Highlights: Earl St. Clair, ‘My Name Is Earl’


★★★★ 

Earl St. Clair, My Name Is Earl © Def JamFormer Hip-Hop Producer turned soul artist Earl St. Clair showcases incredible potential on his debut EP, ‘My Name Is Earl.’

According to his bio, Earl St. Clair wasn’t supposed to be a solo artist, but rather a hip-hop producer.  How plans change.  It turns out St. Clair has mad vocal chops and a knack for bring classic soul sensibilities to modern times.  On debut EP My Name Is Earl, he showcases mad potential and incredible musicianship. Throughout the course of the EP, Earl is deeply invested into the music. You can hear the spirit in his voice.

“Pain”

“Pain” initiates My Name Is Earl energetically, drenched in retro soul styling.  Clearly inspired by James Brown classic “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” St. Clair delivers a dramatic, gritty performance.  He wants the listener to feel the same pain he’s feeling.

“Three Story Home”

“Three Story Home” retains the dark, minor key scheme of the opener.  The production work is sensational, particularly the malicious brass.  Once more, St. Clair could care less if he sounds smooth – it’s all about hard-hitting, bluesy soul.  The theme of the song – loneliness – is a selling point.

“This house ain’t no home / Whenever she gone / These nights can get long / In my three-story home / I see I was wrong / I guess I’m not that strong / Now I’m all alone / In my three-story home.”

“Criminal”

The funky “Criminal” gives My Name Is Earl more tempo and groove. Parliament (George Clinton, etc.) fuels “Criminal.”  From the jump, St. Clair feels as if he’s in his zone, never conceding autopilot status.  He’s not playing around in the least. He wants it.

“Beautiful War”

“Beautiful War” concludes the EP in epic, savvy fashion.  All of the things that make the effort captivating – the gritty vocals, dramatic approach, and minor keys – make “Beautiful War” beautiful.

Final Thoughts

All in all, Earl St. Clair showcases great potential throughout the course of My Name Is Earl. No, this isn’t how R&B sounds in 2017, but perhaps that’s why this effort shines.  Nothing he tackles is brand new, but it doesn’t need to be.  St. Clair is fresh – in the most retro-soul way possible!

Gems: “Pain,” “Three Story Home,” “Criminal” & “Beautiful War”

 Earl St. Clair • My Name Is Earl • Def Jam • Release: 3.2.17
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