L. Young - 4 EVER Young (2016)

L. Young
4ever_young_l._young.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

4 EVER Young, the new project by L. Young, confirms the virtue of knocking, seeking and asking. December is typically a slow month for music releases, as our fearless leader Chris Rizik, reminded me when I asked him if he had anything else for me to review. Indie artists need time to be stressed out by the holidays just like everybody else. A few moments later, Chris sent me an e-mail asking if I wanted to review 4 EVER Young, the new project by L. Young.  I was familiar with the Kentuckian’s work, having favorably reviewed his 2011 album Love Is a Verb, which made the decision to say yes an easy one.

Reviewing 4 EVER Young happens to be a rewarding decision because it gave me an opportunity to partake in one of the most enjoyable parts of this job – witnessing the artistic growth an individual as a vocalist, lyricist, musician and producer.

4 EVER Young, the new project by L. Young, confirms the virtue of knocking, seeking and asking. December is typically a slow month for music releases, as our fearless leader Chris Rizik, reminded me when I asked him if he had anything else for me to review. Indie artists need time to be stressed out by the holidays just like everybody else. A few moments later, Chris sent me an e-mail asking if I wanted to review 4 EVER Young, the new project by L. Young.  I was familiar with the Kentuckian’s work, having favorably reviewed his 2011 album Love Is a Verb, which made the decision to say yes an easy one.

Reviewing 4 EVER Young happens to be a rewarding decision because it gave me an opportunity to partake in one of the most enjoyable parts of this job – witnessing the artistic growth an individual as a vocalist, lyricist, musician and producer.

Young’s growth as an artist is evident from the album’s first track, “Let’s Tonight,” a sunny yet funky party jam where the singer, his lady and their friends leave the stresses of job worries and those bills at home and hit the club. This is the kind of party song that was regular back in the day when music was made by adults for adults. That is when groups like The O’Jays and Bell and James made classics such as “Livin’ For the Weekend,” and “Livin’ It Up (Friday Night)” that acknowledged both the desire to escape from the worries of the world for a couple of hours and the realization that those worries you left at home are still at home.

An a cappella number is the best way for a vocalist to showcase his chops, and Young delivers on the shimmering “Cherry Wine,” a track that serves as a platform for a muscular baritone that can float into the buttery tenor and even falsetto range when necessary.

The next cut, “Trust,” finds Young remaining in the doo-wop harmonic range, while also added syncopated hand claps, gospel influenced piano and a deep funk bass line to tell a story of a man who can’t understand the lack of trust that he receives from his woman: “I don’t understand the reason you are looking through my phone. You should know by now that I left all those other women alone.”

The piano ballad “Play On” finds Young adding his unique take to another recurring theme in soul music – that of the heartbroken man who adopts the emotional mask of the tragic clown to conceal his pain over love lost. The vulnerability that Young displays in this track as he sings accompanied only by a piano belies critics who say these qualities no longer exist in R&B.

The album closes strong with the mid-tempo smooth funk of “Forever My Girl,” a track that finds Young describing the impossibly of him letting his lady go because her qualities have been imbedded in his mind.

The old saying goes that closed mouths don’t get fed, and by speaking up my ears received one last treat in 2015 that is sure to remain high on my playlist well into the upcoming year – the happy return of L. Young. Highly Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
Featured Album - Will Downing - "Romantique, Part 1"
Featured Album - The Soul Rebels - "Poetry In Motion"
Album of the Month - Plunky & Oneness - "Afroclectic"
See our Christmas Playlist! - A SoulTracks "Merry Christmas" - Now on Spotify

Leave a comment!