Tag Archives: soul

Skii Bound By History

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When listening to Skii she reminds me of the elegant vocals of jazz singers in the past like Ella Fitzgerald but she mixes in a deep soul sound of the sixties and seventies as well, so her sound is not jazzy but more soulful with a r&b edge. Amy Winehouse had a similar sound on some of her songs. With tight solid arrangements and a cast of pros backing her Skii is knocking on the door of with a fine mesh of soulful songs that are powerful, all the while being sensuous and sexy drawing the listener into her web of emotion. If you listen to Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn and other such jazz singers, Skii pushes the boundaries of their styles by combining different elements into her jazz/r&b sound. Track three has more of pop feel much in the vein of Herb Alpert or Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66. Soft gentle flowing melodies that are a hail back to the by gone years of musical history. Track four is a slow ballad which is not my cup of tea. She however follows it up with RedFern a r&b rocker. Skii does fall into a groove with this track which has more in common with Stax/Volt sound that anything jazz. With solid guitar work taking the spotlight to great effect and with a solid horn arrangement backing the groove, this track will get your feet moving.
The next track, Small Talk proves to be a heartfelt r&b ballad. Somewhere in the dark recess of musical memory there seems to be a mix of George Benson guitar with Benny Johnson Visions of Paradise playing though this song. Track seven Angels is another slow ballad that really does not work on these ears.
However once again Skii proves she has plenty of ammo left with the next track, Lost on which she again proves she can handle mid and up tempo songs with excellent effect. Lost is similar to Small Talk with its r&b feel. Skii should have excellent success in the UK/European soul scene. America is like a desert for this style of music. Skii could play the tens of thousands of clubs in America and never move beyond a footnote in America. However as mentioned before fans of the UK/European soul scene can probably dig Skii and welcome her fine LP Bound By History with open arms. So if you live in America and you dig the old sounds of 60’s and 70’s soul and jazz, then here is a fine new release for your listening pleasure. Oh yea its New Classic Music For Tomorrow so turn off your oldies radio station and dig Skii and be Bound By History.
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Brick Fields – Shambhala

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Brick Fields Shambhala CD is filled with Blues and Soul as well as traces of Gospel and Americana that permeate the deep roots that flow from through the sounds of Shambhala and meshed into what is The Brick Fields Band. Positive messages, heartfelt lyrics, music that is steeped in the traditions of the south. Once again an artist uniqueness is their very appeal. If the band had been singing in the sixties you can image they would have landed on one of the great small soul labels of that era. 77 Records, Silver Fox, Today Records. Betty LaVette, Ann Sexton, Debbie Taylor fans will probably love Brick Fields. In England the Northern Soul scene will probably go crazy over Brick Fields. As will modern day soul fans of early Josh Stone.
Music transcends style when the artist is making something new out of something old. The Brick Fields Band creates a new feel from the old tried and true sound of their roots. Big Maybelle and Betty Swann comes to mind as well when I hear the Brick Fields Band. With great musicians backing her Brick soars along like a bird in the sky free to turn the melody anyway she chooses. No doubt this is a sound from the past that has been made fresh and new by a group of like minded musicians. Just listen to Good People with its Staple Singers feel and its universal positive message of love and peace. If Mavis is not a favorite of Brick it would be a surprise. Dig the groove, hear the roots, no hip, no hop, no rap, no sampling, no just real music by a real artist that delivers on track after track. A powerful CD of excellent music that never leaves one in doubt as to the great power of the Brick Fields band. Arkansas Rain, is one such example of how this band is mixing a bit of Americana into the CD. Showing how deep their artistic river flow. Brick is by far one of the most soulful artist I have heard in many years. Arkansas Rain transcends the genre one would try to put her into. However track eight the title track Shambhala truly shows the deep roots of Brick Fields with its old time country feel. Combined with her soulful vocals the songs has similar feel as the great Jimmy Cliff track Many Rivers to Cross. Excellent music is common, great music is rare. Gems of gleaming light for all of us to play over and over, the songs never getting old even forty fifty years on. This is what Brick Fields Band brings to the music world with there excellent CD Shambhala.
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Tini Grey-Shades of Grey

