Alabama-born-and-raised preacher’s son, ALVIN GARRETT has been making music for something like 20 years. He’s a singer/songwriter, music educator and an accomplished bassist, and his first big breakthrough came Stateside with his 2015 ’By Myself’ which echoed Sam Cooke’s epic ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’. In 2020 he released an EP, ‘The Awakening’ which reflected on the pandemic and the social upheavals besetting America.

Alvin now follows that up with a lovely 7 track collection, ‘The Lightness Of Love’ which, as the title suggests, is the singer’s attempt to lighten things up with generous doses of optimism and songs that celebrate the power of love. The mini album kicks off with a gentle ‘My Gift To You’ – a sweet, mid-tempo groove where the majestic vocal underlines Garrett’s gospel background and explains why US commentators have made comparison with Al Green, the aforementioned Sam Cooke and the more contemporary Joe.

‘My Gift To You’ defines the gentle template for most of the music on the mini-LP/ maxi EP. ‘Beat Beat’, for instance, despite its title, is another gentle, insinuating groove… very Al Green-ish. These gentle vibes are eventually swept aside with the last two tracks. The penultimate cut is a crisp ‘Soft Spot’ which rides a contemporary R&B groove. But it’s the album closer, the set’s title cut, that is the real cherry on this lovely cake. ‘The Lightness Of Love’ (featuring flautist Kim Scott) is a classic modern soul, sophisticated dance  groove. Ticking all the boxes of that particular genre, it’s just one of those (rare) tunes where everything comes together perfectly while the musical message offers hope and optimism as an antidote to the prevalent doom and gloom. Little wonder that ‘‘The Lightness Of Love’ has scaled all the credible soul charts over the last few weeks. Out now, it’s a lovely song and, indeed, the whole mini album comes SJF recommended!