Timothe Davis

Timothe Davis


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Sunday, 15 December 2013 20:42

"All You Girls" - Vesta

They say that everything eventually comes back in style. I hope that's not true. There are several things that are gone and should stay gone. Fanny packs and gerri curls top that list. But in music, of late, there's been a resurgence of the retro 60's sound. Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke have both used it to fine effect. I must admit, I can dig it.

On the song, "All You Girls," Vesta Williams takes her turn with the 60's retro feel. With Vesta's brassy and powerful contralto, you wouldn't expect her to miss. She doesn't. As a matter-of-fact, "All You Girls" may be one of her best songs. While she doesn't display any of the vocal acrobatics that she was known for, she turns in a performance that is soulful, sultry, and striking. 

Ms. Williams died two years; this album was released this year. Both sadly and ironically, this album is one of her best. It's a call to women to love and respect themselves. It's also about self-reflection. As she states, "Don't always think that I had it together." She's grown and she's encouraging others to grow. It's encouragement that applies to all you boys and all you girls!

Enjoy the sound, the lyrics, and the voice. There weren't many voices like Vesta's, and it will be missed. 

 

Sunday, 15 December 2013 19:59

Larry g(EE) - Dallas Soul Singer

The Dallas Observer recently chose Larry (g)EE as the best soul singer in Dallas. He's a star on the verge and he took a few moments to talk with us: 

1.You're often described as "soulful." Is there a difference between "soul" music and "R&B?" If so, what is it? And how do you capture that soulful sound? You know I'm not quite sure between the two sounds. Both are steeped in tradition. But the thing about music is it's all up to the listener. I like that deeper perspective because I think it expands the lane and allows someone like myself who's essentially not a fit-in-the-pocket R&B musician to exist in both. Capturing a soulful to me is all about pouring out every honest emotion out of you every time you hit the stage or write a song. It has to be honest in order to capture it.

2.What was the Jimmy Kimmel performance like? It was so much fun and such a great opportunity for us to share our music on a national stage. It's opened up so many doors for us.

3.Describe yourself in 3 words - Loyal, passionate, and funny

4.Does the [musical] journey ever get frustrating? And, if so, how do you handle it? Not really. You have your days obviously but never to the point of frustrating. I'm thankful for the journey.

5.Do you date women who drink Patron? A few years ago I would say yes. Now? Not so much.

6.If you could meet/duet with any artist (no longer living) who would it be? And why? Amy Winehouse. Her voice is so unique and timeless. Her album "Back to Black" inspired most of the sounds you hear on my EP "Weekends".

7.What's the Dallas music scene like? It's growing every day. So many good artists from so many different genres. The future of music in this city is promising for sure.

8.When did you realize you could sing? I think it was when I won a talent show as a freshman in college singing a Brian McKnight song. I remember walking up on stage and hearing people laugh at me but then shutting up and giving me a standing ovation when I finished the song.

9.Has the popularity of hip hop and producer-driven songs killed "real" music? Again I feel like it's all up to the listener. I'm a big fan of hip-hop so personally I don't think it has.

10.What's next for Larry g(EE)? We're headlining a New Year's Eve party at the South Side Ballroom in Dallas (Gilley's) called "NYgEE" with The Rich Girls and the Party Police.

Sunday, 15 December 2013 19:48

"Barely Breathing" - Michael J.Kolinski

Barely Breathing

Barely Breathing, by Michael Kolinski, has so many good reviews on Goodreads that I couldn't help but purchase it. I must admit, I had high hopes.

The story tells the tale of an early-thirties gent named Jake Woods who, after surviving a mass murder, is pulled from a deep depression by his distant cousin Jana who invites Jake to her California home for a visit. When Jake arrives, she is nowhere to be found. As days pass, Jake becomes increasingly worried, and he begins to search for a cousin he doesn't know so well.

Jake believes himself to be a bit on the innocent side, as he does hail from Iowa, and unprepared for the search. Fortunately, he's intelligent, resourceful, sarcastic, and borderline mouthy. A former wrestler, he can hold his own in a fist fight, he's got biceps for days, and his looks are movie star or, at least, porn star handsome.

His girl Friday is Laurie Summers, Jana's best friend. She has a heart of gold and a bit of baggage, and she is dedicated to locating her friend.

Jake is an affable character; he and Laurie have an easy chemistry that permeates the book. As central characters, they are both pleasant to be around.

I was a bit distracted that almost every time Laurie was introduced into a scene, Jake reminded me how breathtakingly beautiful she was. Is this girl Aphrodite incarnate? Finally I got it. Jake was mesmerized and I was supposed to be as well.

I also had a couple "nit-picky" issues with the book. One was was the tendency for the author to telegraph – he'd tell us there was going to be an upcoming problem before the problem occurred.

The other issue was the lead character's tendency to ramble, muse, and share thoughts that might reveal character but didn't move the story along.

For me, both of those tendencies robbed the book of what I wanted most: Tension!

Jake's cousin is missing, for crying out loud! I'd imagine the search for a missing person would be an exhausting emotional frenzied search – especially if there are bad guys involved, especially if you didn't know if you were making the right choices, and especially if you thought someone had been murdered. Yet the story didn't create any tension until about page 188. Some of which wasn't as harrowing as it could be because of statements made earlier in the book (or the author's affinity for making comments that deflate the energy).

Excerpt:

I could see Laurie's face now. Her mouth was hanging open, and she was gasping for breath. Her palms were bracing against the dashboard, leaving wet stains. She was sweating through her clothes. She was doing better than I.

"You okay?" I asked.

"I liked it better when you drove like an old lady."

Really? A murderer is rushing the car and that's what the characters say?

