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Music Review - `What Kind of World?` by Arlan Feiles (lz)

Arlan Feiles -- What Kind of World?   (click on image to watch video)

 13 January 2020

 

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Most would consider Arlan Feiles a kind of journeyman singer/songwriter. He made his way from Los Angeles, the place of his birth, across the breadth of the U.S. to South Florida before eventually settling down on the Jersey Shore. His efforts with the band Natural Causes found him working with the renowned producer Tom Dowd, whose credits included Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton, among the many. As a solo artist, he’s developed into a steadfast R&B singer of a vintage variety. Indeed, it offers the reason why Feiles new offering, What Kind of World?, a most welcome return and a reminder of the talent and tenacity this exceptional artist has always had to offer.

As always, Feiles maintains his soulful stance, beginning with the gospel-like deliberation of the title track which finds him urgently asking what kind of world this generation will leave to those that follow. Backed by the full flourish of a soulful chorus, the song becomes an emotive plea to tread carefully in the present so that the future has an opportunity not only to survive but to thrive as well.

Still, What Kind Of World? isn’t merely a series of songs intended to sound some sort of alarm, although the urgency and passion invested in that title track does conjure up comparisons to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On in a myriad of ways. Likewise, the sobering and troubling “50 Years of Kavanaugh” brings to mind such early Dylan protest anthems as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a Changin’.” Presumably written about the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, Feiles raises an alarm about the legacy that we’ll be left with as far as our fundamental freedoms are concerned. 

So too, like Gaye, Feiles is an emotive singer whose ability to deliver a love song brings a deeper meaning to the reality of romance and the intimacy that accompanies it. He turns such selections as “Layla,” “Homeward,” “This Broken Heart,” and “You Can’t Ban My Love” into plaintive appeals that are but impossible to ignore. While Feiles’ soulful style is mostly utilized in service to a series of searing ballads, the New Orleans-style piano and shuffled rhythm of “If I Were a Dinosaur” injects some spunk and funk into the proceedings and amps ups the energy to a significant degree.

For all his earlier efforts — five previous solo albums in all — Feiles’ remains well below the radar as far as wider recognition is concerned. 

 

 Lee Zimmerman

 

Lee Zimmerman

To Read All of Lee's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

 


 

 

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