2018 Blues Music Award winners for Best Emerging Artist, Southern Avenue, show us they have no plan on stopping with their second album to hit our stereos: Keep On. Southern Avenue shows its versatility before they even begin playing a beat; Ori Naftaly followed his call to music from Israel to America, expanding his creative ideas when meeting up with singer Tierinii Jackson and her sister, Tikyra Jackson, backing them on drums. Jeremy Powell softens it up with piano, reminding you that Southern Avenue is not your every day modern band. Keep On will have you wanting to breakout your bellbottoms and groove along with your air guitar while Naftaly gets down on the guitar.
Keep On starts out with Southern Avenue’s saxy song “Keep On” that titles the album, Tierinii showing her range from gospel esque soulful singing that escalates to a Mariah Carey belting vibe by the end of the song. Naftaly leads us into the second song of the album with a real low down groovy tune in “Whiskey Love.” Tierinii shows us the more gritty side of her voice as if her broken-hearted anger was rising up out of her and into this song. “Whiskey Love” is a break up anthem that we can all get behind with lyrics like “That whiskey love, I hate you so much. Oh, whiskey love, I can’t get enough. Show no remorse, ain’t got shit to lose, just young and dumb, in love I had no clue. Love of my life, he killed my spirit. A shot of brown for a broken heart to heal it.” “Whiskey Love” is a relatable hit that brings memories of us pouring a drink to forget the love we’ve lost.
Keeping the groove going, “Switch Up” starts with a radical sounding guitar vs. vocal rift. It’s hard not to dance and get your stank-face on when “Switch Up” plays, a song that just oozes a ‘too cool for you’ vibe. “The Tea I sip” is a good song to follow “Switch Up”, a self love jam for throwing your middle finger up to the world and saying “I could care less what you think of me”! Tierinii continues show us that her vocals are smooth yet full of emotion with “The Tea I Sip”.
Southern Avenue slows it down a little bit and brings the album back to the sweet soulful sound with its song “Lucky”, a hard turn from the broken hearted tunes preceding it. “Lucky” has a killer guitar riff, soft melodies and beats humming from the Jackson sisters, and sugar coated lyrics to gently sway to. Southern Avenue brings some more self love into the album with “Too Good For You”, a song we all need in our lives in 2019. “Too Good For You” is a beautifully written song to remind you of your self worth, to remember what you deserve in and out of a relationship; a whisper in the ear that it’s okay to be less than perfect as long as you are doing your best. Finishing up the album, “We’re Gonna’ Make It” is a slow and soulful song to help you push through the ups and downs in life, a beautiful ending to an all around groovy album.
Southern Avenue brings you back to the ’70s with all the groovy hits on their album Keep On, an album chalked full of songs that keep you dancing and sometimes even stopping mid dance to listen to the lyrics more deeply. Southern Avenue has created an emotional and beautiful lyrically made album, while keeping its songs upbeat and fun on the surface. Keep On has definitely earned a spot on my playlist and will be hitting yours soon without a doubt.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Keep On
– Whiskey Love
– Switch Up
– Too Good For You
The Big Hit
– Whiskey Love
Review by Kailee Mills