Ebony Evans - You Did It All

Ebony Evans
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Some artists are a product of their modern environments, while others are clearly channeling their style from a former place and time. If you can't tell by the cover, Ebony Evans is the latter, and her sophomore effort, You Did It All, displays that golden era of soul with occasional pinches of modern brash and sassiness.

Some artists are a product of their modern environments, while others are clearly channeling their style from a former place and time. If you can't tell by the cover, Ebony Evans is the latter, and her sophomore effort, You Did It All, displays that golden era of soul with occasional pinches of modern brash and sassiness.

From the CD's jacket sleeve, one can tell by her layered flip and the collage of classic soul album covers that Ms. Evans feels close to the 1970's/1980's-time period of soul music and wants to capture its essence while putting her own unique spin on the final outcome. You...'s  uncluttered musical arrangements and straightforward, narrative lyrics allow the spotlight to shine squarely on her voice, which is irresistibly coquettish and sweet. She's in no rush to plow loudly through her material, which makes lavish use of the ballads, such as the title track and the languid "All Night, All Right." "Singin' Your Song" and "Dance My Love With You," which have more of a carnal edge, still manage to sound innocuous thanks to her wide-eyed delivery. There's no tear-stained "he broke my heart" tracks here, but she demands action for an emotional impasse on "Silent Running" and sends another man packing in "Away With You," where she's done trying and relishes in her ex's pain since she's moved on just fine, thankyouverymuch: "I'm glad you're gone...I'm glad you're hurt. Away with you..."

The up tempos also sound as if they'd be right at home on the soundtrack of a 70's-flavored movie flick: "Ooh Boy You're the One" is full of funk, "Sweet Emotion" allows her an exuberant range, and the saucy challenge, "Can You Get Down Tonight," might make those who came of age in the 1970's drag out that polyester suit and platform shoes.

There's no denying Ms. Evans' range and talents (not many burgeoning performers would attempt to infuse so many different genres like gospel, funk and breezy pop and soul in the span of one CD), but what detracts from the overall presentation is how rote and simplistic the music and words can come across.  While it does allow more of her voice to be heard without having to compete with needless bells and whistles that many mainstream artists have to endure, and makes the case that she is indeed a genuinely gifted singer, it also deprives Ms. Evans of the opportunity to test herself and leave the well-constructed comfort zone that these sort of songs provide. Ms. Evans enthusiastically conveys the moods and the melodies, but she needs more contemporary grit and groove to retain---and sustain---the attention of folks who don't get, or never experienced, the organic soul that was so prevalent during her favorite time period.

By Melody Charles

 

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