"..just something to do to keep my soul warm" - Michael Kiwanuka

It is a feat when a record is released that has such ubiquitous appeal that nearly everyone can enjoy it. It can cross genre-specific boundaries, be recommended to any type of music lover, or it can be both enjoyed as background music or listened to, attentively, while unquestionably staring at the record player.

When my sweetheart put Home Again on in our living room, he gave me little introduction other than that Kiwanuka was a North-London-raised studio musician who had just put his own record out. As the opening track, "Tell Me a Tale," poured out of our stereo, I envisioned this middle-aged soul-veteran who had been playing on other people's records for years, seen it all, and lived to write a record about it. I heard Sun Ra and the Arkestra, I heard Sam Cooke, I heard Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On," and I heard Van Morrison. Then I found out Kiwanuka wasn't even alive when most of those artists were actively recording.

The Motown Soul style and velvety sound is somehow contemporary and fresh while simultaneously nostalgic. And at an inspiring 24 years old, the patience and simple yet hit-the-nail-on-the-head precision that Kiwanuka displays promises nothing short of a dynamic future of writing solid, well-made tunes. He's most recently been touring opening for Adele, but prior to that, was simply playing on other people's records. “No one would give me a gig playing the kind of music I loved, so I had to write my own. It was more to keep my passion in music alive, just something to do to keep my soul warm, you know. It didn’t fit into what was in the at the time!”

Home Again, which was produced by Paul Butler of The Bees {A Band of Bees}, pairs straight-forward folk-style gems like "Home Again" and "I'm Getting Ready," which clearly demonstrate Kiwanuka's affinity for Bob Dylan and Laura Marling, with the Buffalo Springfield meets Ray Charles "Bones," and a little "Mother Nature's Son" on "I Won't Lie." He knows how to sequence a record, resulting in such an intentional arc as to end while we still want more.. the best kind of record: when it ends, you immediately want to start it all over again.

Kiwanuka is hitting the east coast later this week:

June 9th: Smith's Olde Bar Atlanta, GA
Jun 10th: 3rd & Lindsley Nashville, TN
June 13th: Highline Ballroom New York, NY
June 14th: Prospect Park Bandshell Brooklyn, NY
June 15th: World Cafe Live Philadelphia, PA
June 16th: Rock and Roll Hotel Washington, DC
June 18th: Brighton Music Hall Allston, MA {got our tickets already!}

This kid is blowing up, so I'd recommend seeing him now, before you can't see him in a smaller club.

For folks seeing him at the {sold-out!!} Highline {NY} or Brighton Music Hall {Boston}, Kiwanuka will be playing with Bahamas, another epic studio musician-cum-solo-act. Bahamas {Afie Jurvanen}, best known for his work with Feist and the Great Lake Swimmers, just released the stripped-down, beautifully articulate,  Barchords.

Download a free recording of Michael Kiwanuka's "I'm Getting Ready {live from Cherrytree House}" here.
And check out these videos below.. but really, just go buy his record. You'll love it, I promise.
Super8 music vid of album version "Tell Me a Tale"
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/22891637]
 and the black-cab session of the same song:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/23471155]
pictures & quote via michaelkiwanuka.com