Monthly Archives: June 2013

Video – Zo! “Count to Five”

>manmade_sm
Hey Soulsters! Ok, I’m a little behind on this one, but when I found it I just had to share. Check out the video below for Zo!’s, “Count To Five” featuring Gwen Bunn. This song happens to be my favorite single from the album, “ManMade” released on May 21st. Whenever I listen to this album, I always play this song at least six or seven times. It’s that addictive. Zo! is part of The Foreign Exchange Family. If you are into the underground music scene like I am then you BETTER know who that is! If not, then this is a good introduction. Zo’s music is so fun and soulful. The beats and rhythms he creates as the foundation for his songs are like nothing you are hearing out here today. The concept of the video is clever, very creative and a little out there. I do get the concept and I am diggin’ it. It’s like an homage to Sesame Street and watching Phonte (Go on boy!) gives me life! He is hilarious in this! I enjoyed Gwen Bunn’s performance in this vid also since her presence matches the vocals to a tee. Her easy going style and soul child personality comes out at you. They just make you want to join in the fun. This song and video makes me smile 🙂
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The Foreign Exchange Official Website: http://www.theforeignexchangemusic.com
ManMade is available on iTunes or at your local record store.

CD Spotlight – PJ Morton “New Orleans”

PJ Morton

PJ Morton is no longer in the category of Indie Music Artist, however, I just listened to his latest album “New Orleans” released on Cash Money Records last month, and I was absolutely blown away! I had to give him a mention, because every song on this album is GREAT for lack of a better word. You can ride this album out from beginning to end, and it lives up to its title. New Orleans is known for its Gumbo and Jambalaya and this album represents just that. It has every genre of music, R&B Soul, Pop, Jazz, Hip Hop and even Reggae. The featured artists on New Orleans also represent a tasty mix with artists such as Stevie Wonder (my absolute Music God), Adam Levine, Tweet (impatiently waiting for her next release), Busta Rhymes and Little Wayne. PJ Morton really “put his foot” in this release and it shows so much growth from his 2005 independent debut, “Emotions”. Please add this to your music collection. It is definitely a must have for any real music lover. “New Orleans” is a perfect mix of seasonings and spices for the ears. Enjoy!

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Video – “Only One”, featuring Stevie Wonder

Available on iTunes

Live Performance Review – Eric Roberson at Center Stage

Eric Roberson Performance Photo

Hey Soulsters!  I just had to talk about Eric Roberson’s show at Center Stage in Atlanta, GA last week.  He had two shows there on Friday, June 1st and Saturday, June 2nd.  I attended Saturday’s show after not seeing him perform for a couple of years.

Now, let me start this post with a little background about my discovery of Eric Roberson’s music and how my fandom got started.  Once again, driving around on a lonely Saturday night in Atlanta in 2003, I came across Eric’s “Change for Me” track playing on our local Jazz radio station, 91.9 WCLK-FM.  They were doing a House mix that night and me being the House fan that I am and a New York/New Jersey native, I turned that *hit up!  I was still new to town at that time and didn’t think I would EVER hear House music on the radio again while living here.  To my delight, some soulful House was playing on this station and Eric’s smooth vocals on top of this driving beat just hit me as I cruised down the busy Atlanta highway.  After hearing that song and waiting for the DJ to come back on the air to say who the artist was, I was on a mission.  I searched everywhere for that track.  I looked high and low without success for a few days after that.  I guess my internet searching skills were not up to par because I couldn’t find anything on this song or the artist.  Then finally out of the blue, I found an obscure reference on the internet that led you to his website where he sold his music.  There was also a forum in place where fans could interact with Eric and each other about their love for his music.  They also were chatting about their love for other music as well as grown folk’s issues and topics.  I was so happy I found him and I have been a fan ever since.  His accessibility to his fans as well as his music has reached hundreds of thousands of people over the years.  He is an independent artist in every sense of the word.  He writes, produces, performs and promotes his own music on his own label, Blue Erro Soul and tirelessly tours here in the states and internationally.  He has been recognized by the Grammys in 2010 and 2011 for his work and has independently sold over 80,000 copies of his 7 albums.

So, with that said, let’s get back to his concert last week.  What a pleasure it was to be reacquainted Mr. Roberson.  How symbolic was it that he actually opened the show with the song that introduced me to him way back then, “Change for Me”!  It was an energetic intro and when he walked on that stage, he had me and everyone else in the audience on their feet.  It gave me chills!  In his show, I was pleasantly surprised that he covered a lot of music that I had not seen him perform before.  I was used to the usual tracks from him from “The Vault Vol. 1” and “The Vault Vol. 1.5” releases, so I expected to hear those again.  However, he did a lot of his obscure songs from “Left”, “Music Fan First”, and of course his most recent album, “Mr. Nice Guy”.  Don’t worry, he didn’t leave the Vault songs out, but provided a medley of them for our nostalgic pleasure.  His band played every one of his songs majestically as they were a perfect complement to Eric’s smooth vocals.  I also really enjoyed how the vocal arrangements were performed between Eric and his background singer.  His background singer complemented his sound very well and also served as an announcer for Eric earlier in the evening and helped with some of the show’s lighter and fun moments.  Eric is known for showcasing his songwriting skills by asking the audience to provide words to create a “song on the spot”.  This time it was “Booty Meat” and I couldn’t figure out how something so hilarious could still be so soulful.  He had your head nodding and you were there jamming like it was a real song.  Only Eric could pull this off!  One of the many highlights of the night and he does it effortlessly every time.  Vocally, he sounded better than I have ever heard him and it was a pleasure to see him again after a couple of years!

