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The Soul Motivators

The Soul Motivators - Free to Believe

Free to Believe
Do Right! - 2015

Michael Panontin
If on first listen you pegged the Soul Motivators as a collection of vinyl purists obsessing over vintage deep-soul singles and modern day Daptone offerings, you probably wouldn't be too far off the mark. The Toronto-based nonet "came together out of a mutual love for funk, the whole funk and nothin' but the funk...in all its beautiful forms," keyboardist James Robinson explained to CM in a recent e-mail. "That would include things like a killer rhythm section with chicken scratch guitars, Rhodes and screaming B3s, raw vocals, percussion and the holy, horny trinity - sax, trumpet and trombone."

The band uploaded the fabulously gritty Dirt on the Floor EP in March as a name-your-price teaser and has really never looked back, issuing the full-length Free to Believe a mere two months later. Next to its rougher-hewn sibling, the album tosses a bit of spit and polish into the mix with a fuller production, more mature songwriting and of course the added heft of Lydia Persaud's powerful pipes. "The writing, rehearsing and recording came together quickly with an emphasis on what feels good," Robinson added. "The grit and the rawness was achieved through live-off-the-floor takes with minimal overdubs."

Without a doubt, songs like the title track and its early-seventies free-your-mind didactics or the frantic 'Dr. Know It All', with its James Brown riffs and Persaud's sassy Lyn Collins treatment, will be spinning in hip clubs all summer long. But for those willing to dig a little deeper, there's plenty more gold in them there grooves, especially those that showcase the Motivators' tight-ass triumvirate of trombonist Nathan Dell-Vandenberg, trumpeter Tom Moffett and tenor saxophonist Dominique Morier.

Free to Believe is going to be on many best-of lists this December, mark my words.


     The Soul Motivators
     Do Right!

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