With that trademark sweet-but gutsy vocal reminiscent of all soul music legends, Leela James sure does know how to tell a story close to her heart; and does it so beautifully.
The groovy rhythm that blends with the saucy-jazzy blues mood her music produces keeps the average listener toe-tapping all the way. Since her first debut track back in 2005, I’ve observed her penchant for tweaking and remake of powerful soul classics of musical greats like the manhattans, Marvis Staples, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin to mention a few besides the collaborative efforts with her contemporaries like Raheem Devaughn, and even Hip-hop stars; you can be sure “My Soul” which is her newest album scheduled for release on May 24th, 2010 won’t let you down.
In this review piece, James begins in her usual gritty self with a message to her critics, with “I Aint New to This”. With deft background hip-hop beats that is just right for the occasion. This follows nicely with “So Cold” turning into a swinging beat mode which comes in readiness for the next track to “Party All Night”. With a nice arrangement up to this point, the next track now calms the tempo with an adult soul style rendition featuring Raheem Devaughn as they sang “Mr Incredible”.
The dominant single track in My Soul stands out as James emotes and launches her feminine self as every real woman seeking an affirmation from their lover would with “Tell Me You Love Me”. In the track “Let it Roll”, James’ spiritual heritage is echoed as she challenges and encourages the letting go off every hurt and disappointments by letting it roll. James finally peaks with a brilliant declaration of “It's Over”- an obvious story of a relationship gone sour.
And winding up this review there’s no better way to sum up this album than using her own words; “It’s my experience of soul, what it means, and this is the reason why I want to share it with you”.
It’s for all lovers of the soul. There’s always a story to tell within us!