Acoustic Soul

Acoustic Soul

4.9 34
by India.Arie

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If Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack had created a musical love child, she would sound something like vocalist and guitarist India Arie. On her breathtaking, poetic debut, Acoustic Soul, the ethereal Arie not only sings with the grace and passion of those aforementioned soul pioneers (most…  See more details below


If Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack had created a musical love child, she would sound something like vocalist and guitarist India Arie. On her breathtaking, poetic debut, Acoustic Soul, the ethereal Arie not only sings with the grace and passion of those aforementioned soul pioneers (most noticeably on the yearning ballad "Ready for Love"), but on two unplugged interludes she sings the names of her music idols, including Hathaway, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Bessie Smith, Karen Carpenter, and Sarah Vaughan. Like her thoughtful singer-songwriter contemporaries Me'Shell NdegéOcello, Alana Davis, and Dionne Farris, Arie practices what she preaches. In the self-affirming first single, "Video," Arie admits that she's "not the average girl from your video," but she doesn't seem to care. Instead, the Denver native boasts, "I know my creator didn't make no mistake on me/My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes/I'm lovin' what I see." That same thread of unconditional self-love runs through feel-good songs such as the lush "Brown Skin," on which the dreadlocked singer praises the beauty of her own and her lover's dark skin ("Brown skin...I can't tell where yours begins or where mine ends"), and the optimistic, vibes-and kick-drum-fueled "Strength, Courage & Wisdom" ("It's time to step out on faith/It's time to show my face"). With the emergence of empowering artists such as Arie, Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu, it appears that there's a sisterhood of female soulsters willing to step outside the music industry's conventional box to be heard. As Sam Cooke sang decades ago, "a change gon' come" -- and it's about time.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Duffy
As one of the most promising neo-soul artists yet to emerge in the past few years, India.Arie casts her lot with the best artists of her label's storied history, playing deeply introspective songs laced with glistening acoustic guitar, churchy organ, and smooth, supple beats. When she name-checks those artists no longer with us that she claims as influences (Ma Rainey, Miles Davis, Karen Carpenter, Charley Patton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Donny Hathaway, etc.) in three separate interludes, you have no doubt she is looking back as well as forward, even going so far as to invoke Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come." But Acoustic Soul is at its best when the arrangements are deliberately modern. And despite the uniqueness of being a guitar-based R&B album, it is Arie's thick, sandy voice that shares star billing with her exceptional lyrics. Betraying youthful vulnerability while at the same time projecting strength, confidence, and uncanny insight for a 25-year-old singer/songwriter, Arie wraps herself effortlessly around the deep, funky sensuality of "Brown Skin," and stands tall in defiance of pop-fashion expectations on the irresistibly catchy "Video." The uplifting "Faith, Courage, Wisdom" rides along on a euphoric chorus, and the plainly autobiographical "Back to the Middle" recounts an emotional and spiritual coming of age. Without the many concrete references to the great R&B music of the past, Acoustic Soul would be a purely modern gem, but as Arie is determined to pay her debts up front, it's much more, and that is admirable.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

India.Arie   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Larry Goldings   Organ,Wurlitzer
Steve Grossman   Percussion,Drums
Bashiri Johnson   Percussion
John Catchings   Cello
Tony Harrell   Keyboards
Bob Power   Bass,Guitar,Conductor
Ralph Rolle   Drums
Laurnea Wilkerson   Background Vocals
Mark Batson   Organ,Synthesizer,Bass,Percussion,Drums,Keyboards,Mellotron,fender rhodes
Doug Kahan   Bass
Avery Johnson   Bass
Terry MacMillan   Percussion
Blue Miller   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Joyce Simpson   Background Vocals
David Spak   Percussion
Nioka Workman   Cello
Judeth Insel   Viola
Marlene Rice   Violin
Kerisha Hicks   Background Vocals
Duane Covert   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Larry Goldings   String Contractor
Kedar Massenburg   Executive Producer
Bob Power   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Lovis Scalise   Engineer
Mark Batson   Programming,Producer,String Arrangements
Avery Johnson   Engineer
Annalee Valencia   Art Direction
Carlos "6 July" Broady   Programming,Producer
Chris Athens   Mastering
Blue Miller   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Kevin Haywood   Engineer
Jim Lightman   Engineer
Mike Tocci   Engineer
Mark Niemiec   Engineer

