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Venturing into the Heart of Soul: Kevin Jenkins’ Step Inside, CD Review

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A Mellow and Intriguing Fusion of Funk, Soul and R&B

Kevin Jenkins’ Step Inside, CD Review

Step Inside by Kevin Jenkins (2013)Kevin Jenkins’ debut album, Step Inside, is a pleasant and mellow offering that fuses elements of R&B and Soul to craft an inspiring album with a consistent theme of love at its core. The compositions (co-written by Jenkins and guitarist Tomás Doncker) are intricate and delicate in execution, which take the listener on an interesting journey.

Jenkins is no stranger to the music industry. In fact, the highly respected bassist has performed and/or recorded with some of the biggest names in music, including Michael Jackson, The Police, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Graham Parker, Black 47, BB King, Tom Rush and Joe Cocker, among many others, for close to 40 years. Jenkins’ ability to mesh numerous styles has come to the fore on Step Inside, which features 12 tracks that venture head first into the realms of not just R&B and Soul, but also Quiet Storm and blues.

Step Inside is actually more akin to a dreamy soundscape, heightened by Jenkins’ extremely smooth voice, which adds a sultry dimension to these songs.

“Flying” is a nice, short acoustic ballad that opens the album. Airy and mellow, it helps set the overall mood for what’s to come.

“Can’t Get Over You” has a nice, soulful groove that brings to mind the sounds of Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder, and the backing vocals add a nice atmosphere to this particular tune.

Jenkins also does an interesting take on Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman”, forever immortalized by country singer Glen Campbell. Slowly paced and far removed from its country origins, Jenkins gives this classic song a dreamy and peaceful perspective that makes it sound highly original, instead of just another cover.

“Save the Day” brings to mind the 1970s band War, with its cool fusion of reggae and Latin inspirations. It has a nice, driving rhythm and very groovy accents of harmonica and horns in the mix.

“Take this Ride” is the best song on the album. It’s a hip and funky number with a terrific guest vocal spot by blues singer Shameika Coleman, and very crunchy guitar work by guest Arthur Neilson.

Step Inside clearly has soul. Many of the songs seem to have their genesis in the groove of the 1970s, with positive messages of love sprinkled throughout. It’s an interesting album, that may irk some listeners as the songs can be perceived as just a bit too mellow, but it’s an entertaining listen, filled with funky grooves, a very tight and talented band, and a clear, well-mastered recording, that’s extremely catchy and fun.

Dave Bower is Co-Publisher of The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

Short URL: http://thefreegeorge.com/thefreegeorge/?p=18540

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