September 28, 2004

YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME:

On 'Mind,' Joss Stone soulfully stretches out (Renee Graham, September 28, 2004, Boston Globe)

It would be natural to talk about how much Joss Stone's voice has matured since her 2003 debut, "The Soul Sessions," except that this teenager has always had the seasoned, lived-in pipes of a singer decades older.

A 16-year-old blonde from rural England with a voice marinated in classic Stax soul might have seemed like a gimmick. And with "The Soul Sessions," primarily a collection of obscure R&B songs, such as Joe Simon's "The Chokin' Kind," some gently dismissed Stone as a vocalist with enough of an ear to mimic soulfulness, but without the emotional ability to plumb the rich truths within the songs.

Of course, such sniping completely missed a very vi- tal point -- regardless of age or upbringing, Stone has a smashing voice, resonant with passion, power, and sass. That's even more apparent with her new album, "Mind, Body & Soul," due in stores today. Freed from the dusty grooves of her debut's old soul records, Stone gets to show off more of her own, still-developing, musical personality, as well as display her deepening confidence and grace as a singer.Go to www.boston.com/ae/music to hear clips from "Mind, Body & Soul." Stone co-wrote most of this album's tracks, and reassembles many of her debut's R&B stalwarts, including her mentor, singer-songwriter Betty Wright, guitarist Willie "Little Beaver" Hale, organist Timmy Thomas, and pianist Benny Lattimore. On various tracks she also gets assistance from Nile Rodgers (guitar on "You Had Me,") and ?uestlove (drums on "Sleep Like a Child.") Stone is the sparkling centerpiece, and it's her voice that propels this album through its 14 tracks.


Dusty Springfield wasn't built in a day.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2004 8:56 AM
Comments

Joss Stone is a freak of nature. I wouldn't put the maturity of her adolescent voice quite with Judy Garland's at the same age, but its close. What's more remarkable to me is that a teenager from the English Midlands has such great feel for American blues while avoiding that Mariah-Carey-poseur vocal overstatement (which young female singers with great pipes seem unable to resist).

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 28, 2004 1:46 PM
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