Joonie - Acoustic Love (2010)

Joonie
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Calvin Gary, Jr. was an aspiring songwriter/musician who wanted someone to notice that he was bringing a unique package to the R&B and soul music table.  As the artist called Joonie was pursuing his lifelong dream at age twelve, he taught himself to master several instruments and perfect his songwriting skills.  On the strength of a demo discovered by rapper/producer Warren G, Joonie was signed to a major company.  However, he became disenchanted by the superstar approach and yearned to make music on his own terms.  After working with American Idol graduates Ruben Studdard and Elliot Yamin, Joonie was ready to showcase his wares as a solo artist.

His debut, Acoustic Love, for the most part is a refreshing alternative that bucks the current hard-hitting, auto-tune generated R&B/hip-hop trends.  Many of Joonie's lyrics honor the female in the love relationship (the title track, "Just the Way You Are," "Smile").  He is also unafraid to show that men are just as vulnerable ("Delilah").   Occasionally, Joonie works his up-tempo grooves for the radio ("So Fly").  Yet what makes Acoustic Love standout are his deeply honest lyrics graced with eloquent acoustic piano, keys and percussion.   Things start skidding a bit towards the end with the undistinguished tracks "Lay It Down" and "Stalker," but overall on Acoustic Love Joonie sets a stake in the ground as an artist who should garner well-earned respect in the urban music industry.    

Vocals:  3.0 stars
Music:  3.0 stars
Lyrics:  3.0 stars
Production:  3.0 stars
SoulTracks Call:  Recommended

By Peggy Oliver