Word Music Friday – Quality close at hand

Being back at work full time means I am neglecting my site a little. I was never a prolific writer but it’s getting harder to fit things in. Where there is a will and all that. Starting this section has been one of the best things I could do. I love the discovery process and putting tunes out there that show us diversity and creativity though a medium that the majority of us appreciate. You don’t have to go to the far corners of the world to find interesting good music.


The two songs I have today are unusual for different reasons. The first is from what at first seems to be an unlikely collaboration between Elvis Costello (English singer/song writer) and my own favourite group – The Roots (best live band in the world). Yeah, I know. WTF! It works though. There’s soul, there’s old school sensibilities from Costello and there’s outstanding musicianship from The Roots. It doesn’t matter if they are working with Jay-Z, D’Angelo or John Legend – they bring another level to any artist. The first song on the album for some reason reminds me of Stereo MCs. And that is by no means a bad thing. Remember them. As the song starts with the drums and snares, it could be the start of a fantastic Hip-Hop tune. It’s pretty hard to choose one song but since I could only find a video for one song – Walk Us Uptown, that makes things easier. The album reminds me of some of he work the Black Keys have produced. 

The Foreign Exchange – not to be confused with The Foreign Beggars – are another group that I have been paying attention to for a while. Way back, I spent a little bit of time in North Carolina. For me it’s always interesting to see what’s going on in the Hip-Hop scene when I visit somewhere, especially in the US. I dicovered a group called Little Brother who were outstanding. They worked alongside the now infamous 9th Wonder to produce Hip-Hop that was forward looking but also reminiscent of the halcyon days of the 1990s. The did eventually go their separate ways which led to the creation of Foreign Exchange. The first album is still my favourite as it’s full of that laid back, lyrical Hip-Hop that I love so much but the other albums have been great for their own reasons. A more soulful, RnB sound. The new album is called Love in Flying Colours – an altogether more positive album on love and relationship (you should check out the Leave it all Behind for sadder tropes.) The producer, Dutch born Nicolay and singer/rapper Phonte, created their first album without ever having met – thanks be to the internet. Check out  “Call it home” below

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