Have you ever noticed that most people don't catch onto certain things until they are dropped upon their heads like bags of heavy bricks from the tops of the highest buildings? Then and only then, in that moment of clarity, do the objects of focus become so apparent that hindsight not only lends 20/20 vision, but also spotlights that which blinded us from seeing them in the first place. With that in mind, let us focus on the career of soul singer Anthony David.
If you are a believer in urban legends, then you know full well that the souls of Bill Withers and Mos Def intertwined on August 24, 2004. On that magnificent day, Brash Music introduced the music world to Anthony David, who began a long quest to "evoke the Energy of music rather than the Style." His first project, 3 Chords & the Truth, was hailed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as "the best record to come out (of Atlanta) since Usher's." Without major label support, however, the world turned a deaf ear.
If such a comparison doesn't floor you, let us consider the popularity of Usher in 2004. If you need additional help, think of one word: Confessions, the best-selling contemporary R&B album in recent years. (You know the one, with nearly 10 million copies sold.) That being said, any comparison to Usher, especially in 2004, should have sent music lovers in droves to every brick-and-mortar store nationwide, right? Wrong. In fact, even with the critical acclaim of Anthony David's next release, the Red Clay Chronicles, he performed in exclusive anonymity.
Refusing to change his style for mainstream needs, David became a showstopper in Atlanta's underground Soul scene, where he fostered a loving friendship with India.Arie that was rooted in mutual respect. He wrote "A Part of My Life" for Acoustic Soul, India.Arie's multiple-GRAMMY-nominated album, and supported the album on global tours as a background singer. Coming into his own, he eventually headlined several tours in Europe and Japan.
Hindsight, as a consequence, is 20/20, and Acey Duecy is a "grand debut" that shines like a polished gem on India.Arie's newly-christened Soulbird label. The album, in all respects however, is a "greatest hits" compilation of David's two independent releases under the Brash indie label: 3 Chords & the Truth (2004) and the Red Clay Chronicles (2006). With that in mind, new and old fans alike can appreciate the selection of "Words" (featuring India.Arie) as the lead single, which is an ultimate testimony of true friendship and the long road to a major label record deal. Now, with the release of Acey Duecy, the stars in the musical universe have finally aligned.
Hopefully, Acey Duecy will foster a new "golden era" in modern soul music, because it is quite shameful that Anthony David is just now getting a proper introduction in 2008. Back in 2003, cultural critic Edward M. Garnes, Jr. was hip to Anthony David's mystique—noting in "Soul Assured" that "[David] has the blood and grit of soul legends running through his veins. His cognizant, true soul can't be willed — its authenticity can't be purchased. While many of his contemporaries are content playing dress-up and producing safe radio-friendly singles, David's down-home guitar licks create melodic bridges over troubled musical waters."
Looking forward, the future definitely looks bright, especially when one considers the fact that 3 Chords & the Truth and the Red Clay Chronicles were recorded for $6,000 and $15,000, respectively. And while such successes may seem like improbable tales of events, Acey Duecy brings real music back—with a vengeance! The album is all substance, without standard-grade filler or commercial gloss, and devoid of manufactured hooks and super-producer beats! Every track lives, breathes and resembles the soul of the man behind the music.
The album's eleven tracks are only a sampler of David's lyrical genius. And if truth be told, several other tracks would have been worthy of inclusion, especially "Ain't Enough for Me" off of 3 Chords & the Truth. One can't have everything in life, so find comfort in several of Acey Duecy's other highlights: "Spittin' Game," "Cold Turkey," "Georgia Peach," "Cheating Man," and "Krooked Cop," from 3 Chords & the Truth, as well as "Stop Playin'," "Smoke One," "Lady," "Something About You," and "Kinfolk" from the Red Clay Chronicles.
On May 5, 2008, Blogcritic Clayton Perry published an exclusive interview with Anthony David which can be read here.Powered by Sidelines