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After My Time

Noel Gourdin

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Album Review

Noel Gourdin's debut album has been several years in the making, at least if you track back to the Kay Gee-produced "Family Reunion," a song featured in the 2004 movie The Cookout. "The River," a gorgeous and spiritual '60s throwback, became his first official single in 2007 and found early support from Steve Harvey, who spun it on his Morning Show. Once After My Time was released in July of the following year, the song had been on the R&B/hip-hop chart for several months, never threatening to reach the top but holding steady for an apparent eternity, much like a couple Anthony Hamilton singles. That is likely a good indication of Gourdin's future status — not superstar-level, yet not without a set of enduring (if not blockbuster) hits and a very devoted fan base. While Gourdin's not quite as classicist as Hamilton — his voice is flexible enough to allow the possibility of making albums that fill any number of R&B pigeonholes — he can be roughly slotted into the John Legend/Chrisette Michele/Raheem DeVaughn camp, where modern sounds mix it up with classic inspirations. He's definitely tapping more directly into the 30-and-over crowd with "The River" and sincerely humbled ballads like "Sorry" (which slows and softens Ronnie Foster's "Mystic Brew," aka the backbone of A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation") and "Make the Most" (which owes most of its production to Michael Henderson and Jean Carn's "Valentine Love"). Even the productions that are synth-spiked or more hip-hop-oriented — "Open," "Better Man" — don't register as flagrant attempts to top the pop chart; yet, at the same time, they add a necessary dimension and another level of appeal to Gourdin's debut.

Biography

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s

Originally from the South — Mississippi, to be exact — soul and R&B singer Noel Gourdin honed his skills in Brockton, MA, and by the age of 24 scored a deal with Sony and had his first album in stores. His first exposure to the vocal arts came in church, and he was introduced to the larger canon of soul music by his father (who introduced him to the classics, such as Otis Redding) and his brother (who turned him on to the sounds of new jack swing). As a high-school student in the...
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After My Time, Noel Gourdin
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