Posts Tagged ‘R&B’

A singer-songwriter who goes by the name of Reina Mora has been creating her own music for quite a while now, but that is after having spent time performing other people’s songs. Having branched out to create her own songs, Reina Mora is currently in the middle creating an entire album of original material. The singer-songwriter has already released the singles “If I Am a Stranger” (a cover of the song originally released by Bryan Adams) and the original tracks entitled “Passenger” and “Trouble“. But now, Mora is releasing a special track that has a very special meaning behind it. Much like the song “1-800-273-8255” from Logic, the new track from Reina Mora entitled “Screaming for the Sun” deals with the subjects of Suicide, Attempted Suicide and everything that happens afterward, subjects that happen to be all too close to me because of family and personal history. “Screaming for the Sun” is a track that features lyrics about trying to deal with the pain and suffering that goes along with depression, a main symptom of those looking for a way out. And then, there are the thoughts that circle inside causing a person to withdraw as they simply want to be alone. Some don’t ask for help, and that leads to thoughts of taking their own life. The lyrics of this song speak of living for the days when the sun is out, as being in the bright light of the orb helps some to feel less hopeless. To go along with the very real and emotionally draining lyrics, the track contains a light and easy feel to the R&B approach of the music. That light and easy approach to the music adds to the emotional feel of the overall track. Much like the song “1-800-273-8255” from Logic, “Screaming for the Sun” from Reina Mora touches on Suicide Awareness, a subject many would rather not talk about. But without talking, prevention may not be possible. While “1-800-273-8255” from Logic deals with the more extreme “I Don’t Want to Be Alive” theme, “Screaming for the Sun” is more about looking for a glimmer of hope in the darkness, even if it’s just a little glimmer.

To help spread the word about National Suicide Prevention Month (September) and to spread the word that there is help out there, the track “Screaming for the Sun” from Reina Mora is currently available for purchase with proceeds going to the organization called You Matter, a place where youth can turn to in order to talk about many things like Depression, Worries, Fears, and many other things along with Suicidal Thoughts. For more information on You Matter, check out their website. Also check out the site for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. And as always, you can simply call 1-800-273-8255 if and when the need arises.    

Two Cities One WorldSometimes to find true love, one must do a little traveling. And sometimes, it takes going to a location half a world away.

This happened with Anna Yanova, a Bulgarian-born singer-songwriter. When she was attending the Musicians Institute in Hollywood to refine her talents, she met up with Jared Cattoor, a St. Louis-bred guitarist who, in his own way, was also there to refine his talents. Together, they met and fell in love, only to end up getting married.

With Anna Yanova already creating and releasing a solo release, her music caught the ear of Cattoor and the two soon started creating music together. Because of whom they were before they ended up meeting, and since they had a shared interest in music, the duo created one musical project with a very apropos moniker. Together, Cattoor and Yanova are known by the name of Two Cities, One World.

With Jared Cattoor being American and Anna Yanova being Bulgarian, the music of Two Cities, One World incorporates several different styles of music to create a very multi-faceted sound that is truly international. Having already released one EP entitled Together back in 2014, the duo is currently celebrating their new album of original material. The newest release from Two Cities, One World is entitled Let the Whole World Disappear.

Let the Whole World Disappear from Two Cities, One World begins with the track “I See the Sun”. The track features a lyrical content that seems to suggest a very biographical approach as the words reflect the view of two people from different worlds being connected by just looking at the same sun in the sky. The musical approach has a very “pop-like” approach with some pop-rock flavor and plenty of jazz influence. The vocals from Anna Yanova also add to the jazzy feel of the music. The gentle feel of the smooth jazz-like music will be very accessible to a lot of people whose musical tastes vary widely.

The new release from Two Cities, One World continues with the track “Suga Daddy”. Bringing back some of the jazzy influence from the last track, “Suga Daddy” takes that jazz style and blends it with plenty of Funk flavor. While the last track contains an easy feel to the music, this track has a lot more energy. One element that helps to differentiate the first two tracks from each other is the inclusion of the electric guitar in “Suga Daddy”. That guitar playing shows off the talent of Jared Cattoor who adds a Carlos Santana-like feel to the music.

With the inclusion of many styles of music, Two Cities, One World creates music that could easily be categorized as “World Music”. To prove that categorization, the duo of Yanova and Cattoor include a bit of Yanova’s ethnic background in the album. The track “Footprints (Sledi)” contains a somewhat Hispanic approach to the music as well as the use of the Bulgarian language for the lyrics. The combination of the two different nationalities creates a very unique track that contains a very strong danceable feel to the music. “Footprints (Sledi)” could easily be a crossover candidate that would feel right at home in dance clubs in the U.S. and all over the world.

