If any one city can claim to be the spiritual home of soul music, it’s Memphis, where R&B, blues, and gospel have been commingling for generations. Memphis native Gedeon Luke is a student of his hometown’s soulful history, and with his band the People he makes music—like their recent full-length debut Live Free & Love—that not only replicates classic soul’s rich, organic tones but also the crucial blend of spirituality and sensuality that’s fueled the genre’s most important works. Ever an energetic proselytizer for the form, Luke made EW a primer on the soul and gospel music that inspires him.
Tag: Soul (1-10 of 83)
Musician and Milwaukee, Wisconsin native Grace Weber has operated out of New York for several years now, first attending school at New York University before settling into Brooklyn. Her soul-infused sound comes from a life of performing, including time in a children’s gospel choir in her adolescence, but the influence of her new home has made a clear impact on her work.
Weber’s first album Hope & Heart debuted the artist high on the singer/songwriter and heatseeker Billboard charts in 2011, and the musician is currently preparing for her sophomore release, The Refinery, to arrive on Oct. 7. Weber has given fans a peek at what’s to come with the album’s first single, “Perfect Stranger.”
Before The Refinery arrives, Weber will perform on Sept. 8 for HELLO Harlem, a charity supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. In keeping with the New York roots Weber has planted, she created a playlist for EW full of artists who capture the highs and lows of the city she now calls home.
Naomi Shelton has been singing professionally for over five decades, beginning in the midst of the early-’60s soul-music explosion, where she was inspired by the likes of Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, and later expanding into gospel. Since 1999, she’s been fronting the long-running vocal group the Queens, which has since been rechristened Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens.
Backed by a band that includes former side men for Pickett, Sam Cooke, and James Brown, Shelton and the Queens have just recorded their sophomore record for leading soul revivalists Daptone Records. Cold World walks the blurry line between gospel and classic R&B that artists and ideas have been crossing back and forth for ages, with a rich, warm-blooded sound that comes in part from having tracked the songs live to analog tape. Shelton’s voice remains an impressive instrument, and the pleading vocal part on the album’s lead single, “Sinner,” is an ideal setting to show it off.
Sad — but cautiously optimistic — news for fans of Sharon Jones and her band the Dap-Kings: the acclaimed soul singer, 57, announced today that she has stage-one bile cancer.
According to a statement by her rep, Jones’ illness has “fortunately been discovered early and has not spread. It is expected that the immediate proposed surgical solution will lead to a full recovery, but because of its invasive and complex nature, will necessitate a rather lengthy convalescence. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings will be back before you know it, with a new release date and rescheduled tours worldwide.”
The release also features an upbeat quote from the singer:
“Over the last few weeks I haven’t felt good and I didn’t know what was going on. We sadly had to cancel shows while I went through a series of tests and short hospital stays. We just found out that I have a stage-one tumor on my bile duct. Luckily we caught it really early and fast and the doctors say it’s operable and curable!
I will be having surgery very soon and will have to rest and recover. I’ll be staying in touch and keeping my fans and friends updated on my progress. I’m looking forward to getting back on the road to give the people what they want!”
Jones, a former longtime corrections officer at New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail, came to music professionally later than most of her peers, but quickly made up for lost time, releasing five critically lauded albums and becoming known for her joyous, funk-heavy live performances.
Before Jones’ diagnosis, the group’s sixth album, Give The People What They Want, was scheduled to be released Aug. 6.
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It’s hard to believe it, but it’s only been a year since the talented and troubled British singer Amy Winehouse passed away at the age of 27.
The mark she left on the musical landscape is considerable (she helped usher the United Kingdom’s ongoing explosion of soul and R&B singers, and everyone from Patti Smith to Green Day have dedicated songs to her), and her absence has been felt more deeply thanks to string of posthumously released material, including a Grammy-winning duet with Tony Bennett and a collab or two with Nas.
