The title of the second album from Andria Simone says it all: Evolve (Evolution Through Vibration). This totally compelling and accomplished record maps the musical and personal evolution of Simone, a young singer, songwriter and bandleader of truly breathtaking talent and charisma.
Released on GKM in March 2015, it comes less than 18 months after the release of Andria’s debut full-length album, Nothing Comes Easy. That record turned heads and ears, scoring impressive airplay on CBC radio, JAZZFM, Proud FM, college radio, and blues programs across the country. Above all else, it alerted the Canadian music industry to the presence of a new artist with unbridled potential. That promise is now fully realized on Evolve (Evolution Through Vibration), a work that showcases Simone at the very top of her game.
Evolve is much more of a band record than Nothing Comes Easy. Since that album’s release, Simone has performed extensively with her ace young group, one she affectionately dubs Those Guys. They comprise bassist Mark Wilson, guitarist Dave Kirby, saxophonist Brian Dhari, and drummer George Nikolov (former member Anthony Brancati plays keyboards on Evolve). “Having a band involved now has completely changed the whole dynamic of what I do, and they’re all over the new record,” Andria says. “I believe that gives this album much more character.”
With the exception of an adventurous and sizzling re-make of Cream classic “Sunshine Of Your Love” and “Nothing Comes Easy” (co-written by Simone, Kavanagh and Gountounas), all of the songs on Evolve are co-writes by Simone and Kavanagh. The material defies pigeonholing, moving seamlessly through soul, rock, r ‘n b, funk, blues, jazz and even a touch of reggae. If pressed for a definition, Andria calls it “a funkadelic blues jazz fusion.”
Simone’s commitment to her music is total. “I didn’t know what to expect when I got into this. I just love music, and thank god I’ve been trusting my instincts because I’m on the right track now. I’m not going to be chasing trends or jumping on a bandwagon. I want to drive the bus, not chase it!”
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