In an arena that's literally
bubbling over in the female neo-soul genre, newcomer Carmen
Rodgers has found herself to fit in quite well.
The Dallas born native has always had ambitions to be a singer even
from a very young age 'My mother said that I literally came out singing
it was something that I've always done, she said I was singing honestly
before I could talk' said Carmen in the recent interview I had with
Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin,
Minnie Ripperton and Whitney
Houston serving as her major influences, she payed her
dues as a background singer to N'Dambi
another Dallas native (herself a former background singer to the town's
biggest R&B soulstress Erykah Badu
- notice a connection :) and various other ventures including penning
and performing 'Ain't no time'
for Hidden Beach Recordings 'Hidden
Hits' compilation. With the release of her debut CD 'Free'
hitting your record shelves last weeks (Mar 30th) I found it only
fitting to review her disc.
Carmen wrote the majority of
the lyrics to the songs while Geno Young
(who was Erykah Badu's music director
and produced and wrote on her Mama's Gun
CD) and Ernie Green served as
producers. From the start Free
shows tremendous range and diversity as the songs are conceived with
honest heart and emotion.
The album begins with 'Ain't
no Time' a lovely mid tempo mellow groove that oozes Carmen's
sensual vocals over morg keys and organ, from this track alone you
feel that the CD can only get better the deeper you delge into it
and it does. 'Dream' soon follows
and can only be described as a choon and a half mate. The bass line
is well driven and levels out the suttle keys and synchs as Carmen
caresses the word throughout the song. Missing you and 'Try Again'
gives you more of the same but 'Fallen'
catches your ear for it's refreshing honesty in the story she tells
said Carmen ''its about a homeless woman I used to pass by everyday
her name is Gloria she inspired
Other notables include 'Love',
'Hand's of Time', 'Morning'
and the title track - sweet soothing honest harmonies laid over lush
sensual melodies - in a word: Brilliant
This record reminds me very
much of Adriana Evans self-titled
set from about 8 years back. It set the standard then and I'm sure
thatl Carmen's debut will follow suit and carry the torch on. As I
mentioned earlier I had the opportunity to interview Carmen and you
can read the entire interview in the Interview
Room as well as the UK publication M2F which you can get if you
live in the UK or go on line at www.m2fonline.com.
Don't sleep on this one as it's a must have in my book.A very worthy
TY-D Pick indeed
Listen to Carmen
Rodgers - 'Free'
Listen to Carmen
Rodgers - 'Dream'