Lee Clark Allen is an emerging R&B/soul singer/songwriter who recently released his debut EP entitled Little Rock. The album title originates from his growing up in Arkansas. This album certainly has that feel of southern soul, gospel and blues that was a part of American history that became the foundation for so much music. The production does sound modern in a good way. In fact the production is truly exceptional. The instrumentation as well as the vocals are beautifully captured. That being said the seeds of this music have roots that trace much farther back. Suffice it to say there is a beautiful blend of aesthetics that spans over decades, in fact you could argue even over a century.
The EP starts with “This Little Light” which is indeed a cover done in a unique way involving what sounds like a school choir. It’s only about thirty seconds but it is a nice way to introduce the EP.
The first full-fledged song is “I Won’t Tell Myself” and I loved the smooth vocals right away and it is the arguable highlight. I will add that not only are Allen’s vocals absolutely rich and soulful but so is the female accompaniment as well. The instrumentation also just nails all the right notes. It’s an absolutely gorgeous recording that is crisp and natural in the best way possible.
Up next is “Religion (You Are My)” which contains more exceptional vocal performances from everyone involved. The song is like butter on warm toast. It melts and is soulful in a way the whole congregation would be happy to be attending.
“The Way You Love” is about a minute long but perhaps is the most original sounding song in the batch. It’s stripped but unique sounding. I loved it. “Mud (Rise)” is another stripped back song really putting the vocals up front. This song is pretty straightforward but there is just a ton of emotion spewing out from the song. It picks up slightly and with some finger snaps and sounds like the most soulful church musician that you would beg to have at your Sunday worship session.
Last up is “Lay Your Head” and again is fairly stripped back. It’s even more mellow until the end of the song which is a joyful celebration.
I absolutely loved this album. This music is just flat out better than the majority of music that is considered popular. No amount of fancy tricks or some type of computer algorithm are going to create the soul and heart these songs have. Music like this is reflection of the human condition itself. Highly recommended.
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