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Starting with track one, Turn Around you can hear the individuality of Tini Grey who has come into his own with this release Shades of Grey. Track two, Home Again, has a fun style that was popular many years ago. A bit of rock and soul music mix that soars and reminds one of music from many years ago. The third track Hold On delivers with its soulful vocals and harmonies. Tini Grey has a more soulful sound than most male artists heard today. It’s seems that he has listened to many soul records from the sixties and seventies and does an excellent job of creating a new sound that reminds one of the glory days gone by but yet soars to new heights with his rock solid groove and passionate vocals and excellent songwriting. Tini Grey is the most real soulful male vocalist heard in many years. Hold On gets your feet moving and urges your body to get up and move, much like the Style Council’s, My Ever Changing Moods and their great tribute to soul music.
Record Player is track five and its starts out with a slow bluesy acoustic guitar, with lyrics that ooze the soulful sounds of his vocals and push the song to its limit.
I Feel Lucky is a new classic track that really reminds one of songs like My Pledge of Love by the Joe Jeffery Group from 1969. Tini captures these old grooves and makes them sound brand new for audiences who most likely have never listened to the roots of soul music. With a bit of Tyrone Davis, some Bill Withers and some Gamble Huff style song writing, Tini makes music that is rich in history but not stuck in the past. Check out Just Smile, you can feel its groove taking you away. This is positive music, music that makes your smile, you might sing along, but you will want to get up and groove to the positive sounds of Just Smile
The track is smooth without being slick delivering heartfelt vocal which is not over processed so the truth and soul of the singer comes through. Record labels always seem to over process music these days. But Tini Gray has produced a solid rock and soul cd that offers plenty of soul with real emotions and honest music oozing from the grooves of the cd. Music is a magical thing and Tini Grey has captured one of the most magical music releases heard by a male singer in many years.
Weatherman lends its self to a more pop jazz sound which although well done, simply does not have the soulful sound of some other tracks but does show his versatility style, though this track has more in common with artist like Harry Connick, Jr. than soul artist of the sixties.
This is artist will bring smiles to the faces of many people who like the older styles and always say there is no good music anymore. Well here it is don’t waste any more time, don’t debate it, this is the real thing, go buy it today.
This is the best male vocal album of 2012 hands down. Not because Tini is the greatest singer but because he captures the soul of each song. Forget the Grammy awards, this is the real music you have all been missing.
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OLGA interview

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Chatting with Olga who’s new album is a tour de force that features Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars on guitar. She talks about her life and music.

Tell us a little about yourself? Where you born and where did you go to school etc?

I am full Austrian, born in San Francisco and grew up there and in the
bay
area. I went to the Nueva School and had a Yehudi Menuin music
scholarship
there. Thereafter I went into public high school and got heavily
involved
in the drama department there and community theater (San Mateo
Performing
Arts Center)
When did you first start listening seriously to music?

As far back as I can remember. Probably really noticed it about age three or four

I wrote my first song when I was four.
What music were you listening to back then?

Classical music and then when I was 7 I got a radio and listened to the
songs on the radio (80’s pop).

As you grew up when did you start singing?
As long as I can remember. I wrote my first song when I was 4.

Did you play in lots of cover bands growing up?

No, I did not play in any.

What kind of styles were you playing?

 Growing up did members of your family play music?
No, no one did though on my mother’s side of the family there were some
classical musicians but they were all deceased by the time I arrived.
6. How has music affected your outlook on life?
It is the first thing I hear when I wake in the morning and the last
thing
I hear when I go to sleep. I even hear it in my sleep sometimes… So
it
is a part of my consciousness and were it not to be there, I would feel
like I am missing a limb or something…

The influences in life, family, church, teachers, friends,
neighbors,
and experiences all mesh into a fabric of life. These subjects tend to
come out in most people’s songs. Are there one or two songs that have
specific meaning to you?

They all have meaning to me! And when I cover someone else’s song, it
is
also because there is some inherent meaning to me and I connect with
it.
The best songs in my opinion are universal and they may have been
written
at a certain time about a certain person or event, but they will adapt
to
whatever situation you find yourself in presently.

Many people pick one or two artists that they feel are their main
influences, which artist would you say had a major influence on your
music?

Jessie Mae Hemphill and Peggy Lee.
Music is a tough business, especially these days, what have you
been
able to do to better position yourself for success?
I started working in movies!

Anything specific you can share with other struggling artist.
Maintain a positive attitude which is extremely hard to do especially
these days. I am still a struggling artist myself and this is really
the only advice I can give; to stay mentally and physically sound.

Do you feel the local artist influenced you more or are you
influenced
more by the music you listen too?

I am mostly listening to the music that is in my head. I don’t listen
to
much otherwise as I find it interferes with my thoughts and ideas.
Otherwise I listen to old country and blues and 80’s pop songs when I
need
a break. And Italian language tapes and German podcasts!

Do you write all of your own songs?
Yes.
How do you come up with song ideas to write about?

Life. I usually write about first hand experience otherwise I make it a
first person experience in the song.

You have Cody Dickinson, of the North Mississippi All-stars on
your cd as a guest artist, how did you meet Cody and get him involved with
your cd?

