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Southern Avenue – Southern Avenue

Jan. 31, 2017

It’s been a bit of a musical drought for a spell here lately, but I happily see now that the creative juices are again flowing with our artists. Today, I was presented with a brand new young quintet going by the name of Southern Avenue. Their self-titled debut on Stax Records, scheduled for release on Feb. 24, possesses that good old school Memphis soul & gospel flavor mixed in with some hard-driving blues and even clever rock chops.

This noteworthy band is comprised of powerful vocalist Tierinii Jackson and drummer Tikyra Jackson, two Memphis-born, church-bred sisters, Israeli-born guitarist bluesman Ori Naftaly, bassist Daniel McKee, and keyboardist Jeremy Powell. Together, they grab that feel-good vibe by the soul and never let go.

Leading off with the cool gospel-layered “Don’t Give Up,” a track that builds in intensity and has a comely crescendo, the group dances through the project with equally moving tracks like “What Did I Do” (a hot finger-snapping mid-tempo heavy blues/rock number),  the slow and soulfully sweet “It’s Gonna Be Alright” and “Love Me Right” (a pair of tunes reminiscent of early Joss Stone with their blues/soul intonations),  the up-tempo bluesy and soul-dipped “Slipped, Tripped and Fell In Love,” and five other reasons for you to lend an attentive ear to this refreshing album.

Loaded with appealing melodies and smart hooks, the album is one of those stand-out ventures that clearly demonstrates how to introduce oneself on a debut release. Vim, vigor, taste, and character all play a part in the makeup of this project. Catch the groove and the energy here. One to definitely add to your collection of just plain great music. – Ronald Jackson