The Black Book (Universal)
One would be hard pressed to find a musician in Canada with more heart that Jully Black. The Toronto R&B singer has a generous spirit—a willingness to be real, to give of herself completely—that infuses each and every song that she sings with gravitas.
Black, it must be pointed out, has had her fair share of tribulations in life, growing up in one of the country’s most impoverished neighbourhoods with a mom that laboured at a factory job to support nine kids. She had a dad that wasn’t around, lost a twin brother at birth, and an older sister later on. Despite that level of pain—and the ability to be honest about it, as anyone who has seen her interviewed can attest—Black also possesses an enormous capacity for joy. Her rich, moody voice embraces the highs and lows of life, at once sounding strong and vulnerable, uplifting and heartbreaking.
JB’s Juno-winning sophomore release Revival drew heavily on autobiographical material, but with her third outing, The Black Book, she digs even deeper, moving beyond experience to pure emotion, and pulling up a completely new aspect of her voice: fierceness. Stretched by her willingness to explore new genres—check out the guitar-heavy soundscapes of “I’ll Rock It” and “Recalculate,” the pop-dance beats of “What Is This”, the melancholy acoustic jam “Time Of Your Life”, and the gentle piano of “The Plan”—Black’s vocals come up fresh, fearless and, at times, even ferocious.
The singer has said on her Web site that her motto for the project was “if it doesn’t give you chills, it’s not in the will,” and it was not for naught—her voice produces goose bumps from start to finish.
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