the song, SoulBounce writer Ivory, stated, “Hope and happiness seem just within reach on this joint” and imagined through the lyrics “getting away from it all could be so simple.”  While his second track Spotlight spins a tale of meeting that special someone amid a crowd of people.  This cut finds Momrelle’s voice settled deep in the soul aesthetic surrounded by a driving groove.

This is Tony Momrelle Ladies and Gentlemen! Take a listen and know this is the soulful voice you been looking for. Add some Momrelle to your iPod and you will thank me later!

Check out “Fly”

Check out “Spotlight”

Your Sunday iPod add: Zo!’s ManMade . . . it’s not too late!

zo albumWelcome to your Sunday iPod add.

For a few weeks now I have shared some of my favorite neo soul and jazz artist in an effort to reveal what I call good music–part of my endeavor to listen to good music this year. So far I’ve only shared female artists who embody the elements of what I call good music.  Exposed in my search for good music, I’ve found female soul artists are simply more abundant and fill every nook and cranny of the soul genre.  But the Men are not lost in this crowd.

With that being said we switch gender.  Below is the first of many men to follow who are deeply committed to creating various styles of good music from soul to R&B to jazz.

Lorenzo Ferguson, better known as Zo! to his fans, latest album ManMade was released a year ago and is a shining example of well thought out fun and conscious soul.  Zo!, who hails from the Foreign Exchange (+FE) camp of talented singers, songwriters, and musicians, has orchestrated, as usual, a great collaborative effort.  Zo! recorded this album with familiar, amazing and capable voices like underground neo-soul artist-soon-to-be-legend Gwen Bunn on bouncy cut “Count To Five”; Erro Soul himself: Eric Roberson on the retro 80s jam “We Are On The Move; and duets by Choklate with Phonte (“Making Time”) and Anthony David with Carmen Rogers (“Show Me The Way”) bang out some awesomeness that you must to hear.

zo!!Overall the album is couched in the modernity of astutely assembled soul.  It fills the genre of “synth soul.” Zo!’s release is polished yet grooves in a raw organic way.  The music and lyrics are straightforward and positive. They have substance! Also Zo! has a talent for crafting strong and catchy choruses, which make the album highly listenable from beginning to end.

Enough said! If you are craving some good modern soul to make your head bop and you weren’t sure where to look for it, here it is! Take a listen and enjoy it’s not too late!

Add Zo!’s ManMade to your iPod.  You will thank me later!

Your Sunday iPod Add: My Mother’s Favorite Songs!

Music Angel 2 by Charles Bibbs

Music Angel 2 by Charles Bibbs

Welcome to your very special Sunday iPod add.  Today is Mother’s Day—a special day we set aside to acknowledge the awesomeness of our mothers and profess our unwavering love we have for them.  Recently NBA star Kevin Durant at his MVP press conference, acknowledged his mother as he spoke greatly about her and ultimately, amid tears, proclaimed her as the ‘real’ MVP for loving and caring for him and his siblings with meager means for years. Mothers are special!

Our mothers are indeed special and become even more special when we begin to assess their favorite song and ascertain why the song is special to them at all. Songs are meaningful and certain songs hold particular capital with our mothers.  Their favorite songs are revealing in that they give us a wonderful glimpse into the person, character, and women that is our mother.  It’s an amazing sight to watch your mother sing or dance to her favorite song.  Yep mothers are special!

Personally it’s been more than ten years since I’ve seen my mother wrapped up in the melody of her favorite song.  Today I hold fond memories of her singing and listening to her favorite music. My mother’s musical taste was eclectic.  It spanned the genres of classic Motown, country to folk to funk and R&B.  Each genre of music resonated with her.  Each song brought out her personality and character.  My mother’s favorite songs musically narrated special moments in her life.  These songs continue to happily remind me of the life she lived.

This Mother’s Day get to know your mother’s favorite song/songs and hold on to them.

