The voice of Calvin Richardson stirs emotions deep within with his earnest delivery but on his newest album “All or Nothing” (Shanachie) the multi-Grammy Award nominated vocalist goes beyond that and touches the soul.
Maybe it’s because he is older now but he stirred in me images of James Brown where in the past, he produced visions of Otis Redding. Produced by Willie Clayton, the “All or Nothing” album offers 11 outstanding selections.
“I’m glad to be here,” Richardson said. “It was that time. The last album was in 2014— it’s been three years. It was just time to create. You have to be obedient to the universe. This particular album was put together with Willie (Clayton). Him and I decided to create.”
And, what a creation it turned out to be! They took the good old sounds of Soul music and mixed it with contemporary beats and rhythms using styles borrowed from Hip-Hop, R&B, Rock and Jazz. The influences from these genres are slight but it’s just enough to make it the freshest Soul album to come out in a long time.
“We put it out there and radio just started playing it,” Richardson said about ‘Treat Her Right.’ the album’s first single. “The labels started coming. So I’ve been out there working. I just did the video for ‘Treat Her Right.’ Lots of labels are interested in people doing things for themselves.”
Calvin Richardson was doing his thing on the Gospel circuit when he met K-Ci and JoJo (Jodeci) who inspired him with their group to create his own and their song “Love Slave” ended up on the soundtrack of the film New Jersey Drive in 1995. He was doing his thing with his group when Uptown/Universal signed him as a solo artist in 1999 and released his debut “Country Boy.” He was doing his thing at Uptown when Angie Stone heard him and did a duet with him on her album “Mahogany Soul.” Well you get the picture. Calvin is also a songwriter and has written songs for Charlie Wilson, Angie Stone, Joe, and Raphael Saadiq.
My favorite cuts on the “All or Nothing” project include the title track “All or Nothing” because it’s a funky song and I like to dance; I also think the lead guitar support is awesome and the harmony tight; “The Only One” because his vocals are smooth and offer an R&B sound with Hip-Hop influences in the background that give it that club feel; “Can’t Let Go (acoustic)” because of the old-time Soul sound that had me thinking of James Brown and I love the organ that takes you to church at the end; the single, “Treat Her Right” because it offers his signature Calvin Richardson vocals, that still evoke images of James Brown; “Breaking Down Inside” where his vocals are calmed down as he sings about love lost; and lastly, “Holding On/Can’t Let Go (remix).”
To learn more about Calvin Richardson, visit: www.IAmCalvinRichardson.com and for more on the “All or Nothing” album release, visit: www.Shanachie.com.
Eunice Moseley is a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates. For more entertainment, visit: www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com.