Album: Joss Stone, LP1 (Stone'd/Surfdog)

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The Independent Culture

Recorded over six days in Nashville with Dave Stewart, the debut release on Joss Stone's own label is, she claims, the first on which she has exerted total creative freedom.

And certainly, it's less hostage to a single specific style than any of her previous work, ranging from the loping funk swagger of "Don't Start Lying to Me Now" and burbling clavinet soul of "Karma" to the bluesy ruminations of "Landlord" and "Take Good Care", where her voice is at its earthiest accompanied by little more than Stewart's acoustic guitar. It's not all successful – the unfocused "Last One to Know" and "Boat Yard" could have done with a bit more work to tighten them up – but the diversity emphasises her shared heritage with Janis Joplin, while retaining her core deep-soul strength on tracks such as "Cry Myself to Sleep" and "Newborn".

DOWNLOAD THIS: Newborn; Karma; Don't Start Lying to Me Now; Take Good Care