The duo creates one of the strongest moments on the Let the Whole World Disappear album with the track “Love Blues”. Although the track contains a certain amount of Blues influence, the song is as upbeat as anything else that came before. And just like “I See the Sun” that helped kick the release off, “Love Blues” is yet another track that feels like a love letter set to music. With the inclusion of horns on the track, the song is one track with a very wide amount of influences to its music.

As the Let the Whole World Disappear album continues, Yanova and Cattoor and the rest of Two Cities, One World changes the feel of the music from track-to-track. And while the previous tracks contained many different styles, the “title track” “Disappear” takes the music in yet another completely different direction. Keeping with the jazz influence that has weaved its way through most of the beginning of the album, the song “Disappear” combines the jazz with some light R&B to create a track that would feel just as welcome on a Smooth Jazz radio format as it would on a “Hip Hop and R&B” radio format.

Throughout the twelve tracks that make up the Let the Whole World Disappear album from Two Cities, One World, the music changes many times. Just when you get used to one feel or approach to the music, the duo of Anna Yanova and Jared Cattoor switches things up. From one track to the next, the release sounds like an entire radio dial on one release. This is truly an album for anyone and everyone.

For a taste of Two Cities, One World and their music, check out the video for the song “Suga Daddy“.


New Revolution cover artSinger/songwriter/artist (and alien?) Meresha is one of the rare people in the music industry that creates her own music and she does it her way. With Meresha still being in her teens, the young mindset of Meresha shows through in the way her music feels fresh. With the freedom to create her own music, Meresha takes her cues from many different influences. The music created by Meresha flows from one style to the next, changing as she goes.

On her new release of New Revolution, Meresha shows her talent as a singer-songwriter as she has created four tracks are very commercial in nature. Each track easily fits within the three and a half minute mark. Each song could very well fit onto commercial radio as they are just the right length for radio play.

The New Revolution release from Meresha begins with the track “Lemonade City”. The track begins with a gentle beat and a soft touch to the music itself. The easy feel to the R&B music on the track goes well with the lyrics about relaxing in the summertime. Meresha’s vocals are delivered with as gentle a feel as the music to the track. As the song plays out, you can almost imagine just hanging out with Meresha and her friends in the neighborhood as the make the best of the hot afternoon.

New Revolution continues with the title track. “New Revolution” begins with a vocal that is reminiscent of something that might have come from the dance group from the late 90s called La Bouche. And when the vocals from Meresha kick in, the track truly brings back the feel of the music from that time in music history. As the listener enjoys the music of the track, the lyrical content about “bringing back the past” starts to make sense as song really does have a very retro feel to it that will have the listener thinking back to the late 90s.

The new release from Meresha continues with the song “You”. While there are several tracks on the release that are good to listen to, “You” is easily the best track on the release. The track brings the R&B feel from “Lemonade City” and seems to kick up a notch. The way the track feels, it could easily have been written and produced by a major studio. The song has a very strong beat and an infectious musical feel. The simple lyrics also bring to mind much of what is played on today’s radio airwaves. If Meresha could produce something as strong as “You” on her own, what would she be able to create with the help of a major label?

With the final track of the EP, Meresha seems to wrap up the feel of her music very nicely by incorporating certain aspects of previous songs on the release. With a slight dance beat that will remind the listener of “New Revolution” and a stronger R&B feel from “You,” the song “August” has a strong musical base and a strong beat that is also gentle. Throughout the track, Meresha stretches her voice and shows her range as she sings. While she gave several glimpses of her vocal talent earlier in the EP, “August” is the track where the listener gets a real sense of what she can do.

For a young up-and-coming singer-songwriter, Meresha gives the listener a good indication of her talents. The four songs included on the New Revolution release are nicely varied which indicates a strong ability to write songs and to produce music. And her vocal delivery on the songs also gives a good indication of her abilities to perform. With a debut release this strong, one can only imagine where Meresha will go from here.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: ***** (five stars)

Click HERE for the video to “You” from Meresha.

The Get AheadPortland, Oregon seems to have no shortage of good bands that are producing some really good stuff to listen to. One of those bands that are currently creating some joyful noise in that city’s music scene is The Get Ahead. A five-piece outfit made up of Juliet Howard – Vocals, Nathan Earle – Vocals + Lead/Rhythm Guitar, Danny Johnson – Drums, Sean Farrell – Bass and Steve Johnson – Sax, The Get Ahead creates music that combine the best of artists like Sam & Dave and James Brown & The Famous Flames with a few other styles of rock and roll to create a fresh take on the music.

