Atlanta’s own Heston took the stage Sunday night at Sambuca Jazz Café’s “Jazzbeat Sundays” for two well attended shows. The indie soul singer who hails from Dominica has gained quite a following since the 2008 release of his debut album “Storyteller” and a subsequent Indie Artist Award from BET J.
The second show began with a tribute to the late Teddy Pendergrass as members of Heston’s stellar band performed “Love TKO.” Then, joined by Heston, the 8-piece crew launched into his first song of the evening “Greatest Lover.”
I kept thinking that his raspy soulful voice reminded me of someone. My table mate suggested Jaheim, but I was thinking of someone way more classic and legendary. And then it hit me.
“Who is the guy who sings, “Midnight Hour?” I asked.
“Wilson Pickett???” she said, after consulting the Blackberry.
“Yup, Wilson Pickett!”
She just looked at me skeptically.
Heston cites a variety of influences from Barbara Streisand to Marvin Gaye, but the Wicked Pickett is not among them. Still, I couldn’t shake the comparison, which I actually think is more encouraging than comparisons to the current mishmash of male R&B artists.
Of course, Heston’s sound is contemporary, particularly in the upbeat, “If” which had the crowd swaying. Here’s a clip of Heston performing “If” at Sugarhill last year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkEIWwi0ETc .The song was his first release and became the theme song for BET’s “Real Life Divas.”
Heston also performed the title track from his upcoming album, “Warm Human, Cold World” to be released in April, before wrapping it up with a send up to his West Indian roots in “Right Here,” and an anthem to his musical influences in “Song Birds.”
Overall, it was a good performance leaving us open to hearing what Heston has to offer in his sophomore release.
Any Heston fans out there?
How did you hear about his music and what is your favorite Heston tune?
(Photo credits: Michelle Shaw)