Last October we were introduced to yet another member of the formidable Winans clan. Artist in question was the sweet voiced CARVIN WINANS and our introduction came via a big, contemporary soul groove, ‘Once In A Lifetime’. The track, deservedly, topped all the credible soul charts and we were told that the cut’s parent album was “on its way“. Well, it’s almost here. Carvin’s people tell us that the long player, ‘In The Softest Way’ is nearly with us… indeed, it’s ready to pre-order.
The great news is that the 11 tracker offers plenty more modern soul excellence. ‘Once In A Lifetime’ was a great dance groove (produced by The Jackie Boys who anoraks will know from their work with Charlie Wilson and those great, recent Wilson cuts were the template) and if you want more of the same there’s a beefy ‘So Watcha Got’.
But ‘In The Softest Way’s’ treasure are in the ballads and slow jams and amongst the best is ‘If You Only Knew My Heart’ – enhanced by some haunting harmonica work from someone called Stevie Wonder! Also on the guest list is brother Marvin who joins Carvin on the steady ‘Ready To Love You’ while Kenny G add his distinctive sax sound to the album’s title cut.
Right now our favourite track is the lush ‘You Blow My Mind’ and like most of the songs here its sentiment and message can be seen in either a secular or gospel context. Hardly surprising, given Carvin’s background. For the past 30 years he’s worked the gospel circuit with his brothers Marvin, Michael and Ronald and he’s also written hits for people like Whitney Houston, Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson.