Carvalho - All the Things You Know To Be True (2013)

Carvalho
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It must be a great luxury for an artist to be called upon to play several instruments in several genres. Robert Carvalho was a popular collaborator in his home country even while he was developing his solo career. When not touring with his band, The Xtended Family, the Birmingham, England native accompanied the R&B trio The Jones Girls on flute, played bass guitar with jazz’s The Soothsayers and served as a keyboardist in the backing band for dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. Though he is a versatile musician and is comfortable expressing himself in whatever style moves and grooves him, Carvalho’s silky smooth tenor feels right at home with roots Reggae and dub. In 2008, he waxed two singles, “Dream” and “You Got It,” for English DJ/producer Dialect’s dub/riddim specialty company, Arkital Records. Three years later, Carvalho joined Trevor McKenzie on Introducing Robert C: At the Labs, a series of roots reggae and dub companion tracks.

It must be a great luxury for an artist to be called upon to play several instruments in several genres. Robert Carvalho was a popular collaborator in his home country even while he was developing his solo career. When not touring with his band, The Xtended Family, the Birmingham, England native accompanied the R&B trio The Jones Girls on flute, played bass guitar with jazz’s The Soothsayers and served as a keyboardist in the backing band for dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. Though he is a versatile musician and is comfortable expressing himself in whatever style moves and grooves him, Carvalho’s silky smooth tenor feels right at home with roots Reggae and dub. In 2008, he waxed two singles, “Dream” and “You Got It,” for English DJ/producer Dialect’s dub/riddim specialty company, Arkital Records. Three years later, Carvalho joined Trevor McKenzie on Introducing Robert C: At the Labs, a series of roots reggae and dub companion tracks.  

For his solo recording debut, All The Things You Know To Be True, Carvalho keeps his stylish smooth vibe intact by mixing reggae coolness, R&B swagger, and other musical pleasantries. His biting commentaries on life and emotional tales of love in different degrees are equally captivating. The opener, “Sin & Shame,” is self-explanatory with its ‘low down and dirty’ attitude about romantic gratification dipped in guitar-scratching seventies funk and a snappy horn section. “Equation” drips with nineties New Jack savvy from the “in the pocket” grooves to the slick backing vocals. Slipping into a subtle samba, “Missfit” is an encouraging message towards someone who has a lot to offer in a relationship. Decorated with acoustic guitar loops and finger snaps, “Lovesong” is not the prototypical love ode but more of a perspective in how people are treated on a world scope: “Who’s going to make a way/Simple minds led astray.” “Folks” targets dysfunctional families and the like with wry humor and a soundtrack sprinkled with Indian percussion. The chants of “just got to shake [it] off” in facing life’s unknown fears ring throughout the drum and bass-driven “Beware.” There is a long laundry list of every day issues and plenty of frustration expressed on “Electric Cotton”: “fooled by the foolish/that’s why I’m going crazy/I ain’t lazy.” The debut single, “Lovin’ U,” is a calming ballad praising a woman’s independence and self-sufficiency.

Carvalho’s musical confidence and solid vocal qualities shine throughout All The Things You Know To Be True. Though he may be young in show business years, Carvalho’s talents and skills have strongly come as advertised.

Other Notable Tracks:  “Du-Et,” “Sticky,” and “Oblivious.”

Vocals:  3.5 stars
Music:  3.0 stars
Lyrics:  3.5 stars
Production:  3.5 stars
SoulTracks Call:  Highly Recommended

By Peggy Oliver

 
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