First Listen: Howard Hewett reunites with Leon Sylvers on "U R The One"

Over the course of 40 years and counting, Ohio-born Howard Hewett has wooed listeners from innumerable stylistic, cultural, and age pockets with a matchless vocal tone and magnetic stage presence: first as one-third of groundbreaking soul-disco trio Shalamar, then as a solo purveyor of sophisticated R&B, and finally as a gospel artist with inherent musical and thematic credibility.

Over the course of 40 years and counting, Ohio-born Howard Hewett has wooed listeners from innumerable stylistic, cultural, and age pockets with a matchless vocal tone and magnetic stage presence: first as one-third of groundbreaking soul-disco trio Shalamar, then as a solo purveyor of sophisticated R&B, and finally as a gospel artist with inherent musical and thematic credibility.

In conjunction with a line of signature hats that he’s scheduled to launch this summer, the ever-resilient Hewett is releasing a new single returning him to the R&B fold entitled “U R The One.” A far cry from his much-loved passionate ballads of the ‘80s and ‘90s (“I’m for Real,” “Show Me,” “This Love Is Forever”), the new single goes for a groove-oriented stance with production-driven vocals. Leon Sylvers III, who helmed many of Shalamar’s best moments, is at the controls once again. Unfortunately, the end result is a pedantic assortment of obsolete programming and uninspired synth arrangements. It’s hard to determine whether Hewett simply isn’t as inspired by this scenario, or if his pipes just aren’t what they used to be (though his recent duet with Joyce Irby would seem to indicate his voice is just fine). Either way, it’s hard to recognize him for most of the disappointing four minutes of aimless melodies and wandering lyrical passages.

Take a First Listen to “U R The One” below and let us know your thoughts.

By Justin Kantor

Howard Hewett - "U R The One"

 
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