Unfortunately, lines that seem incongruous with the scene abound in the story. (I began to think that the author preferred dry-wit to tension. No problem. He's the author. His choice. Right?) What tension the book has lasts for about 50 pages, and then the book moves back into its slower pace.

This isn't to say that the book isn't good. It was just paced a little too slowly for this reader.

Let me add, there is a jaw-dropper toward the book's finale, and the final chapter is a sweet ending. Overall, I enjoyed Mr. Kolinski's style, and I would definitely recommend the book for the mystery-lover. My sole request is the next time I read a mystery called Barely Breathing, I'm able to hold my breath from anticipation as I turn each and every page.

Friday, 13 December 2013 02:45

"The New Groove" - Ivan the Paynter

Ivan the Paynter told me to check out his new track. It's called "The New Groove." But he admits in the opening lyrics it's an "old school song." Think Digital Underground, think a Tribe Called Quest. It's got keyboard; it's got horns. Think funky rap. 

Here's why I say that some of the best music isn't being played on the radio. Indie music allows for retro, renaissance, and creativity. And when the artists isn't chasing fame, it allows them to step out of the box and create - or recreate - infinite grooves. Even Ivan states that sometimes modern music chokes. And I'm tempted to agree with him.

"The New Groove" isn't for those who like their rap hardcore. Ivan the Paynter says that if you're "sick of the radio, then this is the cure."  I'd add that if you like your rap with a groove, if you like your rap with a bit of funk, then let Paynter paint you his picture.

(Paynter paint you a picture. Was that a bad line? Nah ... I don't think so. LOL)

 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00

"Light Up The Sky" - Remington

In "Light Up The Sky," Remington promises to "go hard." Why? Because its his job. Fortunately, he takes the job pretty damn seriously. Couched in what he calls "Groove Rock',"  this tune is bass heavy, edgy, with a dash of electronica. Its intent?  To "take it up a notch." 

And when you think about it, don't we all wanna take it up a notch? I mean, I do. 

Clearly, Remington is here to have fun, and to make people dance. To that end, he's provided a sweet radio-friendly groove. Expertly produced and excellently excecuted, this tune should be welcomed by anyone who enjoys a big dose of attitude in their pop music.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 23:52

"The Famous Nile Earls" - Imhotepshakur

"The Famous Nile Earls" is both melodic and retro. The vibe is percussion and guitar, and the sound is beguiling. The music could easily be the background for a Shaft lovemaking scene or an intimate dinner with friends. It's a dreamy song that should be accompanied with a glass of wine or heard on a solo-road trip while one reflects on the meaning of life. It's serene, it's sexy, it's scintillating. The song well illustrates the power of the instrumental. 

Friday, 06 December 2013 20:55

"Show 'em What You Got" - Bobby Electric

On "Show Em What You Got" Bobby Electric promises that this is your chance to "get up and do your dance." 

To encourage that feat, Electric provides a serious "hip hop" sound intended to make move. And he hits the spot seemingly effortlessly. The beat is ... well ... it's electric, and the chant of the chorus (and other portions of the song) propel the song forward.

"You got one chance," he repeats. Thanks Bobby for providing this chance. Ya don't wanna miss it. Do what you want. Do it freestyle, Do ya thang. Whateva it is, make sure ya dance. 

 

I don't know much about the Swag Geeks. But I wish I did. Because on their song "Love Me Right" they've fashioned an bouncy fusion of pop, jazz, R&B, and big band.

The song is driven by the vocals of Brooke Pennington who's intonation is Beyoncesque. The song is fast, fun, and infectious. It's groovy; a song that even Cab Calloway would've approved of. 

I love music, and I love discovering new music. Original music. Good music. And this song is all three. Not to mention, Geeks who claim to have swag? Forreal? Ya gotta like that idea ... 

"Sun is  Shining" is a 1971 reggae song originally recorded by Bob Marley. You probably knew that. You also probably know that it's been remixed multiple times. A remixed version actually topped the dance charts back in 99.

The song has been remixed again. This time by Jeff Rose - again as a dance tune - for the Global Fund. The Global Fund is an organization that invests money in saving lives, specifically against malaria,TB, and AIDS.

I like their cause. Sometimes here (in our first world mindset) we take so much for granted. It's easy to forget the plight of others. And while I can't guarantee it, I like their claims to hold themselves to a high accountability and responsibility. I mean, shouldn't we  all do that?

So where's the review, you're asking? I'm rambling on about good causes, remixes, and dance tunes, but I haven't said a damn thang about the song. Well look, I wanted to hate it.  I groaned when I saw it. Seriously, must we continue to defile Bob Marley tunes? But actually, I liked it a lot. Now I gotta be honest, I'm an old softie for a good cause. But that's not to take anything away from the song. It's got a good beat and you can dance to it. Not to mention, as I said, their cause is more than worthy, and that alone makes the single (and the album) worth purchasing.

Sunday, 01 December 2013 21:35

"Without Your Love" - Bang, You're Dead

Reverbnation describes Bang, You're Dead as "electronica/soul." Those are two genres that don't seem quite compatible. Yet, in their song "Without Your Love," the group pulls off the marriage of these two sounds quite nimbly.

Lead singer Jes Hudak is soulful (ala Elle Goulding), and her voice is both haunting and ethereal over a beat provided by her partner-in-crime DJ Quickie Mart. There is a yearning to the vocals that makes the song emotionally insistent, perhaps sad, but not melancholy. And the beat never overwhelmes the song. 

My suggestion: explore "Electronica/Soul" with Bang, You're Dead. Diversity is a good thing, and they've produced a quality sound and a quality song. I can dig it. As a matter-of-fact, it's going on my iTunes.

 

 

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