Hello friends, your friendly neighborhood Gonzo here, checking in with some music for your soul.
Nearly a month ago, a friend whom is well aware of my tastes asked me if I’d heard Ryan Shaw. He said that he’d heard him on an NPR feature, and proceeded to rave about Shaw’s voice. As a testament, he informed me that Shaw opens his concerts with an a capella excerpt from the Sam Cooke classic, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Needless to say, I was intrigued. That day I went to Shaw’s MySpace page, and liked what I heard. His voice is incredibly strong, and it’s clear to see why he takes to performing Sam Cooke tunes. I finally got around to hearing the album, and I have to say, I’m pleased.
This isn’t neosoul, it’s an unabashed throwback to the golden era of soul in the 1960s. The album is a mixed bag of originals and covers, including Motown, Ashford and Simpson, Wilson Pickett and more. The disc is definitely worth picking up for soul heads. I will admit that I await Shaw’s artistic development with trepidation. While This is Ryan Shaw is a great disc, I’m not sure how long he can sustain my interest with this particular flavor. I’m reminded of how much I loved Jurassic 5’s first two releases, so explicitly throwing back to old school hip hop a la Sugarhill Records. Yet they failed to progress past that point, and I lost interest by their third album. Hopefully Shaw doesn’t meet the same fate, but develops more of his own compositions and style, and builds upon rather than simply recaptures classic soul music. In the meantime, enjoy his rendition of “I’ll Be Satisfied,” and mosey on over to his Myspace page for more.
Buy This Is Ryan Shaw.
…and the inevitable shameless plug: Gonzo’s Music-O-Rama. Peace!