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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Kevin Jenkins

Step Inside

Review by Gary Hill

This album is pretty close to perfect. The blend of sounds here runs from rock to jazz to blues and more. It’s generally all quite soulful, though, probably landing most often in the R&B genre. It starts off very strong and stays that way for the first three songs. Then we start to hear a few songs that are weaker here and there. The thing is, those tunes are weak in comparison to the rest of the stuff here, but not really weak taken by themselves. All in all, this is a strong release that should entertain a wide range of people.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Flying

Although this song is quite short (less than a minute and a half) it’s very strong. It’s based on acoustic guitar and voice, but other elements lend a bit of space rock to the piece. It’s got a very soulful vocal delivery and is a great cut.

What Comes Around
Another killer tune, this one is soulful, too. It’s got a great blend of rock music, funk, blues and jazz. It’s just so tasty.
Can't Get Over You
While this cut might not have the same kind of “reach out and grab” you magic as the two openers, it just plain oozes cool. It’s more of pure R&B tune and it works very well. The vocals are excellent and the whole song really delivers.
Wichita Lineman
I’m not sure this was such a great choice. I like it better than the Glen Campbell version, but it’s a little lackluster for this release. Also, the production seems a little cheesy here. This was a misstep, but not a horrible one.
Save The Day
Now, this is better. With a reggae backing and some tasteful harmonica, this is bouncy and catchy. It’s also classy.
Take This Ride (featuring Shemekia Copeland)
This blues rocker is a smoking hot tune. Shemekia Copeland’s vocals are a great complement to Jenkins’ and this thing just plain rocks. It’s one of the best tunes here. Considering some of the competition, that says a lot.
Learn To Love
I love the keyboard sound on this tune. It’s got a great soul groove to it. It’s another magical piece of music that’s just about perfect.
Walk Away (featuring Marion Meadows)
This tune is both soulful and rather jazzy. It’s another great number.
Change of Heart
This is a catchy tune that’s got a classic sound. There is a little bit of a disco vibe here, though. I’m not overly certain about some of the instrumentation in the arrangement.
Amazing
This is not bad, but it’s another that’s not up to the level of a lot of the other stuff. It’s sort of lackluster adult contemporary music. The performance is good. The cut just lacks soul and passion.
So High
A step in the right direction, this is a more energetic tune. It’s not as strong as some of the earlier music here. It’s still pretty darned good, though. I do like the section where it works towards space quite a bit, too. It seems to tie into the album’s opening track, too. That’s a nice touch.
What Comes Around (Reprise)
The disc closes by revisiting the second song of the set. This is just a short appearance.
 
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