Sound Advice: Music Review by Ben Sandmel
Louisiana rhythm & blues is often exclusively -and thus erroneously- associated with songs from the 1950s to the 1970s. Two impressive new releases demonstrate this genre's constant evolution. On Sun Money (Kwality Records), singer Tondrae Kemp deftly balances suave crooning with gritty urgency on a set of all-original material. A native of Baton Rouge, where he started out singing in church, Kemp launched his career in New Orleans. Sun Money reflects these Louisiana roots, along with subtle rap and hip-hop influences, and time spent in the New York scene's cutting edge. The result is a consistently engaging and well-paced album that calls for repeated listening. From a Louisiana cultural perspective, two songs, "Happiness" and "Say If You Want Me To Leave," capture the raw spirit of old blues records -such as Lightnin' Slim's "Hoodoo Blues"- as strikingly interpreted with a modern sensibility.
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