Sac Soul Round-Up
Bet Ya Didn’t Know
Sacramento Had So Much Soul
Fender Rhodes electric piano chords. Funky bass lines. Sultry and meaningful lyrics. And you thought you left all that behind with those dusty old vinyl LP’s in your mama’s garage. No, your ears don’t deceive you--soul music is alive and well.
But I’m not talking about the relentless AutoTune drivel that passes for music on urban FM radio these days; these are sounds you have probably noticed in other places: digital music channels on cable T.V., iTunes, MySpace pages, etc. Or maybe you’ve stumbled onto Sacramento mega-station V101.1’s new Sunday evening HomeGrownSoul Show--2 hours of Northern Cali’s finest…struttin’ their unsigned stuff.
Under the guise of what is now called Nu-Soul (Neo Soul is so 90’s passé), a slew of young, independent artists are still writing , recording, and paying homage to the likes of Donnie Hathaway, Chaka Khan, and Earth, Wind, & Fire.
And Sacramento has become a hotbed for them in just the last couple of years. Mostly unsigned or indie, these local artists (between Sac and the Bay Area) are promoting their own music and projects online, doing shows, and taking advantage of the do-it-yourself recording phenomenon that has exploded in the 2000’s.
What follows is a quick round-up of who’s who and what’s what. It’s probably a no-brainer that at some point in the near future, Souls&Sounds will take an in-depth look at one or more of these artists. But for now, keep your ear to the street--there’s always some new Nu-Soul on the SacTown horizon.
Lush and experimental; shades of Badu.
All the way LIVE…on stage and on the business tip, too. Mr. Devon hosts and promotes the HomeGrownSoul open mic on Thursday nights @ Marilyn’s, Sacramento, CA.
Honesty in her voice and in her songwriting. Not afraid to put a message in the music--a rarity today.
Status: Signed, Little Dizzy Records
One to watch. Another transplant to the area; a native of Chicago, he now resides in SacTown. Mr. James was just recently featured on the soundtrack to the Sony Pictures flick “Not Easily Broken”.
Sacramento’s resident professional. By way of Oakland, CA, Amar has toured extensively with Tony! Toni! Tone!, replacing original lead singer Raphael Saadiq.
Soul with an edge; unpredictable flavors. Ms. Sene has a well-tuned commercial ear, with wide-ranging material.
Gritty, laid back modern Soul. Hints of Al Green and Terence Trent D‘Arby.
Powerful, classic tone. Whitlock flavors his brand of Soul with R&B stylings.
Extremely talented and very infectious! Brainy, quirky Soul anchored by some nicely crafted songwriting. Ms. Allo may very well set the new standard for SacTown songstresses.