An exciting moment happened last week here at TFSR: we had our first musical submission for us to review! We received an email from Thomas Motter, a musician, songwriter and producer based in Heidelberg Germany who wanted to know where he could send his album Lost & Loved to; happily, we gave our address, and this weekend it arrived.
Admittedly, I was a bit sceptical as I played the first track – being the ‘Head of Music’ for a student radio means you get sent loads and loads of awful music –but after hearing the first song, I feel I owe Thomas an apology! The album’s opener ‘Star’ is a delight; it’s a great piece of neo-soul, clearly drawing on Motter’s musical influences of George Duke and Earth, Wind & Fire. The vocalist on song, LeNora Jaye, not only delivers a fine vocal performance, but she also contributes to the lyrics. Guitarist Glen Turner is also impressive on this song, soloing throughout, working in and around Jaye’s vocals nicely. More impressively, is the song’s bassist Nathan East: could this be the same legendary session bassist who has worked with people like Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau and MJ? It surely could!
On ‘High Times’, Motter’s jazziness comes out; the song has a strong smooth-jazz feel to it, with a George Benson/Tim Bowman-esque guitar solo playing throughout. Motter co-writes here with the song’s guitarist Martin Frick; the two have come up with a nice, relaxing smooth jazz tune perfect to relax too.
The chilled out vibes continue on the album’s title song, with the lead vocals handled on this occasion by Melissa Bell, who also provides the lyrics. Bell’s vocals in fact make the song; she possesses a fabulously soulful voice. It’s another good song from Motter, again with some nice guitar work, this time from Billy Allen. Meanwhile, ‘Come Into My World’ sees Motter and his collaborators ride a smooth jazz groove, this time featuring another female vocalist by the name of Michelle Bradshaw, who delivers a great vocal with her unique vocal style and phrasing.
‘Love Meditation’ introduces a male vocal to the album; Karl Frierson, who also provides lyrics to the song, is another great talent that Motter has brought to this album. The song is laid back soulful goodness with a catchy lyric.
Perhaps the highlight of the album is the duet between Helen Taylor, and the wonderfully deep-voiced Eric Conley. The song features the two singing and talking to each other on another great track from Motter; Taylor’s vocals compliment Conley’s seductive, Barry White-esque style, and his spoken lyrics are unusual but somehow, it works.
Overall, Thomas Motter has delivered a fine soul-jazz album. Somehow he has managed to assemble a great range of musicians and vocalists, who have combined together to create a great album. The UK soul scene has already jumped on this album, pushing it to #3 on the UK Soul Chart back in June last year. And, from our perspective, rightly so!
We’d like to thank Thomas for sending his album to us here at TFSR, if you would like to make a submission drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!