Fresh Blood is another magnificent studio effort that fosters Matthew E. White’s innovative genre: New Age Motown. As a follow up to White’s debut album Big Inner, these ten new tracks will transport listeners straight to the dance floor. Most of the tunes begin with calm, meditative introductions as White projects his baritone voice over a slow-paced piano or guitar progression. This relaxed channel of escape morphs into an energetic spiritual experience as the bass begins to bump, the guitars gravitate and the drums drive audiences to outer-body uncontrollable dance movements.
The record kicks off with a moderately paced night-time number, Take Care My Baby, where White shows his R&B style, crooning, “I’m talking all night long…through the midnight on.” Matching bass guitar grooves and passionate ‘mmm, mmm, mmms,’ open the door into White’s soul kingdom. His vocals carry a deep, airy tone reminiscent of a late seventies funk band if Jack Johnson was the front man.
On the next track, White picks up the tempo and presents the most intriguing song on the album. While the music is uplifting and driven by rocking percussion and jazzy piano, the lyrics of Rock & Roll Is Cold are the most revealing in its message. He sings, “you found the soul of rock and roll” but then confesses his opinion on the genre, claiming it “don’t have no soul and everyone knows that rock and roll is cold.” In the chorus, White may give away a certain sense of satire on his review of numerous music genres by claiming “everybody likes to talk shit” (after all, rock and roll takes an enormous amount of soul). The last verse of the song may prove to be the most stimulating as White sings, “you found the trick to gospel licks” but reassures that “gospel licks don’t have no tricks…everybody gets that gospel licks are gifts.” It’s evident that the soul singer is talking about his own gospel prowess that shapes his artistry. We recommend checking out the captivating music video for this tune.
Fruit Trees and Holy Moly continue the upbeat momentum, but the album’s energy and pace alternates from high to low, beginning with Circle ‘Round the Sun. Another highlight of Fresh Blood is the sixth track Feeling Good Is Good Enough, as the lyrics encapsulate the meaning of the music style that is powerfully delivered.
This white, bearded Virginian (who looks like he could easily be cast in The Lord Of The Rings) delivers a seamless new age gospel plus rhythm and blues vibe to his indie folk funk musicianship. Matthew E. White may just have the power to revive Marvin Gaye and other late soul legends, by transfusing his fresh Motown blood into the veins of new fans.
Scott J. Herman