Homemadesoul - Inspirations (2012)

Homemadesoul

 

Anybody who heard The Collection and Inspired by a True Story, the two R&B albums by Florida based singer homemadesoul, would not be shocked to hear the quartet style gospel songs that can be heard on the artist's new album of religious songs, Inspirations.

 

Anybody who heard The Collection and Inspired by a True Story, the two R&B albums by Florida based singer homemadesoul, would not be shocked to hear the quartet style gospel songs that can be heard on the artist's new album of religious songs, Inspirations.

“Why?” you might ask. What could be the connection between two works of smooth R&B and a Christian record filled with harmonies that might remind some of the Dixie Hummingbird or gospel quartet groups? One thing might be the voice. Homemadesoul, who is also known as Curtis Clark, possesses the type of buttery and emotive tenor voice that made it easy for generations of singers to make the transition from gospel to R&B.

That voice makes homemadesoul the ideal lead vocalist on the quartet style songs and piano-oriented tunes that make up so much of the output found on Inspirations. His voice soars on tracks such as "You Impress Me" and "Perfect Friend," two cut that also feature homemadesoul's work on the piano. "Perfect Friend" is a track that gives musical voice to the bible verses that describe Jesus as a friend. The tune begins with a sparse arrangement with homemadesoul singing over his piano playing.  The instrumental accompaniment builds with each verse, as does the intensity and range in homemadesoul's vocal.

Something also must be said about the backing vocal arrangement on "Perfect Friend." The harmonies are tight, which is not surprising. However, I was impressed with the coordination between homemadesoul and his backing vocalists. Each is totally in sync with the other. As homemadesoul rises to a crescendo vocally, his backing singers raise the intensity of their vocals. It is the marriage of words, melody and harmony that make "Perfect Friend" the best song on Inspirations.

"God is Good" is an old-fashioned hand clapping, hip slapping quartet tune that is a musical riff on an oft-stated saying used in the church. Homemadesoul takes us back to the basics of quartet singing as he and his backing vocalists in engage in call and response. And while Inspirations is a project that honors the roots of gospel vocal and instrumental arrangements, homemadesoul does include something for the youth. "24/7" is a track that combines contemporary hip-hop influenced production techniques with the same kind of tight vocal harmonies that characterize the other tunes found on Inspirations.

One way to evaluate an artist is to assess how he handles music in a variety of styles. Does the artist show a comfort level in different genres or sub genres? Can the artist move between musical styles and tempos in a way that will hold the interest of different listeners? homemadesoul manages to put a check in all of those boxes on Inspirations. Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
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