Here are a few of my mother’s favorite songs from an era that held special meaning for her. You may want to add these songs or your mother’s favorite songs to your iPod—you might thank me later.

Your Sunday iPod add: Cécile McLorin Salvant and Zara McFarlane are the new wave of Jazz

Welcome to your new iPod add.

salvant

Cécile McLorin Salvant

This is a two for one iPod add. Oh snap! There are several jazz vocalists who are part of the exciting new wave of artists in the jazz genre.  Vocalist such as Gregory Porter and José James, just to name a few, are definitely members of the new wave.  To be sure, Miami born pianist, singer, songwriter Cécile McLorin Salvant and London born singer, songwriter musician Zara McFarlane are emerging movers and shakers in the genre.

Zara McFarlane

Zara McFarlane

Salvant and McFarlane share Caribbean roots and have attained European music training over the past few years, which in a sense makes them truly international. Together they contribute to the wonderful world of jazz in terms of their skill, sincere performances, and honest lyrics that speak of their life’s journey thus far.

I’m ecstatic to have added Salvant’s Womanchild, (2013) and McFarlane’s If You Knew Her, (2014) to my collection.  This week double up your jazz and add these fine ladies to your iPod! You will thank me later!

Listen and enjoy:

Your Sunday iPod Add: Valerie June and Organic Moonshine Roots Music

val 1When Tennessee born, guitarist, singer, and songwriter Valerie June is asked about the type of music she plays she simply responds by saying “it’s Organic Moonshine Roots Music!” Of course it is! Valerie June writes and records music reminiscent of the serendipitous Seeger family re-discovery, Elizabeth Cotton. Cotton was indeed one of the many progenitors of turn of early century guitar based root blues and gospel music of the South. June easily fits in that genre with a little soul, country and R&B added in the mix. Her latest and first studio produced album Pushin’ Against A Stone (2013) is a grand example of her stated style of music–Organic Moonshine Roots Music (OMRM). Co-Produced by Dan Auerbach of the awesome Black Keys and features legendary artist Booker T. Jones (Booker T. & The M.G.’s), this album is entirely grooving down a decidedly different road–a respite excursion from any terrestrial radio today. For me, it hits the spot on my quest of listening to good music this year!

June’s album features the song “You Can’t Be Told”. This is a bold and catchy mid tempo song that will make one hum its chorus long after the song has ended. It begins with a crunchy and gritty guitar riff as well as handclaps that keep the listener (well the indoctrinated listener) rooted in raw Southern gospel. val 2This establishes the chorus. You are instantly hooked! Junes voice, piercing and shinny, slides in to the verse to sustain the songs momentum. She soon takes a guitar solo that is skillful and compelling. This joint is rockin’!

Also not to be missed on June’s album are “Workin’ Woman Blues” and “Somebody To Love”. Yes I’m enjoying Valerie June’s OMRM! Add Valerie June’s “You Can’t Be Told” to your iPod and you will thank me later!

 

Check out June’s video for “You Can’t Be Told” and an awesome interview below:

Your Sunday iPod Add: Leela James is giving it to you!

Artist: Leela JamesWelcome to your iPod add.

Ever since I first heard artist, singer, songwriter, and soon to be reality T.V. star Leela James belt out a song I was hooked. James’ voice oozed a soulful and funky consistency that reminded me of more than a few of the best soul singers some decades ago. Her raw classic voice, when she first arrived on the music scene, was a welcome sound to my ears in 2005. Her first album A Change is Gonna Come was her own personal statement that her voice and her style of music (classic soul) was relevant and certainly need amid the pop music muck. In short, James was about the work of regenerating and maintaining classic American soul.

A few weeks ago, after reading one of my posts, a friend of mine (A.K.A. my soul brotha from anotha motha like no otha) asked me if I listened to Leela James as her music is a new discovery for him. I proclaimed in the affirmative and was immediately flooded with the memory of her music. Of course I binged on her music for the next few days.

