Soulful Sketches

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 4:57 PM

What is a sketch without some kinda subject?
Dwele, taken from Sketches of a Man (Intro)

Artist: Dwele
Album: Sketches of A Man
Release Date: 6.24.08

It would appear that R&B music is experiencing a re-awakening of sorts. For years it seemed the genre was stuck in a state of suspended animation; stale talent producing less than stellar hits, or talentless artists with brow-raising sales leaving a huge “WTF” over the heads of the true R&B listener. That brings me to the artist of the hour, one who has made a name for himself in the popular sub-genre of neo-soul: Dwele. Sketches of a Man is the third studio release from the Detroit native and without a doubt this album embodies the qualities that make R&B music a much loved genre. With Sketches, Dwele returns music to its own, infusing his soulful vocals and warm flavored falsetto with masterfully blended instrumentation and colorful imagery. Translation: Chalk another one up for Dwele, this one’s a hit…

I’m Cheatin is the lead single that introduces the album, a between-the-lines kinda slow jam, and it’s really not what the title suggests. Longtime fans can appreciate Dwele’s grown man perspective on A Few Reasons, a sequel to The Truth from his debut album, Subject. His ability to light up a dance floor is continually showcased on this album, with the funky 70’s-reminiscent groove on Feels So Good, and the electric album closer Body Rock. There’s a story to tell with Shady, a true to life tale of sex and deceit narrated to a mid-tempo beat. A definite highlight of this project would be the cover of Bobby Caldwell’s Open Your Eyes (the song sampled in Common’s The Light). Dwele took a smooth approach to this one updating it gracefully with some of today’s flavor and the same sensitivity embodied in the lyrics; add the guitar rift towards the end, and the masterpiece is complete.

Sketches of a Man marks a period of growth for Dwele, now on Koch records: more creative control, which led to upward progression in his ability to put his poetry in motion. This album mixes a lot of elements of jazz with R&B and throws in some hip-hop for good measure. He leaves behind the large synthesizers and sounds from the pop world for a more unplugged, soulful sound. Beyond being just a singer, Dwele’s musicianship is what shines through, his ability to fuse together different elements into a unified sound. If you can’t tell, I’m a fan… R&B heads, this one’s for you, pick up Sketches of a Man, due in stores June 24th...


1 Comment

  1. bshepjr Said,

    i havent had time to listen to this album yet, but i cant wait to hear some good rnb!

    Posted on June 22, 2008 at 7:14 AM


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