Christmas came early this past year for fans of blue-eyed soul. Just one month ago, Bryan Duncan released a new solo album, Conversations.
He’s never sounded better.
From start to finish, Duncan’s signature sound is front and center. His remarkable voice is instantly recognizable, and his triple-threat gifts are on full display—he’s a superb keyboardist and lyricist into the bargain. As for stylings, there’s a lot on the table. Jazz, blues, R&B, two Christmas songs as well, it’s all there on Conversations. Take the album as a whole, and comparisons to Duncan’s peer, Al Jarreau, readily come to mind. Artistry all the way.
Since the early 1980s, I’ve known and had a deep appreciation for Duncan’s gifts. From his years with the Sweet Comfort Band, to his storied solo career, few can turn a better, more moving lyric, or sing a phrase with more conviction.
Writing this review offers a chance to say thank you for so many years of fine performances, and welcome the new music we’ve been given. It’s hard to choose from the standout tracks on Conversations, but three favorites include “Sweet Friend of Mine,” “Nothing to Prove,” and the bluesy “Little Bit At A Time,” co-written with Phil Keaggy. Add a fourth in “I Can’t Imagine,” a burnished pop gem as welcome and winsome as summer. Faith shimmers here, like the colors of an evening sky.
Nor is this fine album the only cause célèbre. It’s fantastic news to note that in February, after a long hiatus, Sweet Comfort Band will be releasing a fantastic new album, The Waiting Is Over.
Stay tuned, it looks like Mr. Duncan is just getting started. 2013 promises to be a banner year.
The album is available on iTunes here.