Hannah Francis - Means To An End

Hannah Francis
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Sometimes Americans sound like we believe that the only legitimate practitioners of soul music live in the good ole’ U.S. of A. Fortunately it becomes more difficult to hold that view considering the number of non-American performers making critically successful records. Still, that canard that artists from a place like Great Britain are somehow less than legit as soul singers still gets tossed around. But music – and especially the emotions conveyed in song – are universal. That is one lesson that comes through after listening to Brit Hannah Francis’ very good CD Means to an End. Truth be told, Francis can teach a lot of folk on this side of the big moist a thing or two about writing a lyric, as well as dropping a well balanced work that touches on a lot of ground from a  topical standpoint.

Sometimes Americans sound like we believe that the only legitimate practitioners of soul music live in the good ole’ U.S. of A. Fortunately it becomes more difficult to hold that view considering the number of non-American performers making critically successful records. Still, that canard that artists from a place like Great Britain are somehow less than legit as soul singers still gets tossed around. But music – and especially the emotions conveyed in song – are universal. That is one lesson that comes through after listening to Brit Hannah Francis’ very good CD Means to an End. Truth be told, Francis can teach a lot of folk on this side of the big moist a thing or two about writing a lyric, as well as dropping a well balanced work that touches on a lot of ground from a  topical standpoint.

Of course, this is soul music that we are talking about, and soul artists are greatly concerned with affairs of the heart. Francis is no different in that respect. In fact, Francis is somewhat of  a romantic throwback to a era of tasteful lyrics. When Francis says that she draws inspiration from the singers of the 1960s and 70s, she is really pinpointing the lyrics found in a song such as “If I.” Hannah is specific in her belief that should could win the object of her desire if she could just show him how she feels. What happens after the wooing is done is left to the imagination.

One notable thing about Means to an End is the amount of time Francis devotes to numbers that can be described as inspirational or that address social issues. Means to an End goes places where few records – mainstream or otherwise – go these days. However, many listeners battle daily with the type of self loathing that Francis addresses on the jazz influenced cut “Fighting With Myself.” Francis, to her credit, seems willing to follow her muse wherever it leads. The fact is that Francis is singing about the issues that her listeners - regardless of location - are talking about.

Notable Tracks: Chance (live), In a Rut, Something Gotta Give, Let Me Love You

Vocals: 3.0
Lyrics: 3.5
Instrumentation: 3.5
Production: 3.5
SoulTracks call: Highly Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
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