Friday, 27 April 2018 11:55 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altProving that the concept of the "concept album" is alive and well, Vancouver-based musician KHARI WENDELL McCLELLAND has just released a moving 7 track song cycle, 'Freedom Singer'.

The album, released on Afterlife Music, is a stirring celebration of black history. Fusing folk music, country, gospel, hip-hop and soul, McClelland interprets a set of traditional and gospel songs that highlight the plight and journey of North America's Afro/American communities.

The project was inspired when McClelland discovered that his great-great-great grandmother, Kizzy had escaped slavery via the Canadian Underground railway. He went on to research the songs that might have accompanied her on her epic journey. The work then became a touring stage show and now, logically, an album.

Helping Khari deliver his concept is a team of top players and no less than 8 vocalists including Tonye Aganaba, Kristie McCracken and Will Sanders.

Amongst the tunes are the emotion-wrenching 'Never The Child Be Sold' and the equally moving 'Am I Not A Man And Brother?' Through them – indeed throughout the album – you can hear McClelland's passion and palpable commitment to community, equality and justice. This is a powerful album with a message that must never be forgotten.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 April 2018 12:09



Thursday, 26 April 2018 18:35 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altEMILY JOHNSON is a Bulgarian-born, Nigerian singer/songwriter. She's enjoyed a career that's seen her perform world-wide and it was at a show in the South of France that she was "discovered" by legendary guitarist John McLaughlin. The leader of the Mahavishnu Orchestra introduced Emily to his former drummer Narada Michael Walden and he quickly brought her to his famed Tarpan Studios where they recorded her debut release – the four track EP 'Open Your Heart'.

The mini-set opens with a dramatic 'The Light' which we're told is Ms Johnson's homage to her new mentor, Walden. The broken beater that is 'I'm Blessed' is something very different –with rap input from G-Dub. 'Baby Forvever' is poppier while the EP's title cut is a big production number in the manner of, say, Whitney Houston.

Narada Michael Walden handles the production, plays drums and several other instruments while SJF's old friend Cornell "CC" Carter adds vocal backup.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 April 2018 18:41



Wednesday, 25 April 2018 19:54 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altNewcastle duo SOULUTIONS (Steve Lee and Louise Mehan) have earned themselves a warm and affectionate place in the hearts of the UK soul cognoscenti. They burst upon us in 2014 with the still gorgeous 'Listen' and since then an album or two and a selection of tasty singles has left them near and dear in our soul affections.

We last heard new music from the terrific twosome last year with the single 'Be Thankful' which followed on from the delightful 'I Got To Party'. We were told that both tunes were from an "upcoming" album, well that "upcoming" has now materialised into "released" as Soulutions launch the 13 tracker that is 'Thankful'.

'Be Thankful' and 'I Got To Party' still sound top notch but there's much, much more here to enjoy .... tunes like 'Shooting Star', 'Thinking Of You' , 'Second Guessing' and the heart-tugging 'Hey There' makes you wonder why Soulutions aren't bigger than they are. That last one in particular (shades of Stevie's 'Lately') is a masterpiece and confirms what I've long believed – that Radio 2 play-listers have cloth ears! This one should be all over the radio!

Sadly, I'm thinking, management problems, promotion issues and lack of a big budget have kept Soulutions from the mainstream. We survive in soul's backwaters and if you're swimming with us – this demands immediate investigation.



Wednesday, 25 April 2018 19:52 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altEverybody's favourite non Isley Brother/ sometime Isley Brother CHRIS JASPER returns to the musical fray with a brand new double A sided single 'The Love That You Give' c/w 'Its A Miracle' .

The former is a sensuous, meandering R&B ballad while the latter is a crisp mid-tempo beater with a gospel message. That one, 'It's A Miracle' has been recorded especially for the burgeoning US Gospel market – but, if you're a non-believer, don't let that put you off - it's a great contemporary soul groove.

We're told that both songs will feature on Mr J's upcoming long player – 'Dance With You' – out July.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 20:01



Wednesday, 25 April 2018 19:48 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altIf you have adventurous ears coupled with a penchant for electronic jazz you could do worse than investigate the latest album from Philadelphia trumpeter, arranger, and composer VINCE TAMPIO.

His six track 'Sound Plan' set fuses Jazz with Psychedelic Rock and Electronic Dance Music and Tampico leads the motley with his intriguing trumpet lines. He also plays all synthesizer, acoustic guitar, electric bass parts while Ben Diamond provides percussion and programmed drums. Multi-tasker, Vince, also composed, engineered, and produced all six tracks.

Most intriguing of the cuts is the 9 minute long 'Slimery', which really does sound like the implication in that title.

Tampio says that his music "juxtaposes acoustic tones with synthesized breadth to achieve an atmosphere inside which the listener can imagine themselves".

Make up your own minds by going to

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 20:02


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