The Soul Sessions
First Appeared at The Music Box, October 2003, Volume 10, #10
Written by John Metzger
Mark your calendar: 2004 is going to be the year of Joss Stone. Sheís 16 years old, hails from the English town of Devon, and most important of all, can move mountains with her towering voice. Stone was in the process of recording her debut ó still scheduled for release in early 2004 ó when she became sidetracked by an obsession with the soul sounds of the late í60s and early í70s, and over the course of just a few days, she put together the stunning array of music featured on the The Soul Sessions. Throughout the album, Stone reinterprets songs such as The White Stripesí I Fell in Love with a Boy, John Sebastianís I Had a Dream, and Harlan Howardís Chokiní Kind, while putting her own stamp on classics such as John Ellisonís Some Kind of Wonderful, Carla Thomasí Iíve Fallen in Love with You, and Aretha Franklinís All the Kingís Horses.
It certainly helps that the instrumentation employed on The Soul Sessions supports Stone by capturing the ambience of a bygone era. Alternately backed by The Roots and a few of the forgotten stars of the Miami scene ó including organist Timmy Thomas, pianist Benny Latimore, and vocalist Betty Wright, who also produced the album ó Stone takes the listener on a journey that magically connects past and present through the sheer perfection of her voice. Indeed, it all comes back to Stoneís glorious vocalizations, which channel something far greater than her age should rightfully allow.
Unlike most modern day singers and stylists, Stone tends not to clutter the material by uttering more intonations than are absolutely necessary. Itís a lesson she learned from Wright, and itís a large part of why The Soul Sessions works so well. Stone understands that simplicity can convey a mood far better than complexity, and she uses her voice to sing a song rather than showoff her talent. In other words, itís not about her, itís about the music, and that makes all the difference in the world. Ĺ
The Soul Sessions is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box