Thursday, 23 August 2018 18:34 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

alt'The Truth' is the latest album from Japanese soul singer, NAO YOSHIOKA. Ms Yoshioka describes herself as a "progressive soul-singer" and working in the States, she's convinced plenty of tastemakers that what the Americans can do, Nao can do just as well... if not better! Proof? Well, she was runner-up at the legendary Amateur Night at the Apollo and has worked with people like Eric Roberson, Lalah Hathaway, Nathan East, Gordon Chambers, Candy Dulfer and Marcus Miller.

She debuted in 2012 with the single 'Make The Change' which was followed by the 2015 long player 'The Light'. Those records won Ms Y plenty of accolades and 'The Truth' (her third album) is set to maintain the momentum.

The 11 tracker (on which she worked with Emmy winner Khari Marteen .... CV includes work with The Roots and Jill Scott) certainly fits into the "progressive soul" category. With mostly electronic instrumentation, the soundscape and approach are both quirky and never less than intriguing. For instance the album "outro" doesn't come at the end. It's followed by two more tracks. Neo soul? Nu soul? call it what you will.... but there's plenty of "proper" modern soul here and though Ms Yoshioka's heritage and pedigree might not be that of the classic soul diva, that category fits her like a glove!

'The Truth' offers plenty to please all soul fans. Let's start with 'Beautiful Imperfections' - a tight and neat beater that modern soul DJs and their floor followers will delight in. If ballads are your thing, try 'Freedom And Sound' – quirky but lovely and 'I Love When' – sensuous and slinky. 'Spark' and the fresh James Poyser remix of 'Make The Change' are two more album highlights and sure, this isn't "classic" soul but think Minnie Riperton, Macy Gray and/or a young Jill Scott and you'll start to see where Nao's coming from.


Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2018 18:43



Thursday, 23 August 2018 18:32 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altSmooth soul muso/entrepreneur PRESTON GLASS is all set to unleash his latest project – a new 'Duets' album on which he pairs teams of vocalists on some great (mainly) romantic songs.

The lead single has just been released and it features a legendary soul heroine... BRENDA LEE EAGER. We haven't heard from the 'Ain't Understanding Mellow' lady for a while but she still sounds convincing on the sweet 'Always On The Lookout For Love'. Her duet partner is Las Vegas showman GRADY HARRELL and his gruff approach is a perfect counterbalance to Brenda's honeyed tones.

The song was written by Preston Glass along with soul veteran David Nathan and is available on David's outlet.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2018 18:45



Thursday, 23 August 2018 08:28 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altSoul man DANNY PEARSON died on Friday 17th August. Best known for the hit 'What's Your Sign Girl', Danny was 65 and had been suffering with cancer of the liver. He died in his hometown of Stonewall, Mississippi.

Danny Pearson began his career as part of family group, Danny & Company but while still in his teens he was signed by Barry White; in fact he was the first solo act on White's Unlimited Gold label. His first single was the '78 outing 'What's Your Sign Girl' - a "zodiac song" in much the same vein as the Floaters' 'Float On' – and it was an instant hit. It was the lead track on Pearson's sole album, 'Barry White Presents Mr. Danny Pearson'. Sadly the follow up 'Is It Really True Girl' flopped and White quickly dropped Pearson from his roster.

Danny Pearson stayed in the business, working latterly out of Mississippi and sources suggest that he was currently working on a comeback album.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2018 08:33



Wednesday, 22 August 2018 14:17 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                                 altThe death of Motown guitar legend, Eddie 'Chank' Willis, at the age of 82, was announced on Monday August 20 by his family. According to his daughter, Terez Willis, the Mississippi-born fretboard master succumbed to complications resulting from polio he contracted as a child.

A stalwart of Motown's fabled Funk Brothers session crew (whose identities were kept under wraps for many years to prevent them being hired by other record labels), Willis played on myriad sessions for Berry Gordy's iconic Detroit label in the 1960s and '70s. The records he played on ranged from The Marvelettes 'Please Mister Postman' to 'You Keep Me Hanging On' by The Supremes and Stevie Wonder's 'I Was Made To Love Her.'

More recently, Willis, who was born in Grenada, Mississippi, on June 3rd 1936, appeared on Phil Collins' 2010 album, 'Going Back,' which paid homage to the Motown sound

EDDIE WILLIS  1936-2018

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2018 07:27


Guest cameos from Norah Jones and Eric Clapton on new DOYLE BRAMHALL II album...

Tuesday, 21 August 2018 06:52 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                                            altTexas troubadour, Doyle Bramhall II, who impressed as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter, on his last long player, 'Rich Man,' in 2017 returns on the Provogue/Mascot label with a new album, 'Shades.'

A 12-track meld of blues, soul, rock, Americana, and even psychedelic flavours, 'Shades' features a stunning supporting cast led by blues guitar maven, Eric Clapton, jazz songstress Norah Jones, the Tedeschi Trucks Band and also includes an appearance from fellow Texans, the Greyhounds.

Eric Clapton appears alongside Bramhall on the soulful mid-tempo cut, 'Everything You Need,'  while Norah Jones lends her dulcet tones on the duet, 'Searching For Love,' a slow, pleading blues ballad peppered with piquant guitar and organ.  

Until the recent 'Rich Man' LP, Bramhall hadn't made an album under his own name for fifteen years. Now, though, with 'Shades' under his belt, this seasoned sideman is enjoying being a solo artists again. “The new record finally feels like I’m comfortable in my own skin, like I don’t have anything to prove other than trying to express myself as honestly as I can," he says. "As an artist, writer and producer, I’m in a good place, and I think I can allow this flow of music to come out and form a real body of work that my fans can appreciate. I’m thrilled to have them go on this journey with me.”

'Shades' is released on October 5th on Provogue/Mascot.

Read SJF's 2017 interview with Doyle Bramhall II here:



Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2018 07:31


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