Andria Simone drops album


Multi-Talented Composer / Vocalist Andria Simone just gave birth to a fantastic musical journey which takes you through an exhilarating 11 Track musical experience known as “Evolve” The music of Simone is mostly categorized as old school avant-garde Pop, but is also equal parts fascinating, engaging, challenging, and altogether passionate.

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Music on “Evolve” is shall I say invigorating to the mind, body and soul. If anything, it captures the sheer impassioned rocking blue vibe that runs through these tracks like it runs through the veins of these pieces. All of this creates a musical environment so compelling and oh so listenable, compatible with virtually any listener. In many ways there are parts of the tracks that feel inspired by the 60’s and 70’s with a Blues-Pop-Rock crossover in general, but make no mistakes this a stacked CD. The music goes down smooth. I say smooth because most notably in the way that the same pieces use more melodic straight forward movements –more compatible to a mass audience no doubt. Some of this might be categorized as old school soul-pop. Just look at her role models: Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Amy Winehouse. To me she reminds me of Joss Stone.

The result is fused brilliance entitled “Evolve” an 11-song LP where abandonment, self-awareness and consciousness coalesce. The first track off the album, provocatively titled “Torn” is lyrically fascinating and vocally seductive. She is not a conventional 12-bar blues singer, but she can certainly excel in that format. That was vividly demonstrated when she participated in the famed Women’s Blues Revue at Toronto’s historic Massey Hall. Sharing the spotlight alongside such veterans as Shakura S’Aida, Divine Brown and Lori Yates, she dazzled with killer versions of tunes by Etta, Janis and Little Walter, earning a standing ovation.

I might add much of it is not dumbed down Pop – quite the opposite. The Simone camp/production team is not stupid – they are presenting this style of music in the most marketable light possible despite the dated sound it sounds quite modern, sung to us by a most marketable artist. Here we see the best of both worlds – Bluesy Pop and crossover soul-rock from the 60’s and 70’s. As a result “Evolve” covers a lot of ground. From the time it takes off with “torn” to the time “Evolve” finds itself drawing to its close with “Burn Me Baby” it feels as though it might not leave your soul after the music has stopped. Much like a brilliant sunset, but eventually it does indeed begin to fade out, leaving an indescribable feeling of joy, positive residue of the music has been left behind. I see “Evolve” as an album full of hope during a dark and unpredictable journey. The sound shines with cautious optimism about the future.

Getting back to Simone she is an impressive vocalist but there were a few rough patches here and there when she becomes overly raspy and powerfully “nitty-gritty.” Despite this at times the songs embody the human spirit like on “Hondin’ On”, “Revealed” and “Nothing Comes Easy” all with gifted sensibilities and a songwriters touch. Thick bass, exuberant Keyboard/Piano, Saxophone and subsequent Horn Section backed up by a full tilt solo guitar and rhythm section drums are prominently displayed throughout the album. The many different styles and textures on the album are utilized in the best possible fashion.

Nowhere is this “keep it real” enthusiasm for life more evident than in pieces “Torn”, “Love Me”, and “”Nothin’ Comes Easy”. These standout tracks are playful both melodically and instrumentally sound. Once again the opener “Torn” is one of the album’s main attractions and is a great kickoff statement. This energy continues on through rocking songs like “Groove Doctor.” I like the way the album wraps with ”Revealed” and “Burn Me Baby” with a melodic narrative that work wonders for the albums finale emotion.

Eric Vinnedge