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Labor & Spirits

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Album Review

Backed by an unusually distinguished bunch of musicians for a debut effort, Emory Joseph delivers a set of refreshing original songs, with clever lyrics, shuffling, low-tech grooves, and a style of singing that ranges from goofball to almost sentimental. Clearly the Band has left its mark; the horn section on "Carolina Princess" could have been lifted right out of "Life Is a Carnival." But Joseph's lyrics betray a lighter, though still rustic, touch; striving for nothing more than comic dexterity, "Rhum and Coffee" turns a simple list of drinks into a hilarious paean to getting blasted. ("I ain't tried no absinthe 'cause it'd likely kill my ass," he confides over a bouncy, barroom beat.) A picture eventually emerges of Joseph as a promising and endearing talent: "Some things will always stay the same," a truism if there ever was one in pop music, becomes the listener's path into the poetic, introspective narrative that unfolds as "The Same." ~ Robert L. Doerschuk, Rovi


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Singer-songwriter Emory Joseph debuted with the album Labor & Spirits in 2003. The effort clearly marked him as a soulful, American-music cross-pollinator in the tradition of such predecessors as Lowell George, Ry Cooder, Delbert McClinton and Dr. John. The album was also notable for the wealth of talent brought into the studio, including Levon Helm (The Band), Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp), Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention) and T-Bone Wolk (Elvis Costello, Hall & Oates). The Northern California...
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Labor & Spirits, Emory Joseph
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