I have all of his music, so I highly recommend you check him out live and of course go and get his CDs – all of them!  You won’t be able to stop listening to this brother’s music from beginning to end!  Right now you can find him on iTunes, his website (see below), and your local independent record store.   If you have never heard of Eric Roberson, this is the perfect opportunity to discover him.

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Eric Roberson Official Website

http://www.twitter.com/IamEricRoberson

http://www.youtube.com/BlueErroSoul

Eric Roberson performing “Picture Perfect”:

His latest CD:

Mr. Nice Guy Artwork

                       

Live Performance Review – Meshell Ndegeocello

Meshell

I was so excited when I learned that Ms. Ndegeocello was coming back to Atlanta to perform at this year’s Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park, that I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to catch her live.  I have been a huge fan of this dynamic artist since her 1993 debut, “Plantation Lullabies”.  What a cool and super talented Sista!  That album was groundbreaking and I felt so fortunate to have discovered it back then.

Fast forward to Saturday’s performance.  I have been warned by others who have gone to her show that she doesn’t really revisit her older music.  This is to the dismay of many longtime fans due to Meshell’s desire as an artist to showcase where she is now.  Keeping that in mind, I was prepared that she probably wouldn’t perform some of my favorites from her like, “If That’s Your Boyfriend”, “Dred Loc”, “Outside your Door”, “Soul on Ice”, “Fool of Me”, “Bitter”, and “The Way”, just to name a few.  I kept an open mind upon arriving at the park for her show.  Boy, was I pleasantly surprised.  A lot of the music she did perform was a homage to Nina Simone from her most recent album, “Pour Une Ame Souveraine”.  Meshell performed these songs with such respect and love for Ms. Simone’s body of work.  She made the songs her own, however, she didn’t take way Ms. Simone’s essence from them.  My absolute favorite from this set was “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”.  Her version of “Feelin’ Good” was a fresh and haunting take of this popular Simone song.  I absolutely loved it.  Her entire set was very engaging.  Her voice was smooth and surprisingly mellow, based on the large crowd and the frequent coming, going and expected distractions in a venue like this.  Her voice captured you even amongst the sea of people at the festival.  She certainly drew you in with it.  Of course her bass playing couldn’t be denied.  Excellent as usual.

Seeing her here at the Festival was not long enough, of course.  Next time she comes to town,  I will definitely check her out.  After seeing her I left feeling that I must experience one of her live shows where she is headlining.   I must admit I hadn’t kept up with Meshell’s independent work in recent years.  She has made appearances on other artist’s work that I listen to here and there and I have caught those.  Of course, she never disappoints as a featured artist.  I feel now that I have to revisit Meshell and get reacquainted with the beauty that is her music.  Such talent and artistry cannot be denied.  Simply put, I didn’t realize how much I missed her.

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Meshell Ndegeocello Official Website

https://twitter.com/OfficialMeshell

Live Performance Review – Donnie at Apache Cafe

Donnie

Hey Soulsters!  Went and checked out Donnie at the Apache Café to kick off the Memorial Day weekend.  Now I believe the last time I saw this soulful brother was about 5 years ago.  At that show, he announced he was going on hiatus to take care of himself and said he wouldn’t be performing for a while.  I don’t know what personal issues he had to deal with, but I’m glad he was able to go and regroup.  His performance was absolutely wonderful and he seemed like he was BACK! His vocals were on point, stage presence engaging and he seemed so humbled by the love of the Apache crowd.  I couldn’t ask for a better Donnie performance.  He performed songs from his debut album, “The Colored Section” and brought the house down.  Songs like “Beautiful Me”, “People Person”, “Our New National Anthem”, “Big Black Buck”, and my all- time favorite, pro-natural hair anthem, “Cloud” had the Apache crowd on their feet with nostalgia and excitement.  I absolutely LOVED the songs on this album and it brought back so many memories of my first year here in Atlanta in 2003.   I would play this CD in my car non-stop for 3 months straight.  That CD made me feel at home.  Donnie made me believe him when he sang “You Have a Friend” during those early days in my new city.  Atlanta can be a lonely city at times, so Donnie’s music certainly welcomed me with open arms at that time in my life.

He went on to perform some songs from his upcoming album “The American Mythology”.  He said during the show that he had been working on it for seven years and had intended it to accompany a musical Broadway play of the same title.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get the titles of the songs that he performed, but I must say that it was the most innovative, provocative music that I have heard in a long time.  From what I heard that night, the vocals, musical arrangements and instrumentation of his upcoming release will take you aback.  There is nothing like it out there today and should not be ignored.  It was refreshing to hear this brother speak about the state of America today and even give an Ode to our President, “Yes We Can”.  The message in this song might surprise you.  I must say, I can’t wait for its release on July 4th.  How appropriate is that!?!  I will be the first to grab a copy of this!  I have marked my calendar.

Welcome back, Donnie!

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Check out his performance of “People Person”

If you want to hear more then get his music on iTunes, Amazon.com or your local independent record store near you!  Support this music!

The Colored Section Album Art Daily News Album Art