Lee Fields & The Expressions
Emma Jean - TRUTH & SOUL
FILTER Grade: 78%
By Daniel Kohn on June 20, 2014
He may not be as well known as his contemporaries, but being underrated hasn’t affected Lee Fields’s legacy. In over 45 years of making music, the soul veteran has fluently melded funk, blues and R & B. His latest effort, Emma Jean, builds on the explorational acclaim of his past two well-received records. With a booming yet unshakeable voice that hasn’t aged a bit, Fields and his terrific backing band’s sharply-focused instrumentation—including the bold use of horns—are a throwback to a time when singers were laidback, showcasing their swagger and confidence by bearing their souls through deeply personal songs. It’s this aura of vulnerability that makes songs like the Dan Auerbach–penned “Paralyzed” brutally crippling. Even on the up-tempo ones (“Standing By Your Side”), you can’t help but be connected to the desperation and urgency. No matter how you look at it, tales of love and loss sound better when there’s a voice like Fields guiding you along.