Kevin Jenkins - Step Inside

Perhaps Step Outside might be a better title than Step Inside for Kevin Jenkins' soulful new album. With it, Jenkins steps outside his usual sideman role, one he's fulfilled for such artists as Roberta Flack and Cyndi Lauper. In fact, his current employer is Shemekia Copeland.

The album's title can be heard sung during a horn-soaked R&B tune called "What Comes Around," which might be termed Jenkins' meditation on karma. This album's most interesting cut, though, is a cover of "Wichita Lineman." Most folks will associate the tune with Glen Campbell's fairly definitive version. You'll think about it differently, though, if you hear Jenkins take. Rather than the sweeping orchestration of Campbell's hit, this one has a cool, jazzy acoustic guitar accompaniment (think Earl Klugh) along with a soulful, male vocal group harmony. He really brings out the soul in this one.

Jenkins is a bassist by trade, but he certainly sings well. He sounds a lot like Seal in some places, and Lionel Richie in others. He has one of those smooth voices that just comes off completely comfortable throughout, whether he's easy like Sunday morning, or getting down a little with the reggae (spiced with harmonica) on "Save The Days."

You always suspect that sidemen and backup singers are pretty darn talented folks, and Step Inside offers definitive proof of that -- Kevin Jenkins is the real deal.

Kevin Jenkins - Step Inside

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