I read the name Alice Russell and pictured some kind of folk artist. Boy, was I surprised to see a woman with bleached blonde hair, a leather jacket and a funny t-shirt. And then her band started playing low groovy soulful music.
Russell is a classic soul-infused singer — close your eyes and it’s easy to hear a Southern drawl, but truth be told, she’s a Brit. American-style R&B from Britain has a long history dating back to the 1960s with Dusty Springfield and on up through 21st-century artists like Adele. As for Alice Russell, she’s been making great soul music for 10 years, and her arrangements on To Dust often include a dose of electronics.
I didn’t love her voice when the first song “To Dust” started. But as soon as the chorus kicked in I was hooked–wow, what a great voice she has and with the full band playing behind her it sounded amazing (the sampled backing singers was a bit flat, but otherwise OK). And by the second chorus, man she is belting out the song—it’s great. The Adele comparisons are spot on.
Then she hit Bob’s gong at the end of the song and told us that it was an ode to the taxman.
“For a While” is a great big soul song. The drummer gets some great sounds out of that one drum he has. And they keys sound great too. I love the middle part where there’s some seriously long pauses in between beats–they are all wonderfully in sync. At the end of the song she yells “I didn’t gong!” and then makes a peculiar hand gesture about a turtle.
“Heartbreaker” has such a classic-sounding riff it’s hard to believe it’s a new song. I like it a lot (although I don’t care for the chanted “when it falls, when it breaks” by the guys).
I have to agree with this blurb about her:
To Dust is Russell’s fifth album, but the hiatus that followed 2008’s Pot of Gold may be the reason too many people don’t yet know what she’s doing. This stuff is as powerful as the work of any American singer making soul music in the 21st century. If you haven’t heard of her yet, think of this as a well-overdue introduction.
[READ: May 15, 2016] I Kill the Mockingbird
I bought this book from the bookstore in Bethlehem, PA. I don’t buy too many books these days but I saw this one in the PA authors section (and it was 20% off) and the title sounded intriguing. So I grabbed it.
And I’m I glad I did. This book was outstanding. I loved it from the first chapter and was thrilled that the ending was also very satisfying–not easy given the way the story was heading for a conclusion that could have gone in many different directions.
So what’s this about? Well, there are three kids, Lucy Elena and Michael. They are at the heart of the story. I loved loved loved that these three were great friends who’d known each other forever. And they were all big big big readers. Such an awesome start to a story. (more…)