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 (mostSee more details below

Overview

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/27/2001
Label:
Motown
UPC:
0044001377020
catalogNumber:
013770
Rank:
16723

Tracks

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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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