You may remember Stan as the lead singer/songwriter/producer of the Cleveland based R & B group Katzz who had a local hit record with My Everything. If you haven't heard his impressive voice yet, then it's time to do it now with the release of Stan's Velvet Soul album on the independent label NuSoul Music.
Despite the label's name Velvet Soul is more a classic soul/R&B (in the classic Rhythm & Blues meaning) album than just another nusoul release.
And it's so good to hear an album of great songs with a voice that just oozes soul. And citing Stevie Wonder, Al Green and the late Donny Hathaway as his influences doesn't do Stan's music any harm. Quite the reverse, I really like the memories of Al Green he evokes singing Whole World 'Round Your Heart. There's even a good cover version of Donny Hathaway's I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know.
There are two other cover versions (the Isley Brother's Sensuality, which shows Stan's vocal ability once more and is just a beautiful ballad, and The O'Jays Help (Somebody Please)) while the rest of the album are all original compostitons written by Stan himself. But Stan doesn't stop there, he even plays drums, guitar, bass and keyboards.
My Everything, for example, is a slow, soulful ballad done in the same vein like Sensuality.
The title track, Velvet Soul, is a great midtempo song that has all the right ingredients to become a future soul classic.
Evolution is another brilliant song, introducing Brothers And Sisters With Absolute
Back 2 My Roots is a sweet, mainly instrumental soul-jazz groove while My Town is an ode to Stan's place of living (Cleveland/Ohio) in the shape of a modern soul groove.
There are two songs (Woman and Did You Know?) that feature guest rappers Ras T. Dub Flex and Cool TLC, since I'm never really fond of including a rapper on a song to spice things up, I'll leave it to others to judge these two songs.
All in all Velvet Soul is a real good album any soul music fan should have and it's certainly time to add Stan to the list of great singers/groups that Cleveland/Ohio has already given us like Gerald Levert, The O'Jays or the Dazz Band.
(for more information and sound snippets visit nusoul-music.com or cdbaby.com)