The Get Ahead is still a relatively young outfit and until recently had only released one six-song self-titled EP. However, that will change in a few weeks when the band releases their new full-length album entitled Volcano.

Volcano begins with the track “Could Be Better”. The guitar from Nathan Earle begins the track with a little soulful feel to the music and then Earle begins to sing lyrics about his life in a way that feels like a blues number until he sings “could be better but it could be worse,” the theme of the song. The vocals from Earle are joined by those from singer Juliet Howard to create a duet-like feel to the lyrics. The music blends Soul with a little R&B to create a strong track.

The quick-paced feel of “Could Be Better” gives way to a slower approach on the track “No One Even Knows,” a track that takes more from the Blues than anything else. The track features vocalist Juliet Howard who sings about leaving home. The sad lyrics tell of a woman who wants something more from her life even if she has to find that life on the streets. The track features some power guitar playing from Nathan Earle and a very soulful and sorrow-filled saxophone solo from Steve Johnson.

Stepping away from the sadness found on “No One Even Knows,” the band turns up the energy on the track “Little Devil”. The track about knowing your inner demons but continuing to look for the light has a great energetic feel and will get the listener moving. The energetic feel of the song is created with the help of bassist Sean Farrell and drummer Danny Johnson who seem to step out from the back of the band to create a much more powerful musical approach than the first two tracks on the release. Along with the energetic feel of the music, the back-and-forth vocal play between Juliet Howard and Nathan Earle help make for a fun listening experience.

Volcano from The Get Ahead continues with the track “Too Hot”. The track features vocalist Juliet Howard who sings about a man who is all looks but no substance: “You may have a fine body, but baby that’s all you got.” Lyrics like that and the simple yet addictive refrain to the song along with the smokin’ music to the song make for a track that could easily be a single.

After plenty of songs that feature very strong and energetic music, the band slows things down with the track “Moonstricken,” a track that features a soft, soulful feel to the music. The soulful playing of the guitar from Nathan Earle begins the track only to be joined by the soft playing from Steve Johnson. After a few moments, Earle’s vocals join the musical mix. Earle and Howard create a duet on the track that has plenty of beauty and magic to it. The slower song is a good change of pace from the earlier, heavier tracks as the listener gets to enjoy the playing ability of all of the band members as they add their “voices” to the track.

There are other artists out there today that create R&B music, but very few can create songs that feel like the stuff that was created by artists like Sam & Dave or even James Brown. The Get Ahead is one group that seems to have figured out the right way to create the music while giving it their own spin. If you are a fan of R&B and/or Soul music, give The Get Ahead and their album of Volcano a listen.

(The Get Ahead are currently in the middle of getting ready to release the newest album of Volcano. The album will be released on February 10th, 2015. Stay tuned to the band’s website for all the details.)
(For this and other releases, check out the band’s PR Firm, Palomine Media.)

Existing somewhere between Dance music and R&B, the musician known simply as The ConSoulTant is currently creating music that will have you running onto the dance floor and having fun. The ConSoulTant (who is also known as Selita) is an Atlanta-based artist who is in the middle of creating her first release. In the meantime, she has released her first single of “New Year, New You”. Released just in time for 2013 to turn into 2014, “New Year, New You” by The ConSoulTant is a very appropriate song for the time of year. The track features upbeat lyrics that go along with the idea of starting fresh with a new year. While the song does seem to lack variety in the lyrics as they are repeated throughout the track, the beat makes up for that as the track features a very strong bass line with enough bounce to the beat to have the listener craving more. The one thing that would be a disappointing aspect of the track “New Year, New You” by The ConSoulTant is the fact that it comes in at under 3 minutes. But that might be a good thing, as it guarantees that the listener will not get tired of the song. Another drawback is that with the song having the type of subject matter that it does, the track seems to have a short shelf life as the track will be pushed to the side once the second month of the New Year is upon us. But with that being said, “New Year, New You” by The ConSoulTant is a strong track and should be enjoyed now while the time is right. And besides, there is more to come from this up-and-coming artist, so enjoy the energy of this track now and stay tuned to hear what comes next.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin

 Rating: ***** (five stars)

Carla and CurtisWhen you take two different artists from different backgrounds and put them together to create something new, the results can either be good or bad. In the case of solo artists Carla Lynne Hall and Curtis Becraft (known together as Carla and Curtis), the results from their collaboration on their new release entitled Partake are obvious as the two artists combine their different backgrounds and musical tastes into one sound.

