Here is a list of my top ten artists that make music that relaxes me.
1. Dionne Warwick – It’s something about her voice and the easy arrangements of those classic Burt Bacharach songs. Dionne’s voice effortlessly floats over the melody. It doesn’t matter if the song is a ballad such as “Don’t Make Me Over” or something faster like “Do You Know the Way to San Jose”.
2. Bebe & Cece Winans – Music for the soul indeed. Relaxes my mind, body and soul. Meaningful lyrics and perfect harmonies. Bebe & Cece are truly an excellent team in music. I’m loving their new single “Close To You” too! For classic Bebe & Cece, “In Harm’s Way” always takes me to another
place and let me tell you that other place is way less stressful.
3. Brook Benton – Say who? Brook Benton known for the song “Still Waters Run Deep”, “Rainy Night In Georgia and his hit duets with Dinah Washington. Brook Benton relaxes me and when I feel lazy, he has the right song for me: “My Lazy Day”. He says “I’m just taking it easy, it’s my lazy day”. Well I heard that Brook! His baritone voice is classic smooth soul. No soul shouting for this gentleman. He’s as smooth as Nat King Cole with that Baritone but he has more style. He dips down to the lows of Barry White.
4. Boyz II Men – For me Boyz II Men is the last of the great male group. At the height of their careers they were superstars and rightfully so. Those guys could/can sing! The harmonies were so tight and the music so classic. Turn on some Boyz II Men, get you a bottle of wine, and sit in your chair with your feet propped up. My favorite album of theirs is “II” that features such hits as “End of the Road”, “On Bended Knee”, and “I’ll Make Love to You”. Classic album indeed! If you’re a really big fan of harmony, you’ll enjoy their cover of “Yesterday” the classic Beatles song. Boyz II Men take is one of the best and personally the best I’ve ever heard!
5. Kirk Whalum – Saxophonist extraordinaire, Kirk Whalum knows he can make that sucker talk to you. He gained success for being Whitney Houston’s saxophonist. This man bridges the gap of Gospel and Jazz. Do yourself a favor and pick up “The Gospel According To Jazz” and “The Babyface Songbook” albums by Kirk Whalum. If you enjoy Soul, Jazz, Gospel, R&B/Neo Soul: You will surely enjoy those two albums.
6. Aaron Neville – Aaron is comfortable singing anything: from soul to country. Blessed with a one of a kind voice. A voice that dips and turns but never overdone. “Tell Like It Is” is a classic soul record and his duets with both Trisha Yearwood and Linda Ronstadt is more of the country route but never the less soulful.
7. Goapele – A friend introduced me to Goapele’s music a couple of years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. She’s soulful, modern, and just all the around musically blessed. People know Jill Scott and Erykah Badu as the Neo-Soul Queens; I really wish more people knew Goapele and her music. Songs like “First Love” and “Salvation” are like poems set to music, while being sung by a Neo-Soul angel (Not sure if there is such a thing but if it was…).
8. Phyllis Hyman – Most of Phyllis Hyman hits came from faster songs but she’s truly at home with a ballad. She’s the ultimate song stylist with riffs that are truly her own but don’t expect the big screams of a Patti Labelle or the soul shouts of The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Even when she belts one out, it’s the most elegant thing you will ever experience. My favorites are “Old Friend” and “Meet Me on the Moon”: The songs are truly about the lyrics.
9. Luther Vandross – Everybody knows Luther and it’s really not much that you can say about him that hasn’t already been said. He’s possibly the smoothes Soul tenor that has ever sung a song. Luther is the master of knowing when to pull back. I’ve never heard this man sing a bad note or overdo a song. He was very comfortable with his voice and the listener wins because of that. His duets are excellent because it’s not about a battle of high notes but it’s about singing with each other. The best I’ve ever heard Beyonce sing was with Luther Vandross. Check out their duet “The Closer I Get to You” off his “Dance with My Father” album.
10. Corine Bailey Rae – Corine has only released one studio album and a live album but this young woman has it. What is it? I don’t know but it’s talented and soulful. I like whatever she has and can’t wait until the next album. The woman sings, writes and strings that guitar likes it’s a harp. My favorites: “Trouble Sleeping” and “Till It Happens to You”. Actually I love the entire album and I can’t wait until the next one. “The Sea” is due in 2010 and I’ll be the first in line or the first on Amazon.com…
I don’t know about you but after listening to this group of artists, I’m relaxed. Have a very happy and safe weekend.