There are many ways to remember Winehouse’s life. One great way is by donating to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which provides “help, support or care for young people, especially those who are in need by reason of ill health, disability, ﬁnancial disadvantage or addiction.”
Of course, another way to honor the singer is to listen to her music. She was only able to put out two albums (2003′ Frank and 2006’s platinum breakout Back in Black) in her lifetime, but she still supplied us with more than enough great songs. Combined with cuts from last year’s Lioness collection and a cameo on this year’s Nas album Life is Good, our playlist of Amy Winehouse favorites is worth a spin of three today.
Give it a listen with the Spotify player below:
TV Jukebox: 'Don't Trust the B-- in Apartment 23,' 'Magic City,' 'Girls,' and more music-on-TV moments
Behind every great lady there’s a great man singing behind her — at least that was the case for most of this week’s Jukebox. In one instance, there was even a man singing as a lady (welcome back, Glee!). This week saw one particularly untrustworthy B—- in Apartment 23, a new slew of Girls, a masseuse with a heart of gold (The Client List), and a Scandal-ous Beltway fixer with brass… well, you get where I’m going. To paraphrase the great Aretha Franklin, sisters were doing it for themselves — with the help of artists as diverse as The Clash, Sleigh Bells, Paddy Casey, and Otis Redding, of course. Check out our picks below, and make sure to click through to the last page to listen to all the songs in our customized Spotify playlist. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!) READ FULL STORY
Old-school tracks were the name of the game more often than not these past few weeks. Whether your definition of “old-school” translates to proper Mad Men-era tunes heard on the AMC hit, Scandal, and Supernatural, or ’80s classics as seen on Happy Endings and One Tree Hill, this week’s Jukebox offers up a retro rave fit for anybody. Of course there were plenty of contemporary jams, too: MCs from London and the Bronx on Breakout Kings, CSI: NY, and 90210, TV darlings Sleigh Bells on The Vampire Diaries, and Portland indie rockers Novosti on Missing, plus “show tunes” from GCB and Gossip Girl. Check out our picks below. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)
President Barack Obama has officially given the White House a much, much cooler soundtrack. (“Hail to the Chief” does get a little repetitive after a while.) Just one month after the Commander-in-Chief wowed us all with a few bars of Al Green’s classic “Let’s Stay Together” at New York City’s famed Apollo Theater, the POTUS serenaded the nation once again.
With a little nudging from performers like B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Buddy Guy (how could he even say no?) President Obama sang a few lines from Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago” last night during a White House blues concert in honor of Black History Month.
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His charming Good Wife character Will Gardner may love baseball, but in real life, actor Josh Charles loves music. When he’s not legal-eagling on the screen for the CBS drama, he’s digging into blues, soul, and folk. Recently, he shared his favorite artists, albums, and songs from his iPod, which you can find here:
SAM COOK, NIGHT BEAT “This is the one I really go back to, more than some of his more classic hits, so to speak. I just think it’s such an incredible record. Who sings better than him?”
BOB DYLAN BLOOD ON THE TRACKS For me, there’s Bob Dylan and then there’s everybody else. There really isn’t anything of his music that I don’t have on my iPod, so if I had to pick one record, let’s say, it would be Blood on the Tracks. I just love the whole feeling and vibe of that record. His music is sort of like my bible, and I’m not a very religious person so take that how you want. It would be my default music if I couldn’t figure out what to listen to. I feel like Dylan, at his heart, is a real blues man, and I love his records where he’s stripped them down and done some really good blues songs.”
SKIP JAMES “I’m a huge blues fan, and his songs are just so complex and his voice is so haunting. I’ve been learning how to play songs like ‘Devil Got My Woman’ on my guitar, as well as ‘Special Rider,’ and ‘Hard Time Killing Floor.’ You know, his life story is pretty incredible, too. But his music, I just find it so haunting. Haunting is the word that comes to mind but, also, the guitar playing is unique and really kind of multilayered.”
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