Charles Bradley

Most artists appreciate their audiences, just as many are grateful for them, but few artists love their fans as much and as sincerely as Charles Bradley. “I want them to know how much they have helped me grow," notes Bradley when discussing Victim of Love, the follow up to his widely praised debut album No Time For Dreaming. The “Screaming Eagle Of Soul” is set to release the 11-track set April 2 on Daptone Records imprint Dunham Records.

By now, Bradley’s remarkable, against-all-odds rise has been well-documented – how he transcended a bleak life on the streets and struggled through a series of ill-fitting jobs – most famously as a James Brown impersonator at Brooklyn clubs – before finally being discovered by Daptone's Gabe Roth. The year following the release of No Time For Dreaming was one triumph after another: a stunning performance at South By Southwest that earned unanimous raves; similarly-gripping appearances at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Newport Folk Festival and Outside Lands (to name just a few); and spots on Year-End Best Lists from Rolling Stone, SPIN, GQ, Pasteand more.

Victim of Love is a continuation of that story, moving past the 'heartache and pain' and closer to the promise of hope. Where the last record opened with the apocalyptic "The World (is Going Up in Flames), Victim begins with the “Strictly Reserved for You,” a track where Bradley grabs his girl, jumps in a car and hits the highway for a romantic getaway. "You Put The Flame on It" sees Bradley backed by a horn chart that sounds like it was lifted from a lost Four Tops single. And on “Victim of Love,” the track that lent the album its name, Bradley sings over a gentle acoustic guitar, "I woke up this morning, I felt your love beside me.”

The new album also brings a broader musical scope. Where Dreaming hewed close to the rough-and-ready R&B sound Daptone has become known for, Victim is stylistically more restless, edging closer into the kind of psychedelic soul The Temptations explored in the early '70s. "People are not going to expect this. There's a lot of psych influences on this record, a lot of fuzz guitar," notes Thomas Brenneck of Menahan Street Band, Bradley's producer, bandleader and co-writer. "Confusion” most exemplifies the new direction of the album, opening with an echo-drenched vocal and charging rhythmic cadence.

The album’s closing track "Through the Storm" best summarizes Victim’s message. Over a deep gospel groove, Bradley expresses his gratitude – to his fans, his friends and to God – for their support, their dedication and their devotion. "When the world gives you love," he sings, "It frees your soul."

This is the new message of Charles Bradley, the Bradley who has emerged from the heartache stronger and more confident, overflowing with love to share. This is Charles Bradley, victim of love -- gratefully returning the joy that has been given to him.

Caroline Smith

Merging ’90s R&B and neo-soul with her indie-rock roots, Caroline Smith’s new music has settled comfortably into a new backdrop as she takes a step from girl to woman. Half About Being a Woman is a record about self-acceptance and growing into yourself; it’s about going back to the roots of ‘feel-good’ music. “I wanted to find my way back to the reason why I started playing music in the first place,” says Smith. “Over the last year I began to embrace that being a strong, confident, opinionated woman is something to be proud of, not subdued. I have to embrace where my roots are and stay true to who I am: an unabashed fan of 90′s R&B, pop, and neo-soul.”

While some might be surprised by the transition, the truth is that Caroline has never stopped evolving. From folky beginnings and an indie rock second album, she has been consistently pushing herself to new heights. With soaring vocals and catchy melodies at the heart of all three albums, Caroline is settling into a sound that feels more like home. “I feel I’ve finally created something that is a nod to some of my favorite records while being able to use my own voice to illustrate my personal transition into woman hood; That time in a woman’s life when her ‘fat butt’ becomes her ‘phat ass’. I wanted to make music to celebrate that and to encourage other women to do the same.” This glimpse of an artist in flux was captured perfectly in the PBS documentary on Caroline, My Way Back Home.

The video for “Magazine”, created by director/editor Dan Huiting (Bon Iver, The National, Local Natives, Andrew Bird) and DP Ryan Thompson, perfectly captures the the theme of a woman actively embracing her femininity and transcending societal expectations. The album, released by United Interests, was produced by Jake Hanson (guitarist- Mason Jennings, Solid Gold), recorded at Near North Studios by Brett Bullion (Dark Dark Dark, Chris Walla) and mixed by Paul Marino (Mint Condition). It includes contributions from long-time bandmates Jesse Schuster and Arlen Peiffer (Cloud Cult) along with several guest musicians including Mike Lewis (Bon Iver, Andrew Bird). The band will be touring through the fall to support the album – starting with an expected sold-out show at First Avenue in their home town of Minneapolis, MN.

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Charles Bradley with Caroline Smith

Saturday, December 7 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at The Bluebird