The reason that the sound continuously changes from song to song is because the two artists take turns as the head writer of the track. The tracks for the album come from albums already created by Curtis and Carla. When the two came together as one unit, the sound from each artist helped to create an interesting comparison to the other’s music. With two different sounds and feels going through the body of the release, Partake from Curtis and Carla continuously changes and that allows for a very fascinating and interesting release that will capture a lot of people’s attention.

Partake from Curtis and Carla begins with the album’s title track that was penned by Curtis Becraft. “Partake” is a song that has many facets to it. The song features a large amount of rock essence to it while also incorporating some R&B influence into the music and even Country influence in the form of twang on the lead guitar on the track, as well. The track has a strong drive to it because of the strong bass and drums that help lead the listener into the track. The saxophone on the song even adds more depth to the track.

With the track of “Supernova” from Carla Lynne Hall, the album takes on a very “pop-ish” feel to it. The track has a great hook and feels like something that could have been created by Macy Gray. The vocals from Carla are clear and bright while the music on the track feels as if it had been produced by a major record label. Having been written by Carla Lynne Hall and performed and produced by Christian Cassan, the song could absolutely find its way onto Top 40 radio.

While the track “Supernova” sounds as if it would belong alongside with songs from Macy Gray, the song “Crosstown Bus” from Curtis Becraft features a Lite Rock sound in the music that would have fit in with Top 40 songs that were on the radio back in the 70s. You can just imagine “Crosstown Bus” being played on the on an Adult Contemporary radio format before or after songs like “Tequila Sunrise” from The Eagles.

As the feel of Partake from Curtis and Carla changes from track to track, the song “Say Goodbye” from Carla features a very strong Funk vibe to it. The song helps to bring the two most important participants in the creation of Carla’s music to the forefront: Multi-instrumentalist and Producer Christian Cassan and Carla Lynne Hall herself. As the song was written by Lynne, you get to experience the writing and musical talent of Lynne as she performs the song with a lot of energy. While Christian Cassan helped bring out the best sound on the release as producer, he also added a lot to the music itself as he played many of the musical parts himself. With “Say Goodbye,” Cassan provided all of the music to the track and gave Carla Lynne the perfect musical backdrop on which to sing. Together, Christian Cassan and Carla Lynn create a song with a lot of style and power.

While the majority of Partake from Curtis and Carla finds the two personalities providing their own tracks for most of the release, they end up coming together near the end of the release and provide the listener with two live tracks (one original and one cover tune) of the two performing as one entity under the moniker of Curtis and Carla.

The first live track from Curtis and Carla is the original track of “It’s Good to Be Bad,” a song penned by Curtis Becraft. “It’s Good to Be Bad” features the guitar of Curtis Becraft and the duet vocals of Curtis and Carla. The song features a great sense of humor and is rather amusing.

The second live track from the duo on the album is Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough”. The track features Curtis on mandolin and Carla on lead vocals. The track allows to listener to hear the beautiful vocals from Carla without them being buried by a lot of other instruments. The single mandolin from Curtis Becraft, as well as his backing vocals, provides just enough music to make the track interesting to listen to.

The Partake release from Curtis and Carla is a release that provides the listener with two different sounds from two different artists at the same time. And while that could be a bad thing sometimes, the combination of the two artists does create a very unique and enjoyable listening experience. Several of the songs on the release are strong enough on their own to make the release with the purchase price, but the whole album is worth listening to.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: ***** (five stars)

There is a movement in the music industry to create fresh sounds by combining elements from different music genres. Illinois-based Midwest Hype is one particular band that has created a new style by taking rock and roll and mixing it with several other genres. The resulting style from the band takes music in a whole different direction while keeping lovers of rock and roll happy.

Midwest Hype contains seven musicians who all come together to create the band’s style. The band consists of George Matthew Prellwitz on lead vocals and guitar, Max Kepler on drums, Nathan Miller on bass, Kevin Krizmanich on keyboards, Ben Morrisey on sax and Scott Whitford on trumpet and Justin “Ideal” Diehl as the vocalist/emcee. Along with the rock base, the band’s sound also incorporates jazz, R&B and hip-hop together to make a style that everyone can get behind. The band took several of their songs and entered the studio, where they worked with producer Steven Gillis who took their music and created a very strong release entitled Dayglow. Dayglow from Midwest Hype is a six-song release. And while the release is rather short, the powerful music created by Midwest Hype will keep the listener hanging on to each note played by the talented seven-piece band.

Dayglow begins with the song “Behind Our Eyes”. Right from the very first note of this track, you get a very good indication of what the band is all about. The track contains a solid reggae base to the music. Along with the reggae, you hear plenty of jazz influence through the playing Ben Morrisey on sax and Scott Whitford on trumpet. And while the words from Justin “Ideal” Diehl are done in a hip hop rhythm, his words fit well with the rest of the track, without adding any unneeded attitude you usually get from hip hop emcees.

