Earl St. Clair a name you should know if you’re a fan of R&B. For that matter, actually, you should know his name if you flat out love great music. While he is classified mainly as an R&B artist, his music is soul through and through, peppered with roots and even perhaps a hint of bluegrass influences. St. Clair is making wholesome old school music sound new on his latest album My Name Is Earl. Spanning seven tracks, the production is a strong, upbeat compilation of effective, pure lyrics and throaty, powerful vocals.
Usually backed up by no more than some light horns, a steady drum beat and perhaps some guitar, St. Clair’s vocals blaze the way on this triumphant release. While he traffics in old school instrumental and melodic styles, his lyrics are fresh and contemporary. He sings of heartache and romance, his voice sinking down to the gutters before surging skywards alongside blazing horns with the refrain. His music is upbeat and victorious in sound, spiritually transcendent in message and lyrically complex. Bottom line, this music is straight up fun. You can’t help but to gently bob your head or tap your foot to the steadily rolling blues-rock style beats. And once Earl sinks his teeth into the melody, forget about it. This is peak breakup music, peak old school American blues, and beak Earl St. Clair.
My favorite track is perhaps the most classically elegiac blues-rock in tone, entitled ‘Three Story Home’. He croons soulfully, “This house ain’t no home, whenever she gone, these nights can get long, in my three story home, I see I was wrong, I guess I’m not that strong, now I’m all alone, in my three story home.” This is the powerful refrain that characterizes the track, and the album itself, each track carrying a piece of Earl himself. It is a rare talent that can translate the old, boxy sound of bluesy R&B into contemporary appeal. It is as though Earl is using the mainstream against itself by essentially creating the best version of this style of music.
Earl St. Clair belongs on our radar. His music is too good to go underrated and under streamed, and his latest album My Name Is Earl simply proves it. As the album title suggests, Earl is uncompromising and irreverently declaring himself on each of the seven tracks of the album. This is Earl, unpolished, honest, dark and beautiful.
By: Fletcher Bonin
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