Elijah Bland - Freedom (2013)

Elijah Bland
Elijah Bland Freedom.jpg
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It's easy to look at an EP, see the content listing of a whopping three songs, and decide to keep it moving. But when the performer in question is the multi-talented athlete-turned-artist, Elijah Bland, not only does he make the effort worth the while, he also manages to pack enough nuance and musicality to outdo most of what's passing for soul these days, making his latest release, Freedom, deserving of an upload (or spin). 
 
Almost a decade into his profession as a musician, vocalist and songwriter, the Hackensack, NJ native packs plenty of style and sound into each track, each serving as a preview into what his loyal following can expect on Elijah's upcoming full-length third CD: "Call Me Crazy" is an urgently straight-ahead, wah-wah guitar funk and blues serenade, gritty with fervor yet bursting with optimism about a chance meeting that might become happily ever after.
It's easy to look at an EP, see the content listing of a whopping three songs, and decide to keep it moving. But when the performer in question is the multi-talented athlete-turned-artist, Elijah Bland, not only does he make the effort worth the while, he also manages to pack enough nuance and musicality to outdo most of what's passing for soul these days, making his latest release, Freedom, deserving of an upload (or spin). 
 
Almost a decade into his profession as a musician, vocalist and songwriter, the Hackensack, NJ native packs plenty of style and sound into each track, each serving as a preview into what his loyal following can expect on Elijah's upcoming full-length third CD: "Call Me Crazy" is an urgently straight-ahead, wah-wah guitar funk and blues serenade, gritty with fervor yet bursting with optimism about a chance meeting that might become happily ever after. "Hello Again" is undeniably urban, buoyed by a leg-jogging, head-nodding groove that seeks to reignite with a former flame: "You and I we have so much to catch up on, what's new in life?/Is your family alright, and do I ever cross your mind anytime/I won't let another day go by, without you being by my side." 
 
The real stand-out, however, is the sensually-paced and slow burning "For The Record"---sure it instantly recalls a circa mid-1980s Prince jam, but Mr. Bland's sly and self-possessed delivery makes the song that much more intriguing of a listen. One can actually picture a tightly embracing couple shuffling in circles out on a dance floor as the jam progresses: "You know I said I'll never never never never never leave you Baby/and when I said it all I meant it," he croons as the langurous guitar licks and percussive drum beats unfurl. "And now we're right we need to be, yeah...and moments like these need to be documented." 
 
If his previous independent collections (Just Me and Soulcentric) are any clue, the enterprising Elijah Bland is humming right along and succeeding in his mission: building his brand, broadening his range and demonstrating that fans will be happy with letting his particular interpretation of "Freedom" reign.  Recommended. 
 
By Melody Charles
 
World Premiere - Chris Jasper - "For The Love of You"
Album of the Month - Jeffrey Dennis - "Lovin On You"
Featured Album - Leon Ware - "Rainbow Deux"

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