I’m back after a few weeks off and I’m pleasantly surprised by the musical offerings this week. Surprised because this final Friday of September has given us a couple of albums that are so good, they may make my top ten list (despite there only being a few months left in 2018). Today also gives us another offering from a young singer that I think we will be hearing a lot from for years to come. Enjoy your weekend ahead.
Jose James – Lean On Me (Bill Withers Covers)
Jose James should be a familiar name to KCRW listeners by now. Though he is mostly associated with jazz, over the last several years his music has evolved and gone more in the direction of R&B, soul, and pop. As he once said to me, “I’m not a jazz singer, I’m an artist, man. I like to create.” During this metamorphosis, James found his live set slowly changing and making room for one of his all time favorite writers, and one of mine as well, Bill Withers. First, it was “Sunshine” which he would immediately jump into after his song “Trouble” from his 2013 album No Beginning No End. Then “Grandma’s Hands” and “Use Me” followed shortly thereafter. Now comes a full album of James covering Withers called Lean On Me. Of course named after one of Bill Withers most famous songs. James is currently on a worldwide tour in support of the album and if you haven’t seen Jose James live, first of all shame on you, secondly, go! You can find a complete list of the dates here, which also includes a show in Los Angeles at the Troubadour on Nov 7th. Take a look at James’ versions of ” Hope She’ll Be Happier” and “Same Love That Made Me Laugh.” Both of which are featured on Lean On Me which is out today on Blue Note Records.
Fatima – And Yet It’s All Love
This London based, Swedish songstress is one of my favorite contemporary singers. Her stunning debut, Yellow Memories, made my top ten in 2014. So to say that I’m beyond excited about this new album would be a gross understatement. This latest release has been described as “an emotional, yet entertaining trip through the full cycle of a relationship…from the first meet, the blinding honeymoon period and struggle, right through the break-up and eventual fallout.” Despite, the unfortunate conclusion of this once promising union, this album displays Fatima’s positive resolve. Hence, the proclamation made by the title, And Yet It’s All Love. This album has everything her fans have come to love about her music, and if you don’t know her, expect to hear Fatima’s soulful voice with exquisite, future soul production from the likes of MNDSGN, J.D Reid, Taz Arnold, Swarvy and frequent collaborator, Natureboy Flako. And Yet It’s All Love is out today on Eglo Records. Check out the video for the single from the album, “Somebody Else.”
MAY – “Baby Save Me Tonight”
I discovered MAY earlier this year and from the first note I knew I was listening to something extraordinary. I almost think saying too much about MAY is doing both her and you a disservice, because within moments of hearing her voice, there’s nothing to say. This New York-based, Aussie singer will leave you speechless. I had the pleasure of debuting “Falling” last month, which is the first single from her forthcoming EP. Last week she released her second single, “Baby Save Me Tonight” and has released the visuals for it today. The video is a live recording of her performing the song at the famous Electric Lady Studios (Jimi Hendrix) in New York.