This is the eponymously-titled debut album from British blues-soul sensation, Corinne Bailey-Rae. Inspired by artists such as Billie Holiday and Jill Scott, this is a recording that displays a patchwork of influences, all held together wonderfully by Rae's unique vocal stylings. Includes the singles 'Like A Star' and 'Put Your Records On'.
When soul music is at its finest, a great vocalist can take you along on a journey into their sadness, loneliness, joy, and passion. When mixing that voice with horns, harmonies, and a bluesy Hammond organ, that same music can seamlessly travel across decades. Many new artists claim to accomplish that feat, but few are sincerely ageless and timeless: Corinne Bailey Rae has those qualities in spades. Rae--a newcomer out of Leeds has created a self-titled CD that occasionally evokes the feeling of a '70s Bill Withers classic, while bringing inflections of Zero 7 and Alicia Keys to her grooves as well. Straight from track one, "Like a Star" displays a restrained soulfulness that shows her strengths through a whisper soft melody. Other standout cuts include the breakup-ache of "Till It Happens To You" and "Choux Pastry Heart," which discloses her jazz-affected timing and the level of powerful songwriting that she is capable of at her very best. In a day and age where a good voice alone can provide you with a golden ticket, it is refreshing to see that Rae has not only written or cowritten every song on her debut, she also contributes guitar, bass, keys, and percussion to the tracks. Her songs have some room to mature, but as a new recording artist in her mid-20s, so does she. Soul lovers, pass the word: this is one impressive debut. --Denise Sheppard