UK soul singer-songwriter Tony Momrelle, probably best known for his longstanding work with Incognito since 2002, has released his new album “Keep Pushing”. And the similarity to Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway is, once again, striking, as witnessed by the opening title track. Well maybe except for the rap part.
With “Pick Me Up”, he goes the acoustic retro soul route, with a catchy, poppy hook, funky guitar and brass. He also covers one of my all-time favorite soul tunes: the Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway classic “Back Together Again”, heavenly arranged back in 1979 by James Mtume, Gwen Guthrie and Luther Vandross, gets a brilliant treatment here, luckily sticking close to the original. And Tony’s duet partner is Chantae Cann who was recently featured on a promising new single by South African Greg Dean (“Unconditional Love”) which also features Jarrod Lawson.
And the sympathetic and easy-on-the-ear soul tracks continue with the flowing stepper “A Million Ways”. Tony delivers a sweet, piano-backed ballad as well (“It’s Real”) which reminds me of the more tender moments of recent Frank McComb compositions. And there is some 60s feel, kind of Raphael Saadiq-influenced retro soul complete with harmony backing vocals on the irresistible “Come And Get It”.
There is a more alternative-singer/songwriter approach on the folksy “Lay It All Down” and a Raul Midón moment on the percussive, guitar-laden “Different Street”. More handclap, uplifting soul on “This Could Be Us” and bittersweet soulful mid-tempo bliss on “All The Things You Are” (not the standard). The album concludes with yet another Donny Hathaway-influenced soul ballad: “Remember” is a lush and exuberant finish.
Tony Momrelle performs at London’s Bedroom Bar on December 11th and returns to Berlin in February.