10 ago. 2015

Now Joss Stone puts her soul into Reggae

Joss Stone has always been her own woman.

A star at 16, when her album The Soul Sessions sold a million in Britain, the free-spirited Devon singer has since operated largely outside the confines of the celebrity-obsessed, London-centric music business.

Her progress has been erratic as a result. Once hailed as a new soul sensation -Motown legend Smokey Robinson nicknamed her 'Aretha Joplin'- she was ridiculed for adopting a fake American accent at the Brit Awards in 2007, and her career has been a stop-start affair.

On the plus side, she has matured at her own pace and, at 28, is approaching her prime.

Having made one album, Colour Me Free!, in her mum's music bar, she went on to work with two new mentors, Dave Stewart, of Eurythmics, and Mick Jagger, on the lavish side-project Superheavy.

Now she has delivered her most convincing set of original songs to date. Aside from the continuity provided by her supple voice, Stone's seventh album bears little relation to her previous efforts.

Described by the singer as 'a combination of all the things I like', it touches fleetingly on her retro-soul roots, before heading off into reggae and world music.

Aided by London reggae pioneer Dennis Bovell, British Indian composer Nitin Sawhney and Bob Marley's son Damian, Stone handles the change of direction with surprising assurance.

But, while reggae is her main obsession, she looks elsewhere in the opening stages of Water For Your Soul: This Ain’t Love is a dark soul ballad, Let Me Breathe a Spanish guitar workout and Stuck On You a foray into world music, powered by acoustic guitars and Indian tablas.

These tracks also reveal Stone's growing maturity as a writer. Having lived a lot more life now, she can address relationship issues with searing honesty, singing about the end of one affair on Let Me Breathe and the start of another on Stuck On You.

But it is the reggae numbers that give this album its signature sound, and the way Stone adapts her breathy vocals to a new beat is astonishing. Now more comfortable in the studio, she glides effortlessly around the grooves.

Some of the tracks hark back to the late Seventies, while the six-minute jam Way Oh references Bob Marley's Buffalo Soldier.

The moods vary, from the upbeat Molly Town to slower tracks such as Love Me, but Stone rarely falters. As a singer who charted her own course while others faltered, hers is now a talent in full bloom.

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Source: dailymail.co.uk