Stax is back with Soulive's No Place Like Soul, a bold new statement from New York's preeminent groove machine and the first new-artist release from the Concord Music Group's relaunch of the legendary Memphis soul label. Since forming Soulive in 1999, guitarist Eric Krasno, organist Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans have developed a reputation as one of the most sought after instrumental soul-funk trios around, a hard-touring live act that's thrown down everywhere from small rock clubs to opening arena shows for the Rolling Stones. Yet an interesting thing happened when the three veteran musicians hooked up last year to begin work on the follow-up to 2005's critically acclaimed Break Out: They discovered that rather than extend their past achievements, they were more interested in racking up some new ones.
We all show up at our rehearsal spot, and we're sitting around looking at each other, Alan remembers. No one brought any tunes. So we're like, 'What're we gonna do?' The drummer laughs. Slowly we started working on some stuff. I threw something in, Eric threw something in, Neal threw something in. And it all ended up being vocal-based.
Vocals aren't entirely new for Soulive: Featuring appearances from soul-music luminaries like Chaka Khan, Ivan Neville and Corey Glover, Break Out found the trio beginning to push its music in a less improvised, more song-based direction. But this time the band-experienced collaborators who've recorded with Dave Matthews, Talib Kweli and Meshell Ndegeocello, among others-craved bigger change.
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