People Gonna Talk

A bit of a soul/R&B phenom in England, this young Brit inspires comparisons to Van Morrison one minute and Charlie Rich or Sam Cooke the next. This collection of 14 original songs is both reminiscent of classic ’50s soul rock, yet totally modern. The five-piece band—led by two saxophones in horn-driven arrangements—behind his vocals is about as sweet as it can get. Every time you put this CD on, someone is guaranteed to ask, “Who the hell is that?” His staccato-plucked guitar and the sincerity of his vocals are exactly on the mark. This isn’t one of those “retro” attempts or throwbacks; it’s the real deal. Almost every track could stand alone as a hum-along, finger-popping jazz or ska-inflected single. These guys absolutely love what they’re doing.