Leon Beal has had a great deal of experience on stage and in performance, having opened up for some of the greatest names in soul music. His debut CD really was a smashing set - if you are not aware of it then please check it out on CD Baby. The follow up album is perhaps not as strong but is certainly not a disappointment either - not by any stretch of the imagination! It's an album of contrasts - light and shade - different flavours and different moods and as such is a thoroughly listenable and enjoyable album. Sets like these differ so much from the mainstream music scene as rammed down our throats by the media - you know the sort: plodding, monochranistic formulaic modern R'n'B sets that neither inspire nor captivate. Leon Beal has character, depth and is a REAL talent. His voice is commanding, it has emphasis and isn't afraid to show a vulnerability as well as an exuberance and catharsistic quality that only real soul singers can make claim to. The outset of the album is sheer joy to the ears: uptempo modern disco-soul with a house music dressing. Pulsating rhythms, wah-wah guitar and powerful vocals celebrating nights out simply gettin' down and having fun. Smooth, with real emphasis and oomph when needed, Leon Beal carries this off with ease.
Fans of sax and soul will mourn the absence of such an instrument in today's music scene, yet Leon has seen the light and has plenty of sax drizzled over his songs. I really have to highlight the wonderfully rich "Closer To You" for many reasons - great musicianship, vocally strong and real direction all combine to create a heady track and one that I can heartily recommend. "Good Love" follows a similar recipe for success as does the 80s sounding "Lights, Camera, Action!". I particularly appreciate the haunting synth and guitar. If you prefer a more fluid and 'real instrument' kind of sound then "Live The Life" complete with piano, muted trumpet and flute will really appeal to you as it does me. The final track, "Why Do You Have To Leave", closing the set is really strong - a totally essential song which has excellent production and although very contemporary and very much quality it would have great appeal to those who love Southern flavours. So, in summing up - a multi-talented artist with a multicoloured, varied and interesting release. Can't do much better than that can you?!
The Vibe Scribe