ALICE RUSSELL

Pot of Gold

2009-01-12

On this her fourth album, albeit only the second in-studio effort, Alice Russell seeks to showcase "her boys," as she affectionately refers to her band, coupled with her lavish and soulful voice. While some might label her music as "bluesy and soul lament," that would be too simplistic as much of her sound moves into the realms of funk, gospel, and even jazz. Teaming with producer T.M. Juke (a.k.a. Alex Cowan), who also happens to play guitar on all of the tracks, Russell undoubtedly offers her listeners a wide variety to feast upon. On the Motown influenced "Hesitate," the English songstress offers up something that you'd swear the Jackson 5 could have easily sung. Then, on the more subdued "Crazy," the band takes a backseat allowing Russell's voice to come to the forefront on the one track that Russell and Cowan didn't write. On "Let Us Be Loving," the influence of Aretha Franklin is markedly evident as the soulful tinged voice of the singer/songwriter cries out the need for love. Still, the best two tracks are arguably the first two, which pack a pretty remarkable one-two punch. The album gets out to a nearly perfect start with "Turn and Run" - a fast paced R & B mix followed by "Two Steps" - a song that brings back memories of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard it Through the Grapevine." Overall, each song on this effort is well-done and the entirety of the album offers enough variety to keep the listener waiting for more. While it may never garner Gold status in record sales, let's hope someone takes notice of Alice Russell and this wonderful "Pot of Gold." ~ Reviewed by Jeff Bouma

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