Diehl is the first member of Midwest Hype that takes the spotlight on “Elastic Booty Shorts,” the second track of Dayglow. He takes the lead on the vocals while the band really takes amount of jazz on the approach to the music of the track. The hip hop/jazz fusion on this rock hybrid song creates a strong and commercial radio-friendly song that many will find very entertaining.

While the song “All is Water” still contains the same mixture of jazz, rock, reggae that is found on the rest of the release, the smooth approach to the song is a little softer than the previous tracks, which makes it perfect to be played on today’s smooth jazz radio stations.

The beginning of the track “Runaway” brings back just enough of the memory of Bob Marley to give fans of straight reggae music a reason to smile with a sound that seems to be reminiscent of Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry”. George Matthew Prellwitz’s voice creates a strong focal point to draw the listener in. And when the band brings back the rest of their hybrid sound later in the track, they keep the energy up with Morrisey’s sax playing and Justin “Ideal” Diehl’s rapping.

The track “Do or Die” is probably the closest thing to a rock and roll feeling you’ll find on the release, as the band takes the song into a ska direction: The electric guitar from Prellwitz combined with the horns of Ben Morrisey and Scott Whitford make a strong rock/jazz combination that any ska lover will enjoy.

The Dayglow release from Midwest Hype comes to an end with the track “People of America”. Like a lot of the songs in reggae music, “People of America” has a strong message within the lyrics. The lyrics speak of enjoying the peace of our time.

Dayglow from Midwest Hype is a strong six-song release that incorporates many musical genres into one style that will make jazz fans, rock fans, and even hip hop fans happy. The songs created by Midwest Hype give the listener a clear view of the talent that each member of the band possesses, and the talent of the band as a whole. The only thing that may be a problem is the length of the CD: With only six songs, the release is over way too soon.

Click HERE to see the video to the band’s song “Do Or Die“.

You may have heard of the fabulous singer named Markeisha Ensley, but if you haven’t you’re missing out. Like Alicia Keys before her, Markeisha is not only a fine singer, she can also play the piano. But as a teacher and an artist as well, this New York-based singer-songwriter has so much to offer. With the style of music that Markeisha creates, it’s only a matter of time before the whole world becomes familiar with this up-and-coming musical artist.
Markeisha Ensley is currently in the middle of her solid release entitled Talk to Me. This five-song release takes the talent of this siger-songwriter and gives the world just a sample of what she can do. Talk to Me from Markeisha Ensley begins with the track “Maybe”. “Maybe” is a mid-tempo R&B track with a lot of emothion as Markeisha sings about her feelings to her love. The horns in the background help create a song that has more depth than most of the R&B songs out there today. This track also features solo from Ensley that shows off her ability on the piano.
The second track on the Talk to Me release is the song “Still Yours”. The song begins with a sound that will immediately remind you of “You Can’t Hurry Love” from the Supremes. The R&B/pop song itself also sounds like something that would have been released on the Motown record label back during the mid-fifties and would have sounded right at home on the radio at that time. Markeisha’s voice on this track is very strong and the layering effect used during the recording process gives you the idea that Markeisha is singing with herself. That layering effect adds stength to the song.
For the third song of the EP, Markeisha performs the title track to the CD. “Talk to Me” is a song that has much to offer the listener: With all of the different parts to the song, each listener will find something that will grab their attention. Whether it’s the R&B base to the music, the jazz undertones, the french lyrics, or Ensley’s beautiful voice, the title track of her new CD is probably the strongest song. You’ll find yourself wanting to hear the song over and over again.
“Break Free,” the fourth song of the new release from Markeisha Ensley (and the title track), begins with a 17-second a’capella section. If you wanted to hear what Ensley could do with her voice, this is the perfect time to check her out. After that initial 17-second break, the song continues with a strong R&B feel to the music. “Break Free” features a slightly stronger beat than “Talk to Me” and like the album’s title track, “Break Free” is a strong enough to find its way onto the radio as a single.
Markeisha slows the pace down for the fifth and final track of her new release. That final track is titled “Someone to Love”. “Someone to Love” is a beautiful love song about looking for that special someone. The song is a simple track that features Markeisha on vocals and keys with strings in the background adding some flavor to the emotional song. The emotion in the lyrics as well as the beautiful music make for a beautiful pairing and really create a wonderfully emotional song.
With the release of her new CD entitled Talk to Me, this is the perfect time to check out the talent and music of Markeisha Ensley. There is much to enjoy with her new release, and the music on the new EP will give fans of R&B a reason to smile.