One of the most satisfying soul albums of the last year is now available with four additional tracks. Ever since Avery Sunshine‘s debut album in 2010, which included the most beautiful ballad “Like This”, she’s been on my radar. And recently she even opened for Gregory Porter. Her last album “Twenty Sixty Four” is now re-released with four additional tracks.
The beauty and power of her voice is overwhelming throughout – most of the tracks were written by her and her husband Dana Johnson. And while it was slightly overlooked by me when it came out last summer (hence no review here), the whole album is still far above your average soul/r&b fare, not only because of Avery’s exceptional voice, but also because of the superior songs. My favorite still is “Jump” with its majestically sophisticated mellow groove and an uplifting lyric. It is destined to become a future soul classic. Simply beautiful stuff. Opening track “Come Do Nothing” is mesmerizing with a sexy background vocal arrangement and “I Just Don’t Know” sounds a bit like Chaka at her mid 70s best with Rufus – at least re: phrasing. The jazzy backup is tremendously fascinating. I also can’t get enough of the sweetness that is contained in “Kiss And Make It Better” – it also seems to come right out of the 70s books. There are not a lot of singers around who can blow me away with a simple “ooh”. The handclaps are there, the warm Rhodes and a sophisticated vocal arrangement. Bliss!
Motown says hello on the feel-good stomper “Used Car” and some serious r&b ballad can be found in “Heaven Is Right Here” which features Mr. Talkbox. Some very effective strings grace the super sweet love song “The Ice Cream Song”. Farnell Newton is behind the trumpet arrangement and the trumpet itself on the deep and funky ballad “Everything I’ve Got”. Going back to my favorite Earth, Wind & Fire period, circa 1975 “That’s The Way Of The World”, is the title track. It’s grooving like hell and makes me want to go back to my record collection to start spinning all night. Avery’s voice is amazing on this one. Simply amazing. The Gospel suits her damn well too. Proof is the rousing “Prayer Room”. As for the new tracks, things start to swing on the acoustic “Forever’s Not Long Enough” (she easily outsings most “jazz” singers out there) and there is an alternate version of “Come Do Nothing” with Marcus Baylor on drums and the whole tune being stripped bare – the Rhodes are more prominent here it seems. A great version. Avery turns to the blues and James Brown on the funky “No Time For Mess” and she comes up with a veritable cover of Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend”.
Please make sure to catch Avery Sunshine on her upcoming European tour!
4/24 Rotterdam, Bird
4/25 Amsterdam, Paradiso
4/26 Utrecht, Tivoli
4/27 Paris, Bizz’Art
5/01 Berlin, A-Trane
5/02 Hamburg, Mojo