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Earthtones *

Album: Earthtones *
# Song Title   Time
1)    Alone
2)    Opening Act (The Shooby Dooby Song)
3)    No Wrong
4)    Show Me Naomi
5)    No Expectations
6)    Way with Words
7)    Bad Boys Need Love Too
8)    Everything to Everyone
9)    So Free
10)    No Depression
11)    Any Place
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Alanna Stuart, Erika Fecov, Jana Rybnckov, Felicity Williams, Robin Dann (vocals); Christine Bougie (guitar); James Gadson, Don Kerr, Jason Tait (drums).
  • Audio Mixer: Robbie Lackritz.
  • Recording information: Lincoln County Social Club, Toronto, Canada; Lobb St. Studios, Toronto, Canada; Sono Recording, Prague, Czech Republic; Sonology, Toronto, Canada; Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, USA; The Rooster, Toronto, Canada.
  • Photographer: Hilary Walsh.
  • Afie Jurvanen's fourth Bahamas LP, Earthtones finds the guitarist/songwriter joined by the all-star rhythm section of Pino Palladino and James Gadson. With decades of legendary albums to their individual credit, the bassist and drummer happen to have played together on none other than D'Angelo's Black Messiah. It's not a trivial recording note, as Jurvanen sought them out due to that album and wrote much of Earthtones with these particular collaborators in mind. The result dials up the soul and slow-boiling funk while retaining Jurvanen's laid-back demeanor, all to steady, head-bobbing effect. A prime example of this is the slinky "No Wrong." While it was actually recorded at a later session with Bahamas touring drummer Jason Tait, it captures Gadson's signature less-is-more approach to a masterly slow groove. The song's spacious arrangement also includes likewise efficient but expressive guitar and female backing vocalists. Lyrics on the album don't shy away from contemporary realities, from life as a working musician to sociopolitical woes, and the sassier "Bad Boys Need Love Too" is a pseudo rap that takes on deadbeat dads as well as climate change. Elsewhere, "Opening Act (The Shooby Dooby Song)" reflects on Jurvanen's place in the music industry with both self-doubt and a healthy dose of nonchalance ("Now the music is free/And you can't blame me/Blame the Internet"). Throughout, a carefree spirit reigns, only reinforced by a backing band that keeps things loose and brings a sense of spontaneity to tracks like "Way with Words" and the seven-minute "So Free." At the same time, they and producer Robbie Lackritz always keep their singer in the forefront of the mix and arrangements. Taken together, Earthtones is a refreshing, playful set that hits a sweet spot between classic smooth soul and Jurvanen's pensive soft rock. ~ Marcy Donelson
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