Solid, honestly good soul music is a scarcity these days. Sure, R&B and roots artists are out there in droves, but about a year ago, good modern soul music started and ended with Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. But this year, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears released their debut full-length Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is!, easily one of the best soul albums of the past decade.
Although Black Joe Lewis can wail like Joe Tex and perform like James Brown, he’s anything but vintage. Instead of keeping it in the past, he isn’t afraid to pull some language from the world of hip-hop. And, if his list for us says anything about him, the man clearly has a nice, eclectic variety of influences.
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – “I’m Broke” (from Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears)
If you want to catch the breakthrough soul act of the year (and one of the best new bands of the year), Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears will be in Chicago twice this summer. He’ll be at the Chicago Folk & Roots Festival on July 11 and at Lollapalooza on August 7. Here’s a list of five songs from Joe.
1) Little Joe Washington – “Last Tear” (from Then And Now) – “Greatest living performer. He is way underrated. He lives around Houston and is pretty crazy, but it all comes together on stage.”
2) Menahan Street Band – “Make The Road By Walking” (from Make The Road By Walking) – “Cool beats, sweet grooves, and the best drum sound I’ve heard. Jay-Z sampled this.”
3) 8Ball & MJG – “Mr. Big” (from Comin’ Out Hard) – “Best rap song ever. Period.”
4) Buck Owens – “Whose Gonna Mow Your Grass” (from The Ultimate Collection) – “I can feel his pain on this one. Buck is an amazing country singer. Can’t stop listening to him right now.”
5) Michael McDonald – “I Keep Forgettin'” (from If That’s What It Takes) – “Can’t make a playlist without some Micky D. And I know what you’re thinking, but give it a try.”