Sound Advice 

The Flyer's music writers tell you where you can go.

A modern-day soul man who hearkens back to such down-home '70s artists as Bill Withers and Bobby Womack, Anthony Hamilton's rise to soul stardom has been a long, hard climb.

Hamilton first got a record deal with Uptown records a decade ago, only to see his label fold before his debut was released. He eventually released an album, XTC, a couple of years later for MCA but saw it sink commercially despite good reviews.

Over the past few years, Hamilton has been biding his time writing songs for others (including Donell Jones and Sunshine Anderson) and singing backup (on tour with D'Angelo and on records for 2Pac and Eve). Hamilton's profile rose again last year when he provided the vocal hook for Nappy Roots' hit "Po' Folks," which led to his partnership with Atlanta producer Jermaine Dupri.

Dupri released Hamilton's current album, Comin' from Where I'm From, on his Arista imprint So So Def, and the result is, hands down, one of the year's best R&B records. A native of North Carolina, Hamilton brings a bit of Southern flavor to his idiosyncratic, humble, and personal brand of soul music, a feel that you can hear on the playful "Cornbread, Fish & Collard Greens."

With organic keyboards and horns brushing up against hip-hop beats and production, Hamilton looks backward and forward at the same time and ends up with one of the freshest neo-soul sounds around. He's especially affecting when reminiscing on his hardscrabble upbringing in Charlotte, as on the title track and especially "Mama Knew Love," which flips the script on the Temptation's "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and breathes life into an increasingly familiar genre (the "Mama" song) with memorable lyrics such as: "Mama knew love like the back roads/Used to fall asleep daily in her work clothes/Mama knew love like the back streets/Used to wipe pee just to make the ends meet."

But the finest testament to Hamilton's bravery and wit might be "Lucille," which references the chorus refrain to Kenny Rogers' (or Waylon Jennings') hit of the same title ("You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille") without ever threatening to become a novelty.

Hamilton will be joined by another young neo-soul up-and-comer, Javier, for a performance at Isaac Hayes Friday, December 12th. -- Chris Herrington

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Turn Up the Volume

      Music Export Memphis aims to expose the city’s musicians to the world.
    • Tramp-Rock Troubador

      Keith Sykes shares stories, singles, and screenplay news in advance of his September show.

Blogs

Tiger Blue

Tigers 44, Southern Illinois 31

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies trade Troy Daniels to Phoenix

Music Blog

Listen Up: Louise Page

News Blog

Suit Targets 'Destructive' Drivers License Policy

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

mother!

News Blog

Supreme Court Steps In on Fayette Church Matter

Intermission Impossible

Muhammad Ali Meets Stepin Fetchit at The Hattiloo Theatre

ADVERTISEMENT

Readers also liked…

  • Support Local Music

    Music Editor Chris Shaw says farewell.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Runnin' From the Law

    A weekend with the Lone Ranger of Love.
    • Mar 10, 2016
  • Chris Maxwell Returns

    The prolific musician on the Gunbunnies, Working with Amy Schumer and his latest solo effort Arkansas Summer.
    • Mar 24, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation