- The songs were written by David Clayton-Thomas in collaboration with four musicians:
- George Koller – Bassist & co-producer; multiple national jazz award winner. George’s inventive bass playing is the bedrock of the album.
- Eric St-Laurent – Explosive Montreal Guitarist; his playing has the dexterity of Di Meola and the raw power of Hendrix.
- Larnell Lewis – Grammy Award Winning Drummer; funky, original, a powerful musical presence.
- Lou Pomanti – Superb Keyboard Player and Arranger; Lou toured the world with BS&T in the ’80’s. He is uniquely tuned into David’s musical style.
- It is an innovative recording, pushing the boundaries of convention. Edgy and progressive but still earthy with deep jazz roots. This album is full of surprises and songs that will stick in your head forever.
- MOBIUS is a daring musical statement – beautifully produced and skillfully performed by a team of fiercely creative musicians. It raises the bar on contemporary music.
In this fresh collection of interpretations, David’s grasp of pop, jazz, and blues is second to none, with sparkling interpretations of songs Rush, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and more.Read More
Working again with producer George Koller, David sings some of Canada’s best-loved songs, carving out the melodies and the memories of the decades, with his soulful voice at the helm. “George’s musicality and his gentle leadership, his organizational skills and his incredible bass playing were essential to the success of this very complex project,” David says.
“To pay tribute to the songs of Canada’s most well-loved songwriters was a task I did not take lightly. To give each song its own identity while honouring the intent of the writer would be challenging. The contributions of Canadian writers to popular music is enormous. We began with a list of over 100 songs. Our hardest job was determining which of the great songs on this long list NOT to record.”
The star-studded guests on ‘Canadiana’ include Grammy Award winning drummer Larnell Lewis of Snarky Puppy, and includes duets with Laila Biali and Genevieve Marentette, alongside the brilliant jazz playing by Guido Basso and Russ Little. One highlight of many are the cutting edge string arrangements by Aaron Davis framing Shauna Rolston’s moving cello obligato on Sarah McLaughlin’s ‘Angel’ and Laila’s pure angelic voice on Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now.’
David is perhaps one of the best-suited singers to record “Ophelia” by The Band as he considers the group one of his contemporaries. David states, “I’ve known The Band since we played the same bars when they were The Hawks. I consider them to be the greatest rock and roll band ever. I wanted to pay tribute to my old friend, Levon Helm. I knew him well and he was a helluva nice guy.”
David didn’t want to simply cover these tunes. He took daring and satisfying liberties when it served the song, giving it a fresh new sound, and was thrilled with the in-the-moment contemporary takes in the studio. “Who knew how a Neil Young song would sound as a reggae? A Lightfoot song with a funky Memphis groove or a Rush anthem played Afro-Cuban? We had a ball recording this album and I hope that comes through in the music. I hope it brings a smile to the faces of all the songwriters represented here.”
David continues, “The songwriters are what this album is all about. Canada has produced some of the most prolific and influential songwriters in the world. The true poet laureates of Canadian culture. From the stark imagery of a Leonard Cohen lyric to the simple Newfoundland honesty of a Ron Hynes tune, our songwriters in so many ways define our identity as a nation. As we approach our county’s 150th birthday I hope this album brings a glow of pride to every Canadian. Our country has contributed mightily to the arts and particularly to the art of songwriting.
Former BS&T warbler reconnects with his roots to bring righteous roughness to spiritual perennials.
In our days of shallow R&B, it takes an old-school rhythm-and-blues belter to fathom the depths of a silky melody with a vigorous message, and David Clayton-Thomas with his Jericho pipes is a perfect man to dig in and deliver. Arranged and produced by another ex-BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS alumnus, keyboardist Lou Pomanti, who also plays here, these are the songs that the singer performed back in the day and that made David the artist he is, and now Clayton-Thomas’ personality shines through the classics.
Mellifluous and imposing on “When A Man Loves A Woman” yet not lachrymose, the veteran finds a fresh layer of sensuality in “I’ve Been Lovin’ You Too Long” and, with an audible smile, inhabits the countrified “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” his respect to the originals never getting in the way of a genuine feeling. David might be prone to a croon on the strings-drenched “Ruby” or “Midnight Train To Georgia,” but his graceful almost-roar gives an edge to romantic pieces such as the jazzed-up “Sunny” and those infused with social awareness, like “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Bringing the weight of age and experience to these hopeful pleas and filling “People Get Ready” with a rare sincerity, the singer, elevated by a gospel choir, taps into timelessness, while embracing the intimacy and emotional uplift of “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby” and turning “You Really Got A Hold On Me” into glorious blues.
So yes, the album’s title seems generic until a realization comes that the singer returned the real meaning of “soul” to it. Which is a great achievement.Read More
David’s 2010 collaboration with Producer Lou Pomanti, “Soul Ballads” has been released in the US on Airline Records. A heartfelt tribute to the iconic artists that shaped the Clayton-Thomas sound. This powerful and moving production has Pomanti also serving as arranger. Scoring big bold orchestrations for a 35 piece orchestra, he provides a lush musical landscape for that unmistakeable voice. The record is finally getting the recognition it deserves. It is a courageous album. Clayton-Thomas walks a delicate line between honouring the original recordings and singing the song in his own voice.
Early reviews confirm that he has succeeded… “If you enjoy classic soul, I confidently recommend this recording as a great way to get all these classics in one place”. “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “I’ve Been Lovin’ You Too Long,” “People Get Ready,” “When Something is Wrong With My Baby” and eight others are performed on this lavish collection”.
– The Sun Herald, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Soul Ballads is available on iTunes and Amazon.comRead More
“Clayton-Thomas is a legendary blues/r&b performer in his own right yet stripping away the big brass BS&T sound for a rudimentary jazz combo only serves to enhance his vocal talents. To hear him tackle nuggets such as “As Time Goes By”, “Smile”, “When I Fall in Love”, Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child” and “Summertime” is to tune into a class artist giving his own distinctive vocal talents to a set list of memorable songs.” –Keith Sharp, Music Express
“David finds the perfect forum~in which to revisit the classic jazz standards that inhabited his soul long before becoming a iconic figure in contemporary jazz/rock. The pace is easy going and delivery – well, it’s David Clayton -Thomas like you’ve never heard him. It’s a soft and gentle reading of the lyrics, much like Sinatra, Bennett or Elling might have given.” Bill King, Cashbox Canada/FYIMUSICNEWS.CA
“Although this album takes him back to his roots, “Combo” is exactly the right album for David Clayton-Thomas to make at this point in his career. The veteran singer doesn’t need to prove himself with new hits. Instead, he puts his own spin on time honoured tunes like “The Glory of Love”, “Smile”, and “As Time Goes By”. And did I mention: his voice hasn’t lost any of its quality. All these years later, he sounds as great as ever!” – Mark Rheaume, CBC RadioRead More