~Brother EDEN Douglas.
23 April 2006 - New York, NY
1. UNRESTRAINED - CALVIN NOWELL
His name is Calvin Nowell. His story is absolutely heart-warming. He sings like an angel and I'm sure he might even feel like one, as he's getting to live out his life in his music like few ever get an opportunity to. Once weighing in at over 450lbs, on a 6'4" frame, complete with a 60inch waist, he says in his bio that his emotional baggage far outweighed his physical restrictions. Losing over 215lbs allows him not only the mobility to be a blessing, but the physical witness is ever before his audience as to what a strengthened inner will and a renewed faith and trust in the creator can accomplish. Listen to UNRESTRAINED and I dare you to start this week without a renewed and invigorated spirit. Calvin, you're worthy of christianing this inaugural blog with your incredible song.., and testimony. May God forever bless your gifts.
2. INDISCRIMINATE ACT of KINDNESS - FOY VANCE
Much has been written about the artistry of Foy Vance. He's been called a cross between Stevie Wonder and Richie Havens. Referred to as a gospel fueled Pearl Jam. Even called a 'giant' by Pete Townshend and at present, he's the opening act for one of my favorite vocalists, Bonnie Raitt. And, few even know he's on MySpace.. and that's the beauty of reviews like this if they serve to point out an artist that's 'accessible' for a moment in time and if you're blessed enough to hear them in such humble surroundings, please take a moment to listen and let them know how much they mean. On his EP "Birth of the Toilet Sessions Tour" (with tunes recorded all over the UK in various 'water closets' for their unique acoustics), FOY does a cover of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' that I promise could make the most hardened heart love MJ's music all over again. My song of the week is INDISCRIMINATE ACT of KINDNESS and trust me, I couldn't possibly prepare you for what you're about to witness. Now go listen, and come back for the rest of the list. Thank you FOY for being 'wide open' to the possibilities of the voice and being a vessel for spirit.
3. WHO YOU ARE - CRAIG LYONS
I'm out here, listening, not only for polished, undiscovered acts of varying degrees, but for the growth of an artist, as well. I've reviewed Craig a few times now and with the risk of showing some favoritism, I must draw attention to this tune that he's written about his recent travels and experiences in New York City. He's got a story to tell that not only reveals his heart but his evolution as a lyricist and musician. Remember he's playing all the instruments in his tunes as a rule, so his artistry is revealed deeper than just that of a mere singer-songwriter. Often when someone is this gifted it's difficult for them to 'find their place'. Consider that with more members in a band, certain duties can be shared, like the promotion of your music.., but when you're a literally a one man band.., well you get the point. So forgive me for once again drawing attention to what I believe is a remarkable tune, from a humble man and give a listen to WHO YOU ARE and congratulate Craig, if you will, on this achievement of spirit and song. Living alone in a lake house in Ohio, and writing in a vacuum, he would certainly 'feel' your love in a profound way.
4. THE MOMENT - YAMIT MOMO
I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard Phoebe Snow sing Poetry Man.., and you will remember the first time you hear Yamit Momo sing, too, They have similar voices and Yamit seems to be to her generation what Phoebe was to mine. I promise you. She's magical.., and mysterious and is a sheer powerhouse of a vocalist that will undoubtedly find her audience in due time. If you're lucky enough to live in London you can find her with guitarist Neil Levene, as they have been gigging regularly at venues like Monkey Chews "whilst continuing to write and develop a style of their own. Within the last year a signed songwriter, music promoters, music producers, a film maker, a graphic designer and numerous musicians have all gotten involved to create a small network surrounding Yamit, producing over 2 albums worth of material, a website, a documentary in the making. Music is, simply and sweetly, Yamit's destiny." In short, this is that moment, pay attention to your surroundings and make a mental picture of the first time you heard Yamit sing THE MOMENT. Uncovering her gift since the age of eleven.., she's finally matured into 'that voice' she had from such a young age. I wanted to 'hold out' till the next official issue.., but this week, I listened again, and I just had to 'do something' to bring added attention to someone so talented.
5. SICK n TIRED - ERNESTO
Ernesto is such an enigma. He's got so much going on, it might appear he couldn't possibly 'need' anyone to promote him but I know that in the end, regardless of his schedule, he always finds the time to write to his friends and update them on his life and his first love.., his music. Scheduled to have been a part of the debut launch of SOUND MIND and MUSIC REVIEW, his schedule was so overwhelming he wasn't able to fully participate for being truly in the trenches with this new release in it's infancy, that just recently dropped on Columbia Japan. FIND the FORM promises to take us beyond the musical landscape where A NEW BLUES seemingly left off. While on his page please listen to SICK n TIRED.., and pay attention to the other tunes, there, too, especially IF IT BE YOUR WILL (tapped for the closing tune on the original debut) and TRAFFIC featuring Mercies May. The music these Swedish artists are making is full of ingenuity and processes lyrics that are truly breathing new life in these rhythms and beats. It's a great tune and artist to close out this week's session, but just know there's much more where these came from and with a touch of encouragement, I'll be back next Sunday, with another edition of SOUND MIND and MUSIC's WEEK in REVIEW.