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Reviews: Lucas Kellison ~ Rise|
Posted on Saturday, September 08, 2007 @ 23:20:02 UTC
Artist: Lucas Kellison
Home: Lincoln, Nebraska
Style: Soul / R&B
Quote: "Rise is filled with many aural delights, which will oftentimes remind you of the great days of soul music’s past."
By Dan MacIntosh
Lucas Kellison knows how to create immediately appealing dance music. Rise is filled with many aural delights, which will oftentimes remind you of the great days of soul music’s past.
The track that kicked me in the butt and made me instinctively turn up the volume is titled “She Wants To (MOVE)." It’s got a rolling clavinet part that borrows (but does not steal) the best parts of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground." One called “Cain’s Blood” is also a standout. With it, Kellison uses the Biblical story of Cain and Abel to help describe a duel nature where half of his thoughts are focused on heaven, while the other half look for trouble. Its lyric also mentions his church-going mom and bar-hopping dad. He's inherited both the best and the worst characteristics from his parents.
In addition to these spiritual thoughts, Kellison is equally concerned with social issues. “LoveFearPayDayHightDesire” yearns for a better day of human unity, whereas the CD’s title track is aimed clearly at the Katrina disaster. And just as the waters rose to flood out and strand that hurricane's victims, the people of that region will rise again. “Halliburton," a company that is profiting big time from the war in Iraq, opens with a spoken word sample from a Martin Luther King speech. This is particularly effective because it makes you wonder what Dr. King would have thought about our military fiasco over there. Chances are he would have led protests against it. This track also includes a George W. Bush drop-in, and we unfortunately know how he feels about this foreign policy disaster. It was his bad idea in the first place.
In addition to doing most the singing, Kellison plays bass, guitar, organ, synths, and cello. Kellison’s only fault is that he doesn’t have a truly distinctive singing voice. The aforementioned Stevie Wonder would have turned these tracks into master blasters for sure.
Tummy is Kellison’s primary musical collaborator. He helps with drums, samples, and other bits and pieces. He also provides vocals to “Melody." Kellison spices his soul-funk with plenty of extra instrumental elements. The gently swaying “I Smile” adds Nicolas Semrad’s jazzy piano, Andy Stavas plays some sax, and Brian Morrow also provides flute and sax in various places.
I realize I’ve mentioned Stevie Wonder’s name a bunch of times in this review, but Wonder has always been that voice crying in the wilderness. But Wonder is not on the charts like he was back in the 70s, and we could really use his proactive nature right now. The world needs his voice of reason, especially in the face of horrors like Katrina and the Iraq war. If there’s any justice, Lucas Kellison will rise to the occasion to become Wonder's new, necessary successor.
Artist Website: http://www.lucaskellison.com
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