Most soul fans won’t be aware of US singers STARR DUNCAN-LOWE and SAUNDRA WILLIAMS but discerning soul folk will, we’re sure, have heard them! You see, for some time now, the Bronx-born duo have been the background vocalists for Sharon Jones – they’ve been an integral part of her Soul Revue both on stage and in the studio and Sharon herself is quick to praise what the girls bring to her performances.

The good news is that the ladies are now all set to step into their own limelight. Using the name SAUN & STARR they’ll be issuing their own album on May 18th. Released on Daptone (naturally), the 11 tracker’s called ‘Look Closer’ and sneak previews reveal a wonderful soul set that perfectly marries retro sensitivities with contemporary flavours – the kind of thing that Daptone always does so well!

Vocally, Saun & Starr are a throwback to soul’s golden age. Little wonder –they were raised in the gospel tradition. Through the 1990s they were part of a soul trio (yep… the third member was a certain Sharon Jones!) called The Good N Plenty Band; then they all went separate ways. As Sharon’s career took off she decided to recruit Starr and Saundra as backing singers and dubbed them The Dapettes). That was back in 2008 and the Daptone people (most notably head honcho, Gabe Roth) soon realised that the pair deserved their own album too.

Commitments and a busy work schedule have meant that it’s only now that the album is ready for release. The wait though has been worth it. The music on ‘Look Closer’ is proper modern soul. A set of excellent, “song-led” tunes; expect no gimmicks or fireworks – just simple, organic music that’s delivered with a passion and conviction. First single is the old school-flavoured ‘Hot Shot’ but in truth any song would work as a single… we’re loving the classic 60’s girl group sound of ‘Dear Mr Teddy’.

We’ll bring you a full review of the album very soon and watch out for an upcoming interview with SAUN & STARR.