Aloe Blacc gave a lesson in soul at Schubas Tavern in Belmont on Friday night. In Chicago on his “I Need A No Dollar” Tour, Blacc played selections from his latest album Good Things for a sold out audience of fans, along with a survey of other soulful music from different artists.
It was hard at times to distinguish what exactly Blacc was performing during the evening. Was it a cover, a song from his first album perhaps, or some psychedelic abstraction of musical influences? Well all of that was present, including a wonderful interpretation of “Billy Jean”, all culminating in a night of nostalgic retro-soul splendor.
Blacc believes that all cultures have soul music, and was more than eager to demonstrate this. Along with musicians from The Grand Scheme, he showcased an array of soul present in different musical genres, including Reggae, Latin beats, and even Rock ‘n’ Roll.
I wonder what the future is for artists like Aloe Blacc. There’s a strong affinity for the old - childhood heroes who influence but yet are outdated. It’s one thing to take Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone, and Michael Jackson to create your own sound, relevant and distinctly contemporary. It’s another to recreate their image and sound to live out some fantasy of being them, which sometimes seems to happen with artists like Blacc. But I look forward to listening to more of Aloe Blacc’s music, discovering his own distinct soul.
You can check out more of his music on his Myspace page here.