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State Of Mind
  State Of Mind  
  Recommended if you like:
- Jose Feliciano
- Ola Onabule
- Stevie Wonder
 
Review
Raul Midon 'State Of Mind' [Manhattan/EMI]
 

This is an exciting CD, which has the flexibility to appeal to all age groups and genres. If you enjoy pop, Latin, jazz, soul, flamenco guitar – check it out. With sounds of Stevie Wonder, Jose Feliciano and Gipsy Kings, but still remaining distinctly Raul. New Mexico born, New York based and blind since birth, this debut 13 track collection of originals from Raul Midon is a must hear CD. Raul has a wonderful acoustic guitar style, combining classical, jazz and rhythmic flamenco influences. ‘Waited All My Life’ was written for his wife, naturally simple, yet poignant. The album is uplifting in a positive, non-preaching way. Tracks like ‘Picture’ encapsulating this, quite simply saying ‘please listen while I say…’ and ‘Everybody’ with it’s inspiring lyrics, written as an empowerment response to the heroes of 9/11. Gently infused with reggae influences in tracks like ‘Keep On Hoping’, a vocal duet with Jason Mraz. A perfect blending together of their two voices, teasing the lyrics into smooth submission. This track reminding me of those songs of yesterday by Ken Booth (reggae influences) - yet still retaining a fresh feel. The track ‘All In Your Mind’ – opening a window on what it’s like to be blind. Stevie Wonder is guest harmonica performer on the track ‘Expressions Of Love’. I have been waiting to hear a passionate, soulful, Latin sounding artist and I have found it with Raul. Each song is worth listening to; difficult to say which are the best on the CD, as they are all so good.

Tracey Cope [Just Soul]

Trouble
  Trouble  
  Recommended if you like:
- Van Morrison
- Otis Redding
- Rod Stewart
 
Review
Ray Lamontagne 'Trouble' [RCA Records]
 

This self written debut CD seems to have sprung from nowhere, produced by Ethan Johns (Kings Of Leon). I really feel it will appeal to an array of generations. Ray Lamontagne was born in New Hampshire and has been on the move ever since. A self-proclaimed oddball – he has the potential to become a great songwriter. Likened to Otis Redding and Bob Dylan with raspy vocals like Rod Stewart, but with a sound, which is quite unique, as if you have been familiar with it for years. A soul sound intermingled with Jazz, folk & Blues. Tackling life and love with honesty, the CD makes you listen, drawing you in on an emotional, moving journey, reaching deep within. You will empathize with the opening track ‘Trouble’. There is the up-tempo ‘Forever My Friend’ with percussion and rhythms. ‘Hannah’ has a folk feel to it and ‘How Come’ is funkier/rockier, examining life of today. Tackling love in ‘Jolene’ saying he still doesn’t know what love means and the poignant line in ‘Hannah’ – ‘I’d walk 1 mile just on broken glass, to fall down at your feet’. This CD has the ability to question, to soothe, but most of all it has the ability to stop you in your tracks and say, listen and you do and keep listening from start to finish, again and again.

Tracey Cope [Just Soul]

In Emergency, Brake...
  In Emergency, Brake Silence  
  Recommended if you like:
- Michael McDonald
- Stevie Wonder
- Adam McKnight
 
Review
Ola Onabule 'In Emergency Brake Silence' [Rugged Ram]
 

This is Ola’s fifth CD, self-written, and produced and sung with passion, grace and style, giving a warm, funky soul sound. The lyrics are diverse and engaging, complimented by a good band with the likes of Pete Adams on Wurlitzer & piano and Don Chandler on Bass. The CD highlights the effortless ease in which this artist writes such beautiful songs, time and again, mastering his sound by doing over 100 gigs a year. You get a voice like this through sheer hard work and mastery of your craft and each note is hit with precision. Those of you who do not know his music must check it out. If you like Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Michael McDonald, Stevie Wonder, you will love Ola Onabule. Ola has taken their sounds on board and sent them into the next millennium. An artist who is at his best on stage - this CD tackles the on road temptations in songs like ‘Thanks’ and stimulates your inner soul with lyrics displayed in the tracks ‘You Can’ and ‘Alive Tonight’. From the first track to the very last, the unmistakable singing voice of Ola stands out. I believe three tracks on the CD jump out in a powerful way – ‘Soul Town’, ‘Heart Of Lead’ and ‘Forgiven’. ‘Soul Town’ is a stand tall, funky tune, the essence of which will appeal to those parents of the 60’s, yet young in sound and feel to appeal to their children. ‘Heart Of Lead’ is a gutsy, unrequited love ballad, which, in time, could be heard over the airwaves forever and be given the same respect as classics like Al Green’s ‘Tired Of Being Alone’ & Dionne Warwick’s ‘Heartbreaker’. ‘Forgiven’ being equally as good. Each song is sung with soul and passion. They make you sit down and play them over and over again, appreciating the subtle African sounds and rhythms running alongside the lyrics.

Tracey Cope [Just Soul]

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