I’ve known Cody and his brother Luther for over 12 years now; we met
when
I still lived in Boulder, CO and worked as a radio DJ. I met Cody first
actually, at a Ozomatli show where they opened up for them and also
Galactic. When I saw them play I was really struck by the fact that
they were young white kids my age playing the blues and that was so rare for
me to encounter. In addition, they were into the same style blues I was
(north MS hill country). Will-Dog of  Ozomatli ended up introducing us
(the dressing rooms were next to each other) and said “you guys need to meet
cause you’re both into the same things” and that was that. We are
kindred
spirits and playing music with him is intuitive not to mention
incredibly
fun.

I was working with another friend, Winn McElroy who produced,
engineered and mixed the album. I had laid down the guitar and scratch vocals
(most of which were kept) and told him I was going to have Cody play drums.
I had already talked to Cody about wanting to make a sort of 80’s pop
record and he loves 80’s pop. When he came in to do drums, he got inspired and
said “hey let me add some bass to that” and then the next thing was
that we ended up doing the whole thing together. It took about a year. Winn
also played guitar and bass guitar on a couple of tracks and he is
the one who took everything and made it into the polished finished sound we
were looking for. Winn really knows his stuff!

Do you think you might team up with Cody again in the future?
Yes, for sure. We have already been discussing ideas for new songs and
doing some recording again here soon.

Currently, what is happening in your career that you would like to
share with the readers?

Well the industry is changing so much it has become more and more
difficult to make a living in music. I realize that you can’t fight the
change you just have to survive and adapt to it somehow. I just read an
article that the major labels will cease pressing cds in 2012, which I
knew was coming; people don’t buy cds anymore and mostly only download
songs. Artists struggle more now than ever before and it’s ever more so
challenging to keep a positive frame of mind and attitude. What else
can you do?

The next immediate goal is to make 3 music videos for the new album. I
believe that people like to see the visual along with hearing the music
and so that’s my plan. I am also working in the film and television
industry quite a bit these days so I will continue doing that. My short
film “Statue” which I co-star in and features my music, just won
another award for Best Short Film at the Ocelot Robot Film Festival in Los
Angeles in early November.

Is there anything you would like to add or share with the readers?

Cody and I are playing a Christmas show in Como, MS on December 10th.
Here is a facebook link to the info. We plan on doing more soon!

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=241932529194270

Thank you again Olga for doing this interview. Thanks for taking the
time
to share your thoughts and plans with our readers.

As Always,

Olga

http://www.laolga.com

http://www.twitter.com/olgabluesbabe

http://www.imdb.me/Olga

http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/olga/id446559285Olga  featuring Cody Dickinson

Olga Whatever You Want featuring Cody Dickinson

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Olga Bringing You Classic Music Today


Olga Whatever You Want  (Featuring Cody Dickinson
Olga starts her release out with What Ever You Want, which is reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac Rumors period of the seventies. They Want More the second track has a more laid back feeling with her easy going vocals belying the lyrical condemnation of greed, its never been put so sweet and angelic. A quite contrast in musical sound and lyrical substance, which brings to mind Woody Guthrie and the last lyric to This Land Is Your Land, “I wonder if this land is still made for you and me.” The dark nature of the lyrics meaning with the tongue in cheek music and vocal combination give the song contrast that works well. On the fourth track, Olga hits her stride with Just Take Your Time, an easy flowing track that celebrates its simplicity and it is just a standout track, radio will go gaga over. It has an easy flowing melody steeped in the music of the sixties with a very catchy melody that creates on a warm fuzzy feeling in the mind. As does Birds of Sorrow, which also show the depth and the richness of her vocals, steeped in soul her vocals sail and soar her to new heights with the infectiousness that you finds you tapping your foot too immediately. It too is equally deserving of hit status. Being from Louisiana I am sure Olga has heard her share of great female soul singers, country and pop singers, the whole area is flooded with great talent and Olga shines like a lighting’ bug in the night, chasing her dreams like she probably did as a kid in the yard at dusk.

Olga works best in the songs that have an easygoing feel to them. It Comes and It Goes

Is another one of those tracks that has a very catchy melody with pure pop leanings the track delivers combination of country and soul music.

Little is Known a rock and soul stew of Olga gumbo. Brings to mind Shelby Lynne as does a few of the other tracks, but Olga is Olga so you only hear whispers of the Alabama Lady Shelby Lynne in any of the tracks,

On Better In Some Way, she returns to the easygoing sound, she seems to work best in. However, she follows that up with It is What it is which flows with a bit of Latin Jazz beat with classic soul hard edge style vocal.

Don’t Look Back is a return to the tried and true easy soulful sound, Most artist are always searching for that sound and I believe that Olga has it down with her easy going, soulful sound that is easy on the ears, easy on the mind.

Her tasteful arrangements and the infectious melodies stand on there own and that is why you will find yourself playing this release repeatedly. If you are a fan of Dusty Springfield, Shelby Lynne, Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline that long line of female singers that that grabs your heart and soul and never let us go then you will understand Olga.