Wednesday, 21 March 2018 21:01 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altKATE USHER and the STURDY SOULS is a blue-eyed soul/pop combo who work in and around New York state. The band is led by smoky voiced singer Kate Usher and multi-instrumentalist, Kevin Angiulo. The band channel a summery vibe – maybe encouraged by their summer residency at upmarket Hamptons venue, the Surf Lodge.

Right now the band are promoting the single 'Halfway' –a catchy, acoustic flavour that builds as the sax kicks in. There's a whiff of Norah Jones about it. Kate says: "Halfway is about that feeling of travelling through life without any bearing on how far away you are from the destination, in search of happiness guided by what you feel rather than what you see."

'Halfway' is the first cut from the group's upcoming EP 'Circles' which is due in May. Previews reveal that the title cut, we think, is stronger than 'Halfway'. 'Circles' (the track, that is) is right on the current smooth-soul vibe that Lindsey Webster has managed to perfect. Elsewhere, the jaunty 'Tiny Boat' is classic sunshine pop that'll transport you back to the 60s and band like the Lovin' Spoonful.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 21:09



Monday, 19 March 2018 18:56 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFUNK DIVISION are a hard-gigging soul band from Birmingham (West Midlands UK that is). When we last heard 'em – back in 2016 – they were a trio promoting a great tune, 'Tell Me Something'.

Now the band (who were called Sound Garden till 2014) has slimmed down to a duo – Mark Anthony Dufus and Derek King – and the pair are busy with their latest single – 'If You Were Mine'. The track comes in three mixes – "Disco", "House" and "Soul" and each mix sounds exactly as described. Odd though, given the band's name, we don't have a "funk" mix! It won't surprise you to learn that the "Soul" mix is the one that hits home here at SJF. It's a steady, tight modern soul groove with convincing vocals; it's very insistent too ... bit of an earworm!

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Last Updated on Monday, 19 March 2018 19:00



Monday, 19 March 2018 18:51 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altBLÉZ CLOE is a soul singer who hails from Washington DC. We first heard of her via her collaboration with Bey Bright on his 'Nu Indie Soul Volume 3' album. Right now Ms C is striking out on her own with the sensual 80s flavoured tune, 'Man Crush Everyday'. The song ha just been released on Regi Myrix's Myrix Media Group label. Regi has enjoyed success in the past with things like Kim Tibbs' 'Soul!' - an Official U.K. Soul Chart Number #1 Hit and Noel Gourdin's 'No Worries' Remix (with Hil St Soul) - a Number#2 Official U.K. Soul Chart.

'Man Crush Everyday' is winning support and could well follow in those footsteps.... the track's taken from the singer's debut album which is due later this year.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 20:25



Saturday, 17 March 2018 14:20 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altBack in 2016 we spotlighted Texan soulstress K.AVETT (pronounced "kay uh vet") and her debut album 'K.Avett: Revelations' from which the single – the double A side 'Show Me'/'Alone' won plenty of support for its kind of Jill Scott meets Conya Doss jazzy/neo soul flavours.

Right now the singer is preparing for the release of her sophomore album, 'Lioness' from which the lead single 'Feelin' Good' / 'The Matter' has just become available. 'Feelin' Good' is lazy jazz-soul ramble very much in the mode of the aforementioned Jill Scott while 'The Matter' has a more complex, layered sound to it. Both, though, have a summery vibe – most welcome at this still chilly time of year!


Last Updated on Saturday, 17 March 2018 15:17



Saturday, 17 March 2018 14:16 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altRICARDO BACELAR is a noted Brazilian pianist/composer/arranger. He began his music career in rock band Hanoi Hanoi but in 2001 he jumped ship, embraced jazz and released his first solo album, 'In Natura'. Then he returned to his trained profession.... he's a fully qualified lawyer – and devoted his energies to working on copyright and intellectual property cases. Music, though, beckoned and in 2016 he "cameback" with 'Concerto Para Moviola'.

Ricardo has now released his most ambitious project - 'Sebastiana' – a 15 track set that celebrates the whole gamut of Latin American music from a Brazilian perspective. That said, the long player was actually recorded in Miami, a city that Senor Barcelar calls "the centre of Latin music". There he assembled a team to create a music that honours the roots of Brazilian music yet incorporates each individual player's culture and musical heritage.

Produced by Brazilian bassist Cesar Lemos, the players on 'Sebastiana' include Venezuelan Anderson Quintero (drums), Cuban percussionist Yoel del Sol ,Colombians Channo Tierra (accordion) and Jose Sibaja (trumpet) and American pedal steel guitarist Steve Hinson while vocalists number Brazilians Ros Max and Ramatis Moraes and Americans Maye Osorio .

The album boasts two tunes penned by Bacelar and Lemos with the remaining 13 tracks coming from the catalogues of some of Brazil's most celebrated composers.... amongst them Gilberto Gil, Ivan Lins, Flora Purim, Lo Borges, Tom Jobim, Victor Martins and Milton Nascimento whose lovely 'Nothing Will Be As It Was' is the album's lead focus single. The track has a haunting, ethereal quality heightened by Hinson's pedal steel and Osorio's sensual vocal.

Bacelar says: "When I recorded this album, I wanted to pay homage to Brazilian music presenting distinct performances of Latin American musicians who put elements of their own cultures into the fusion of influences. That fusion of elements of cultures and influences in a recording turns the music into a transmission vehicle of knowledge." You can read more of Bacelar's music philosophy in the lavish booklet that accompanies the album.


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