Listening to James I was reminded of her determination to preserve soul music. She sings with a feeling and sincerity and a mission to make good music. Leela james 2She carries with her the vocal and attitudinal influence of luminaries such as Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, and Mavis Staples to contemporary artists such as Jill Scott, Ledisi, Musiq, and Anthony Hamilton. James’ mission can be heard on all her albums from A Change is Gonna Come (her statement piece) to Let’s Do It Again (2009) (a celebration of soul and a little funk music of the 70s), to My Soul (2010) (her highest charting album), to finally Loving You More . . . In The Spirit of Etta James (2012) (which she dedicated to the memory of Etta James and her music).

Today Leela James is hard at work recording good music. At the moment James is working on a new album and has recently released a duet with fellow soul artist Anthony Hamilton called “Say That” and “Fall For You”-a nice soulful ballad that trumps anything you heard on the radio lately. [Listen Below]

Do yourself a favor and add Leela James to your iPod and binge on some excellent heartfelt soul . . . you will thank me later!

Your Sunday iPod Add: Joya Mooi. She’s all that!

Photo by Atlynn Vrolijk

Photo by Atlynn Vrolijk

Welcome to your Sunday iPod add.

I believe I make a decent effort to broaden my music listening experience from a global perspective. The entire world makes music. For me listening to music has become much more rewarding as I venture beyond the boarder of the U.S. and enter into international spaces. Although, at times, I am limited by language in terms of fully understanding the content of song, the music still speaks for itself. However, until I am able to understand more languages, I tend to gravitate toward artists who sing in English.

I’m so glad I came across the vocally well-schooled and former saxophonist Joya Mooi. Mooi is one of many great Afro-Dutch artists hailing from the Netherlands. Her latest album Crystal Growth finds Mooi fully immersed in the African-American jazz and neo-soul genres. Recorded with live instrumentation with a capable band the music draws the listener in to feel the what’s being played. Well, for me it does.

As you know I dig great voices. Mooi’s voice for me is hard to describe without getting it perfect. I fear I may miss the nuances that make her voice unique. Mooi’s voice has been described as “one of those crystalline voices that just leave you wanting for more” by Miss Awa’s Blog and in terms of her latest single “Way of Life” she has “effortless vocals” as mentioned by Ivory at SoulBounce, noting her ease and mastery in the genre. When pressed, ultimately, I describe her voice as boldly tender and humble. Her music is listenable. Her lyrics tell a story. Her singles “Beyond of You” and the up-tempo “Way of Life” are wonderful pieces of jazz and soul. However, her (not released as a single, yet) slow burner “Out of Love” evokes the feel of Billie Holiday (yes I said it!) in it’s pace and rhythm and Mooi and the band give it time to develop and breath. Yep, it is a must listen.Mooi 2 Joya Mooi is an amazing artist who understands and interprets the African-American genre well with a voice you need to hear. Add any one of her songs or her album to your iPod. You will thank me later. Check out Joya Mooi previous album Hard Melk, too! Listen to “Way of Life” and “Out of Love” below:

Your Sunday iPod Add: Latasha Lee & the Blackties is good music!

latasha-lee-and-the-black-ties-picWelcome back to your Sunday iPod add. It’s been a minute so let’s get to it!  This year I have really made an effort only to listen to what I deem as good music. Music with lyrics that actually move beyond the sophomoric and say something or at the very least try to say something; music that sonically takes you on a ride by consciously utilizing verse, chorus, and bridge; musicians whom know how to employ most of the following: the turnaround, refrain, and tag; Oh and unique, sincere, and talented voices are indeed a necessity for creating good music. So for me listening to over the air radio is a poor option­–at least in my neck of the woods. In this endeavor I have been relegated to listening to various Internet radio stations–which if you find the right station can be a dream come true.

