Enduring dreary winter weather in New England demands looking forward to the longer days and warmer months of summer. The new single by the ever soulful and stylistic vocalist José James is the perfect antidote for those needing a little vitamin D boost. “Turn Me Up” features multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Aloe Blacc and is one of twelve guest-filled tracks on James’ upcoming album No Beginning No End 2. Following five releases on Blue Note Records, including 2012’s No Beginning No End, the genre-bending James is set to delight fans on March 6th with a sequel on his own independent label Rainbow Blonde Records. No Beginning No End 2 sustains the same jazz-laced, retro-inspired R&B sound with numerous guest appearances to boot (Laura Mvula, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Ledisi, Lizz Wright, Erik Truffaz, Hindi Zahra, Taali, Alberto Lopez), and pays homage to his various influences such as Bill Withers, whom James celebrated in 2018 with the cover album Lean On Me.
Stream José James’ “Turn Me Up” featuring Aloe Blacc
The overall energy that pervades on “Turn Me Up” is rich, relaxing, and celebratory. For those on the lookout for a funky strut tune to blare in your open top while driving down Main Street this coming July, then look no further. Mr. James’ smooth baritone voice, accompanied by Blacc’s harmony and lyrical echoing, rocks breezily above the rhythm section, and when during the chorus he sings, “I’m feeling wonderful, doing big things in my life”, you feel pretty damn wonderful and capable of big things too. The track ends with a tremendously satisfying outro with a descending half step phrase, driven by terrific conga playing from Alberto Lopez. José James carries the Withers/Green/Gay torch with this song into the next decade, and you should come along for the ride.
No Beginning No End 2, the new album by vocalist José James drops March 6th on Rainbow Blonde Records
José James 2020 Tour Dates
2/12: Tokyo, JP @ Billboard Live
2/14: Osaka, JP @ Billboard Live
3/21: Denver, CO @ Dazzle Jazz
3/22: Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room
3/25: New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
3/27: Washington, DC @ The Hamilton Live
5/7: Evanston, IL @ SPACE
5/8-9: Minneapolis, MN @ Dakota
Morgan Talbot works in secondary education and arguably has too many records in his house. He enjoys live music, the outdoors, and an occasional geeky boardgame.