Nigel Hall's long anticipated debut solo record, is set for release on November 13 via the Feel Music Group. Ladies & Gentlemen... Nigel Hall presents a blend of original songs and covers that evoke the timeless sounds of soul and r&b in a contemporary setting. Eric Krasno produced the record and shares songwriting credits on many of the tracks with his fellow Lettuce cohort. Kraz also appears on Ladies & Gentlemen... Nigel Hall, along with ?uestlove, Ivan Neville, Charlie Hunter, James Casey, Maurice Brown, and members of Lettuce.
Recorded at the Bunker Studio in Brooklyn in 2012, a year after the release of their self-titled debut, hard-hitting guitar-and-drums duo the London Souls' follow-up album was delayed when singer/guitarist Tash Neal was struck by a car while riding in a cab in New York. He required emergency brain surgery, follow-up surgery, and rehab, but within a year was back playing and touring, continuing to heal. Co-produced by Eric Krasno (Norah Jones, 50 Cent), Here Comes the Girls was finally ready for release in the spring of 2015. The 13-track collection is like a ride through classic rock radio. From the Beatles for Sale-like "When I'm with You" to the Hendrix-esque "Steady," the tracks are often bluesy, sometimes soulful, psychedelic, or folky, but always intense, and all about rock & roll.
By dropping words like “pop” and “crossover” while promoting an album on which he dares to use Auto-Tune, Redman gave his fans a heads-up that Reggie isn’t your everyday effort. Based on his real name, Reginald Noble, Reggie is actually an extroverted and exuberant alter ego for Redman, the kind of guy who does production for Shaq if you check your copy of Shaq-Fu: Da Return. No surprise, then, that Reggie the album is heavy on the special guests with everyone from Bun B to Kool Moe Dee landing on the track list, while Redman acts as ringleader and/or hypeman. Folks who want it strictly hardcore won’t be satisfied till the high-kicking “Tiger Style Crane” closes the show, but since the miraculous Red can go from hood cool (“Lookin’ at my rolly...”) to nerd cool (“...I got time like Culture Club”) in just one punch line, he deserves a swing at the Ghostdini-style album. Big hooks drive infectious choruses on club bombs like “That’s Where I Be” (“You pissed baby?/Don’t get pee’d on/Cuz man/I run things like cream corn”), "Def Jammable" (“Don’t gas me/I live near Amoco”), and "Full Nelson" (“I do it Big like March 9th in Brooklyn”), while “All I Do” with Faith Evans is the first track in Red’s discography that could be tagged “breezy,” paying tribute to the power of hip-hop and Michael Jackson over a lush backbeat. The Auto-Tune device is used but not abused and even the dressed-up numbers don’t come off as soft, as Red is always willing to drop a line that packs an improper punch. Uptight types who want him to save hip-hop will hate on this one, but this ain’t nuthin’ but a party y’all, and a fun one at that.
In the wake of her 2002 blockbuster debut, Norah Jones became an in-demand duet partner, popping up on albums from all manners of musicians. The 2010 compilation, …Featuring, helpfully rounds up 18 of these guest appearances, including a cut by the Jones-fronted country cabaret outfit the Little Willies, and what impresses is the range of collaborators and the consistency of the music. Anybody who called Norah up for a duet was clearly smitten by her way with slow-burning seduction, as they almost without fail cast her in that role for their own recordings, smoothing out rough edges or adding some sultry sophistication. This would seem like a limited specialty, but Featuring proves it’s not. Jones sounds as comfortable trading verses with Willie Nelson and Ray Charles as she does acting as a counterpoint to Q-Tip and Outkast, providing alternating contrasts according to the setting; she freshens the veterans and provides a touch of timeless elegance to her modern rock peers. It may all be variations on a theme, but the sounds and songs change just enough for the music to be quietly absorbing. Better still, when these side shows are grouped together as a main attraction, they manage to sound of a piece. These may be songs that appeared on other artist’s albums, but when presented as a collection, they seem to belong only to Norah Jones.
As an American Hasidic Jewish reggae superstar, Matisyahu is an obvious outsider. After a debut album that felt live plus a follow-up album that was recorded live, the singer's ambition to do more with the studio presentation of his music left any sensible packaging up to the producer. The mismatch with fellow mystic Bill Laswell caused 2006's Youth to wander and sprawl, but industry vet David Kahne handles much of Light, and the difference is huge. Kahne packaged reggae-pop acts like Sublime and Fishbone -- whose members show up here -- before, but here he's primarily focused on Matisyahu's wide view, love of ancient history, and spiritual heart. The results are comparable to So and all the Peter Gabriel albums after, with high-tech and polish helping to drive home the artist's reverence and sense of wonder. Sounding like breakthrough hit "Chop 'Em Down"'s little brother, "Smash Lies" is an effective opener plus a dancehall-driven crowd-pleaser that'll give way to an album less reggae than any previous. Besides a little "singjay" in his vocal style, the grand, key track "One Day" has little to do with Jamaican music, and the equally moving "For You" is more likely influenced by Tears for Fears than Bob Marley. Joel Madden makes crunching punk-pop guitar the centerpiece of "Darkness into Light," and ethereal closer "Silence" could be passed off as from the Dave Matthews songbook if the lines written in Hebrew didn't give Matisyahu away. Whether using his voice as a whisper or as a giant call across nations, the depth of feeling comes through brilliantly, and if the musical soundscape isn't familiar, the empowering and sincere lyrics most definitely are. Add Kahne's instantly accessible production and Light is not only a welcome surprise, but an album that matches his debut.