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Acoustic Soul 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
India Arie is an amazing musician who has created an album with a mix of different styles that is unbelievable. She continues in the steps of Me'shell NdegeOcello, Kina and Jill Scott, creating a flavor all her own. ''Video'' is a great song that has you moving no matter what, ''Brown Skin'' is soulful and sweet and my personal favorite is ''Simple'', which is anything but! This is an album you need to own, it makes you want to groove!
Guest More than 1 year ago
India. Arie is one of the best things happening in the year 2001. One of the latest stars to bring back R&B (along with Jill Scott, Erykah Badu), India. has captured my heart through her voice as well as the music she plays. If you liked ''Video'', then there's more where that came from. Song's like ''Brown Skin'' make you feel ready for love, while she can also find time to show respect to the great Steive Wonder, like in ''Wonderful....''. If you are a Lauryn Hill fan, then you have to love India. Once I saw her on 106 and Park and played a piece of ''I See God In You'', I was in awe (now I'm about to purchase me a guitar). But, what I'm trying to say is, BUY THE ALBUM!!!! You won't know what you are missing if you don't buy this wonderful masterpiece entitled ''Acoustic Soul''.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With her first song, Video, India.Aire has cemented her position among the new breed of R&B divas, like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.

Her music is deep and introspective. She relies on themes of God, strength, inner-beauty, courage, and love. You can tell she has practiced her craft for quite some time. Her vibe is very uplifting and inspiring. It fosters thoughts of understanding, love, and caring, which fosters productive relationships between brothas and sistas. This is refreshing in today¿s music environment, where the music buying masses are fed a diet of divisive mantras and chants, by the week, which keep men and women from achieving the true higher heights God intended for us to achieve together. India appears to be in it to win it and she will not be a one-shot wonder.

Her tracks are banging, especially the catchy Video. For those with hip-hop roots, you¿ll remember that beat as being used on an underground hip-hop classic that was very derogatory towards women. It is great that she flipped this beat and used it as song to uplift women from the materialistic, Cristal popping, luciano world of today¿s music. She definitely is a Queen.

¿I See God In You¿ is another slamming track where she¿s explaining to brotha, the highest qualities she sees in him. The beat on this track is flipped from the ¿Rockafella¿ remix by Redman. It¿s a definite hit. Other standouts include ¿Promises,¿ ¿Strength, Courage, Wisdom,¿ ¿Back to the Middle,¿ and ¿Simple.¿

Everyone who likes uplifting, introspective, finger-popping R&B should check this album out.

Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
her sound gives me the same feeling that I felt when Erykah Badu first came out. Happy to be a woman and proud to be black
Guest More than 1 year ago
When India.Arie first debuted with ''Video'' I thought to myself 'Oh, here goes another Erykah (Badu) or Jill (Scott); but actually she is the combo of both these powerful ladies but her voice is the type that makes you stand up and take notice. She is the most powerful female artist so far . . .
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got hooked on her after hearing the amazing single ''Video'' and India.Arie's album has got to be one of this year's best. All of the songs are deep, thoughtful, and powerful. Her voice is rich and soulful and distinctive. I praise her as a song writer and singer for making the sort of deep and relaxing r&b that we miss too much of. You have to get this album, it will empower you and captivate. I praise her and all of the other new great soul artists bringing r&b back to real music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I listened to this album for the first time on the way in to work and her soul connected with my own exciting me with wise words; making me smile with well thought-out arrangements; refreshing me with those dynamics that include breathing spaces of just voice and drum, of vocals that run from acrobatic vocal flips to cool monotones. This is a woman who knows how to let an instrument breathe, whether she's soloing vocally or syncing with others whilst on guitar. Great to hear who her influences are this is always interesting, revealing and shaping. Love every track. ''Brown Skin'' I became aware of seeing the live performance on the Jules Holland show - a big up for people of colour; ''I see God in you'' - for all earthlings; ''Back to the Middle'' etc. Could name them all. Gotta go. You've gotta go get!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd rules!!!!!!!! India put her heart and soul into her premier cd. I love every song on here. I really love her music because I can relate to almost every song. Which, nowadays is hard to do because a lot of artists are not staying true to themselves. India is a beautiful artist and person and this is a great cd. If you love/like musicians that keep it real and honest then you need to get this cd . . . and quick. It really rules. My favs are ''Video'' ''Brown Skin'' ''Ready for Love'' These songs are so real and true.
Guest More than 1 year ago
India.Arie is definitely talented. She has a great, calming voice that's full of feeling- now this is the R&B I'm looking for. India and Alicia Keys are definitely shining through with their extreme talent and originality. Finally, music worth buying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this CD. Every song uplifts and sooths the listener with it's lyrics and tunes. India Arie sends the message that she proudly stands as an individual. The CD compiles slow, comforting songs that deal with love and faith with upbeat songs that promote self-confidence. The wholesome melodies blend Arie's rich vocal talents and skills as a guitarist. Even though all the songs share many similarities, each is unique and special. I highly recommend buying this CD. Everyone should discover India Arie as she progresses in her musical career and provides listeners with exceptional songs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i just saw india.arie in concert at my school (mount holyoke college) and all i can say is wow!!! she is beautiful and has the most amazing voice. she sends chills down your spine. this cd is a must.
Guest More than 1 year ago
India.Arie is definitely a breath of fresh air for those of us who crave color, creativity, and true artistry in our music. ¿Acoustic Soul¿ is just that, a breath of fresh air. Arie¿s album is a break from the monotony of today¿s mainstream music. India.Arie is truly a skillful singer/songwriter. She plays the guitar as though it is a part of her. Like she was destined to shake the foundation of the music world. ¿Acoustic Soul¿ is a wonderful album through and through. Some of my favorite tracks are ¿Simple¿ and ¿Ready for Love¿, two beautiful love songs that are more than just pleasing to the ear. Her music just gets into the listeners¿ heads and won¿t leave. This is the kind of music that makes you want to light a candle and some incense, and turn off the lights and just groove to the subtle melodies. The more radio worthy tracks like ¿Video¿ and ¿Brown Skin¿ bring light to the lost and forgotten in all of us. They make us forget about our insecurities and just let go. ¿Acoustic Soul¿ is definitely a collector¿s item for a lover of soul music, music period.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
i think india's album, acoustic soul, is one the most lyrically strong albums out now. she's got a style all her own, you go girl!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that this is a beautiful album. I listen to it so much, i know it word for word. I think that this is a ablum, that will people will forever remember. If they don't, I will. MUCH LOVE TO INDIA.ARIE
Guest More than 1 year ago
Acoustic Soul was a breath of fresh air amidst degrading, profane lyrics and a onslaught of music ''borrowed'' from artist of the past. Each song's lyrics on Indy's breakout debut, tell stories of feelings and relationships everyone can or has related to at one point in their lives. ''Promises'' is the tale of simply that...keeping your word and for that you will be loved. ''Ready for love'' especially touched me with lyrics like ''I am ready for love, why are you hiding from me?'' We've all been there, haven't we? And, then there's ''Simple''. The confessions of someone in love to their partner. For those who truly respect artistry, this is the CD for you. India wrote or co-wrote every song on it! And, you have to love the tribute to Stevie Wonder titled ''Wonderful''... Get out there and buy it today. India.Arie is a new, soulful, eclectic and honorable artist to pay attention to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
India Arie¿s debut album Acoustic Soul is one of the most soulful combinations of harmony and truthfulness. India¿s melodies speak of truth and honesty and give us the encouragement that we all need. She truly has of one the most powerful voices and her uplifting lyrics are purely unique. ¿Part of my Life¿ is one track that is constantly in my player! I can¿t help but feel the acoustic beats on her guitar and soulful rhythm of her beautiful voice. India is definitely one of the most soulful divas out there! For all us ladies who are in need of a little encouragement, ¿Strength, Courage, and Wisdom¿ is the track that can sooth any soul. It is a song about finding those qualities that are within each of us; India just helps us find that strength in a way that heals your heart. I am definitely feelin¿ ¿Nature¿; it is a romantic story of love and letting go of all the worries and letting love take over. With Acoustic Soul, India speaks of staying true to yourself and being strong within yourself. This message is India¿s gift to us and her powerful rhythm is addicting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great album all throughout! It's nice to see real talent for a change. (Most of the ''R&B soul'' from the 90's was such a disappointment.) This songstress is such a breath of fresh air!
Guest More than 1 year ago
India's debut album is absolutely amazing and she sounds like she's been doing this her whole life. Her voice is exceptional and her musical talent is unparalleled. I love this album and I would recommend it to everyone ... India's album is incredible!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought India's cd based on the first single. I hoped it wasn't a fluke. I did the same for another new female artist due to the hype of her cd and was thoroughly disappointed. Accoustic Soul has just that....soul! There became a point in music that if you wanted good meaningful lyrics you had to turn to alternative for the most part. India brings back the balladeer. She's got staying power.
Guest More than 1 year ago
its so moving at so many levels, everyone should have this cd. india. arie is the bomb!(excuse my old school) her music is very moving and captivating, it has a very special move to it that is uplifting and special and makes me proud that i am a woman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
India Arie rocks this world. She is one of the best. acoustic soul is a great CD featuring some of her best songs ever, especially VIDEO. If you enjoy India Arie I suggest that you listen to BOB MARLEY.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This girl is the Bomb. She's so humble and meek. She deserves much more credit than she gets. She' saved, she's beautiful, and he can sing. You go Girl!