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Haven't Heard of Joss Stone Yet? Don't Worry - You Will.
So, I ran across this article in Entertainment Weekly about a girl named Joss Stone. Supposedly the "arrival" of the best new blues singer to come along in a very long time. Sultry. Soulful. World weary.
Yeah. That was my reaction, too.
But I read the article and I was fairly impressed by the company she was keeping. This wasn't some pre-packaged teenie popper in a belly shirt. This was a girl with so much soul and so much talent that her label couldn't wait while she took the time to put together her first album of all original songs (something she's working on now). They just couldn't wait to get her voice out there, to let the world hear her.
S-curve records brought her to the U.S. to record with the likes of Betty Wright (who produced) and soul legend Angie Stone (no relation) to record The Soul Sessions. This teenager more than holds her own in what is a truly astonishing set of covers. And what a set! Where many would have chosen a roster of tunes familiar to the ear, Stone and her producers have put together an eclectic collection of tracks that I confess were unfamiliar to me. This was a very smart move, as it means that for the most part, we feel as though we're hearing these songs for the very first time. There are tunes by Aretha Franklin and The Isley Brothers, but not the easy picks. No "Respect" here. Thank God. The one song that everyone will know, "Some Kind of Wonderful," is retooled for Joss, and is a funky little bit of familiarity. Strange, then, that it's also the weakest point on the disc. That's testament to Joss Stone's talent.
I defy you to go to Amazon and listen to the first two tracks, and not be taken with her.
The girl sings with an emotional maturity most songbirds twice her age can't muster, and she has a throaty rasp that's sexier than all of Xtina's slutty outfits put together.
That's unfair of me, though. Even mentioning any of the teeny bopper pop stars in the same breath with Joss Stone--just because she's young--is a disservice to her, and to you.
This isn't music for adolescents.
This is soul.