Nothing wrong with good, old fashioned rhythm and blues and Derek Davis’ upcoming release, Revolutionary Soul, fits that bill. The eleven track album takes the listener on a journey of soul, old fashioned gravelly vocals, and beats that make the hips move and the heart burst. From the opening title track, Davis makes a promise with his listeners that is mostly upheld through to closing chords of All the Roads.
Still. I’m never sure how to feel about musicians who take such pride in playing all of the instruments themselves on an album – especially on albums that are designed to have such intricate musical accompaniment when performed live.
The skill set of Derek Davis is undeniable, and as a result, Revolutionary Soul captures a classic rock/soul style that is often missing in today’s music world. But because the album is so solid, it leads me to wonder about the next step in the process – performing live. Either way, Davis is performing with a cover group when he goes on the road – if he hires performers, they have not gone through the journey with him and if he performs to backing tracks, the album loses its power punch. But laments for touring aside, Revolutionary Soul is a powerhouse of a soul album and Davis’ voice does not disappoint.
There are moments of weakness however, when that promise is not kept. The album slips from the passion of revolution into the power of love and that weakness hits a dark low during Vicious Heart, where Davis’ voice comes across as thin and tinny and the lyrics are cliche enough for a high school dance. Hardly revolutionary. Luckily, King of Fools helps to dig the album out of the love doldrums, getting back to the rhythm that sets Revolutionary Soul up in the first place.
Definitely worth the listen, though I’d wait to see how Davis pulls this off on the road.
-Shauna Brock (@vegawriters)