Austin, Texas based singer/songwriter/musician Michaux is a pretty ambitious guy. Mixing a love for music with a passion for at-risk children, he splits his time between his chaplain work at Texas Youth Commission (Juvenile Corrections Agency), his halfway house ministry for teenage men in Texas, and his message-filled, uniquely styled music.
The latter part of his regular life is displayed on his self-released debut album Just Michaux. While generally labeled a "Modern Soul" album, Just Michaux is an unusual combination of a wide variety of styles, from hip hop ("Hey Girl/Hey Playa," "Necessary Truth") to modern R&B ("All I Need") to soulful ballads ("He Paid It All," "Toni") to adult contemporary sounds ("Stay"). The unusual combination of influences in his sound make it fairly unique and quite interesting. One can hear Tim Miner, Marvin Gaye and classic funk elements throughout, but the vocal arrangements lean heavily on 70s rock groups like Firefall or even Crosby, Stills and Nash. This paradox reaches its peak on the album's best cut, "Resti 2 tion," an offbeat mixture of James Brown funk and 60s psychedelic rock that works quite well, particularly with his anti-greed, anti-crime lyrical message.
The album is certainly helped by the disc's cast of solid musicians and restrained production, as well as by Michaux's voice. There is a generally laid back groove through much of the CD (only interrupted by the two hip hop influenced songs) that holds the disc together well and creates a good flow. This sonic cohesion and the disc's stronger material -- particularly "Resti 2 tion," "All I Need," "Toni," and "He Paid It All" -- make this a worthwhile listen and a solid debut for this young artist with a mission.
By Chris Rizik