Thus far I have found some amazing jazz, blues, 60s and 70s era stations, and even Latin jazz stations that kill.  But what I have found myself gravitating to the most are so called underground neo soul music stations.  In other words newly recorded soul music by individuals who strive to retain elements of authentic soul.  A couple of stations use the terms contemporary soul and organic soul to help explain their content.  However it’s all music with groove, feeling, and mature lyrics. Think Aretha, Marvin, Chaka, Stevie, Gladys, Donny and Roberta.  Good music, right?

Anyway, in my search for good music I’ve come across some amazing artists who are skillful songwriters, musicians, and singers that I would like to share with you.

That being said let me introduce you to Latasha Lee & the Blackties.  What an awesome band!  Comparable to Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Lee and the Blackties are contemporary artists who combine both the musical precision of Motown and the gritty-ness of Stax with ease.   Lead singer Lee, whom was born and bred in Corpus Christi, Texas, has a noticeably strong yet nimble voice.  I was taken back on first listen because her voice emitted the timbre of the late Amy Winehouse.  Blogger E. of Music Nerdery notice this fact a year ago and stated, “It’s almost uncanny to a certain extent. She’s not TRYING to sound like Amy…. she just… does.Austin City Limits Music Fest web site also chimed in on Lee’s voice after a great performance at the event a few months ago, the site wrote Lee’s “soulful voice cuts cleanly and crisply through the genre clutter with a groove that slices directly to the heart with honest power.” Yep!

Certainly Latasha Lee & The Blackties, who have been together for a little over a year and a half and recently graced the stages of SXSW, are unpretentiously reviving classic 60s doo wop.  Their self-titled album Latasha Lee & the Blackties is a pleasure to listen to, which you need to add to you iPod. It’s good music. I do believe you will thank me later.

Your Sunday iPod add: Michael Kiwanuka: Raw Soul Folk

Here is your Sunday iPod add . . . any song form Michael Kiwanuka’s debut album Home Again.  For months now I have seen Kiwanuka’s face on the sidebar of my facebook page staring at me suggesting I should click on his image to hear his new music.  I’ve also seen his image on the bottom of my iTunes in a star-studded line up of what other listeners bought.  For months I have pass over his image and move on the next artist that caught my interest.

Well, today, after church and my daughter’s long rehearsal for a play, I headed home and I logged on.  There he was Michael Kiwanuka staring at me.  While eating my corndog I clicked on his image.  Wow! What took me so long to do this? What was I waiting for? Kiwanuka’s music combined the essential elements of acoustic soul and folk in the best way.  My musical taste are admittedly broad so, I listen to just about anything (I merely talk about the soul I listen to on this blog) and it’s been a quite along time since I’ve listen to some good contemporary acoustic folk music, rather, acoustic soul folk music.

I listened to a few of his songs and videos on youtube with amazement.  Kiwanuka, a 25 year old Brit with roots in Uganda has manage to capture a unique musical rawness of a generation and a half ago.  A recent USA Today article described his music as “warm and familiar as Sunday morning” and make sensible vocal comparisons to “Otis Redding” and “Bill Withers.”  However, I’ll take it a step further and easily compare him to the likes of badass guitar slingers and song poets such as Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and Richie Havens without reservation. He’s that good! His music is soulful and righteously folk yet contain just enough blues to elicit a mystical wonder that conjures images of deals being made at a Mississippi crossroads.

Listen to Michael Kiwanuka! Don’t sleep on MK! Don’t be like me and pass on him.

Add his album to your iPod and you will thank me later.

Check his videos below:

You gotta check out his version of Hendrix’s “Waterfall”

Your Sunday iPod Add: (You Caught Me) Smiling!

Everyone loves a great sincere smile.  A smile is a simple action that is free; it cost nothing to give or receive.

Someone once said this about a smile:

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.

Maya Angelou

But you’re so busy changing the world; just one smile can change all of mine.

Jack Johnson

Children show me in their playful smiles the divine in everyone.

Michael Jackson

Peace begins with a smile . . .

Mother Teresa

You caught me smiling, again!

Sly and The Family Stone

Here is your Sunday iPod add. Enjoy . . . and smile! You’ll thank me later.