Gordon Chambers - Love Stories (2007)

Gordon Chambers
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With his debut album ...Introducing Gordon Chambers, the noted New York artist made what appeared to be a seamless transition from a career songwriter to a performer. The disc was one of the best selling indie soul releases of 2005, and made Gordon Chambers an instant leader in the independent movement with his brand of "elegant soul" -- a sound reminiscent of the melodic adult soul tracks of the 80s that brought artists such as Anita Baker to the forefront of urban music. And while he focused more on his solo career over the next two years, Chambers continued to write for others, most notably penning the Isleys' fantastic 2006 single, "Just Came Here to Chill."

With his debut album ...Introducing Gordon Chambers, the noted New York artist made what appeared to be a seamless transition from a career songwriter to a performer. The disc was one of the best selling indie soul releases of 2005, and made Gordon Chambers an instant leader in the independent movement with his brand of "elegant soul" -- a sound reminiscent of the melodic adult soul tracks of the 80s that brought artists such as Anita Baker to the forefront of urban music. And while he focused more on his solo career over the next two years, Chambers continued to write for others, most notably penning the Isleys' fantastic 2006 single, "Just Came Here to Chill."

The success of his debut and his regular touring since then have created great anticipation for his sophomore disc, Love Stories, and happily it doesn't disappoint. For those who think Chambers as purely an adult contemporary balladeer, he gets his contrary message across early on Love Stories, opening with the upbeat cuts "The Next Time" and "Stay Together." In addition to having the disc's hottest instrumentation, the latter also is the clearest demonstration of Chambers' development as a vocalist since his debut, moving him from the ranks of a songwriter who also sings to a solid singer/songwriter.

One of the consistent benefits of Chambers' work is the careful crafting of the material, and in that respect Love Stories bears a basketful of great songs. Radio will likely jump on the attractive duet with Ledisi "To Love Again," but perhaps even better structurally are the melodic pop midtempo "Unfair" and the excellent ballads "Violins" and "Bygones." Chambers also covers a couple of his past compositions, nicely handling the Brownstone top ten smash "If You Love Me" and "If It Wasn't For Your Love," arguably one of the most beautiful love ballads of this decade and the highlight of Heather Headley's 2004 debut album. Among these fine cuts, this reviewer's guilty pleasure is "Get To Know," an engaging steppers' track that'll keep those Chicago folks hopping for months.

As ...Introducing Gordon Chambers was in 2005, Gordon Chambers' Love Stories will undoubtedly be one of the most celebrated adult soul albums of 2007. Like its predecessor, Love Stories is filled with top-notch compositions, but the hotter arrangements and Chambers' vocal development make it even a finer overall experience. Highly recommended.

By Chris Rizik

 
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