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Once More, With Soul: Soulive Marks Stax Milestone

Soulive, which mixes soul, funk and jazz, was recently signed to the relaunched Stax Records.
Soulive, which mixes soul, funk and jazz, was recently signed to the relaunched Stax Records.

For the soul/funk group Soulive, making a sixth album meant some career firsts.

It's the first album Soulive has done with a singer. No Place Like Soul introduces vocalist Toussaint who joins Soulive from his reggae group, The China Band. The album departs from its jazz-oriented jams of the past, putting its focus squarely on songs.

It's also a first for the Memphis soul label, Stax Records. Soulive is the first newly signed artist to release an album on the famed label, which is being relaunched this year in honor of its 50th anniversary. In its heyday, Stax released hits from legends like Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs and Isaac Hayes, among others. Hayes will release a new album with Stax in 2008.

Soulive's Toussaint joins brothers Alan and Neal Evans on drums and organ, respectively, as well as Eric Krasno on guitar. The quartet spent the latter half of 2006 recording No Place Like Soul with producer Stewart Lerman, who has also worked with such disparate talents as Loudon Wainwright III, Dar Williams and Vinicius Cantuaria.

In Lerman's Greenwich Village studio, The Shinebox, the group produced a spontaneous album with nods to funk, soul, rock, hip hop, reggae and old-school R&B. With soulful songs like "Waterfall" and grittier instrumentals like "Outrage," the group says they hope they've captured some of the individuality on their 13-track disc that Stax's legends captured in their heyday.

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