By: Bill Clifford
Soul:Music is the debut recording from Asheville, North Carolina-based Laura Reed & Deep Pocket . An apt title, the album is full of sultry, southern soul and gospel, richly textured reggae and undulating, moving funk. Reed's conscious lyrics lean toward the socio-economic, as the 23-year-old South African native studied sustainable development at nearby Boone. Even the CD packaging made of hemp. Vocally, her voice is nasal in tone and high in register, akin to early recordings from Joan Osborne or Erykah Badu.
The reggae drive of "Well" opens the CD, awash in thick swells of Hammond organ laid down by Ryan Burns. Turntable scratching and deep baritone harmony vocals back Reed's lyrics about a growing world population that's ravaging Mother Earth. Gritty, back alley horns (The Asheville Horns) add to Burns' Hammond on the similarly reggae-tinged love song "What's Going On," which is a band original and not a Marvin Gaye cover. "Rise Up" is a driving, bouncy and infectious call to action towards the global youth: "Soul People Got To Reach/ Soul People Rise Up." The stellar standout is the soulfully elegant "Praise You," a contemplative gospel ballad backed with beautiful, lush piano.
Independently released, Soul:Music won't bring Reed & Deep Pocket idol worship, but with infectious melodies, upbeat socio-conscious lyrics and varied musical styles rooted deep in history this is certainly a young and talented band with a groove worth getting into.
JamBase | North Carolina
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