...Her amazingly powerful and soulful voice has finally been allowed to run wild and...
Teddy McDonald 2007
When Music City Soul by Beverley Knight popped through the letterbox I confess I was a little apprehensive. I clearly remember the disappointment of listening to her last studio album, Affirmation. But wait, what’s that I hear? Has someone mistakenly slipped an Aretha Franklin CD into the box? From the opening chorus of “Every Time You See Me Smile” I was blown away…
Interestingly, the sleeve notes feature a quote from Beverley which states, 'I have waited years to make this kind of album, and finally here it is'. I’d love to know why she has had to wait so long as it's clear her amazingly powerful and soulful voice has finally been allowed to run wild and free in its natural habitat. Gone are the polished tricks and schmaltz of past studio productions, replaced here by a refreshingly honest approach, recorded in Nashville and in just five days.
Music City Soul contains a fabulously rich and timeless plethora of gospel soul with oodles of originality. The first single from the album, “No Mans Land” has some truly beautiful and spine-chilling harmonies and “Black Butta” nods in the direction of “Nutbush City Limits” by Ike and Tina Turner. The stand-out track has to be one written by Miss Knight herself, “Every Time You See Me Smile,” with its feel-good groove and guitar licks courtesy of Rolling Stones legend, Ronnie Wood. If you had to pick a fault, and it really is very hard to do so, the weakest track out of fifteen is '‘Saviour'’, whose opening riff has strange echoes of ‘'Walk This Way’' by Aerosmith.
Ultimately, Beverley Knight is the real deal. She has a stunning persona, is a passionate and energetic performer and has a compelling command over her supremely soulful voice. Excuse me while I rush off to book my tickets for her forthcoming UK tour!