Dave Keller: Soul Changes Review

Soul Changes marks the first record on the Red River label for veteran New England blues veteran Dave Keller. Soul Changes channels some of the Stax magic, featuring a powerful horn section, swirling B3, and, of course, strong vocals and soulful guitar.

The challenge for anyone making a record in this idiom is to make a recording that can stand alongside legendary records, while still adding something new to the genre. Keller meets this challenge with a strong recording of six originals and five covers. The gem of the album is “17 Years,” a song detailing Keller’s recently ended seventeen-year marriage. It is a minor tune, the appropriate choice for a song of such emotional depth. Additionally, the tune features probably the best horn arrangement on the record, as well as powerful B3.

The biggest concern with the record is that Keller uses two different bands. Both bands are solid, but they are quite different. The originals were recorded in Memphis at Willie Mitchell’s legendary recording studio, while the covers were performed by the Brooklyn-based The Revelations. As one would probably expect, the six originals, recorded by the Stax Aces, are more on the traditional soul side, while the last five have a slightly more modern, edgier rock ‘n’ roll sound. Both are strong, but the difference is very noticeable, and seems a bit like two separate records.

Keller is a talented songwriter, and a very strong vocalist. The performances are solid, and the songs are well-written. There is certainly nothing objectionable about the album, but it also fails to cover much new ground. Nonetheless, this is a solid and promising release by Dave Keller.

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– 17 Years
– One More Time
– It’s Too Strong
– Heart on a String

The Big Hit

– 17 Years

Review by Nik Rodewald

Buy the album: Amazon | iTunes

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