Homemadesoul - Inspired by a True Story, Vol. 1 (2012)

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    There have been many music artists who began their sonic journeys while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Iconic acts like Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and John Coltrane all found their musical calling as soldiers.  Up and coming singer/musician Homemadesoul is yet another example of a music artist who discovered his niche as a serviceman.  While in the U.S. Air Force in 2001, Homemadesoul felt the need to scratch his music itch.  In a six-year span, the Philadelphia born Curtis Clark, Jr. collaborated and performed in Japan, Kuwait, Panama, and Guatemala as well as across the US.  Switch to 2012: Clark’s music odyssey has arrived as Homemadesoul, an artist who is gaining award nominations the more he’s heard. 

    Homemadesoul’s EP, Inspired By A True Story, Vol. 1, is sure to draw comparisons to artists such as D’Angelo and Bilal, but in truth, goes beyond anything either of those two ever created on record.  While both of those artists subscribed to heavy hip-hop influences in their music, Homemadesoul mainly leaves the genre out, instead opting for a blend of 60’s Ray Charles textures and a mixture of 70’s soul, all bound in a contemporary neo-soul package.  Inspired By A True Story, Vol. 1 is one of those CDs that would be better appreciated if it were in LP form; the album calls upon its predecessors both musically and melodically.  The album has an overall mellow feel, with a vibe that takes the listener many places.   If you’re looking for a D’Angelo type of groove, “With My Lady” can do the trick for you, with its head-nodding neo-soul vibe.  Songs like “My Heart” and “Runaway,” with their piano/organ melodies and style, take you back to a jazz-influenced 60’s sound.  Both songs could easily be in big band accompaniment and you’d still get their essence.  “Heartbreak Hotel” has a classic feel, deeply rooted in Homemadesoul’s stirring vocals, along with some solid rhythm guitar riffs and bass line.  And the gospel-influenced “Let’s Stay Together” could easily be the new wedding anthem. 

    Homemadesoul has a mature and soulful voice; if you’re looking for acrobatic vocal runs so often associated with neo-soul artists, he’s probably not going to be your guy.  One of the reasons you won’t hear Homemadesoul try to prove to you he can sing is because the music ebbs and flows as he does, a rarity in today’s R&B and soul scene.  The album offers a bit of something for both the fellas and the ladies, and getting the sexes together to listen Inspired By A True Story, Vol. 1 is sure to inspire some good vibes and cozy casual conversation.   Highly Recommended.

    By Gabriel Rich