Kindred the Family Soul | Love Has No Recession

Album Review: Kindred the Family Soul | Love Has No Recession

By Peggy Oliver

(Advance Review: CD To Be Released on July 26th, 2011)

It seems the artistry of the urban music duo in this decade is almost biting the dust. The passionate chemistry from Martin & Tami, Ashford & Simpson and others from decades gone by kept our ears riveted and our emotions hanging on every note they conveyed. But those who really treasure what the meat of soul is all about is probably familiar with Kindred the Family Soul, the married duo of Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon whom was first introduced to the public via Jill Scott’s Hidden Beach imprint in 2003. Their shear balance of that sophisticated Philly sound, positive hip-hop, spoken word and R&B are rare gems that hold up the name of love as sacred in a world where most of today’s musical perspective of love is demeaned and artificial. Though KTFS were active in the industry before joining forces - Dantzler as a songwriter for Bell, Biv DeVoe and Graydon with a record deal at age fifteen - they supplemented their income with day jobs to support their growing family while climbing the industry ladder.

The battles were brutal to get even noticed because of their intentions of maintaining a family friendly image in their music. KTFS was a part of the underground Philly neo-soul scene that included Scott, The Roots and Bilal. One of their regular showcases was a Women in Music series entitled The Black Lily, but they hustled to find other gigs whenever possible between the day jobs while trying to establish a regular backing band.   But it was a life-changing meeting with Scott who referred them to a thoroughly impressed executive at Hidden Beach Recordings. After signing their first major deal, it took a while for KTFS to transition personally and professionally; from losing and gaining new band members to adjusting their marriage relationship and raising a family – which now includes six children.
KTFS truly channels their experiences through their music while always finding a way to challenge and encourage those in love that strong values and hard work can strengthen family bonds. Though love is certainly celebrated throughout their music, there are times when the duo expresses their concerns about everyday life, social-political matters and the music industry. Those themes are evident through their Hidden Beach catalog: Surrender to Love, In This Life Together and The Arrival. Though their record label has changed, KTFS remains true to their highly integral spirit with Love Has No Recession, where the duo spins their positive but sincere outlook on love and hope despite a currently unstable economic climate. The instrumental cut, “The Sheddington,” ushers in this Shenachie Entertainment release in classy funk style that sports rock guitar punches and spacey synthesizers. The three spoken word vignettes entitled “Above Water” delve into how solid, sincere love must overrule the obstacles of mounting bills and the stock market. Backed by KTFS’ gospel undertones’, Philly underground artist Ursula Rucker and CoCo Brown lend their various perspectives with a calm yet firm demeanor: “Wall Street don’t mean nothing if we can’t pay attention to what’s relevant…us.” “Feast or famine that’s the artist life, the balancing act is to stay unwavering and committed.” Philly soul never sounded as fresh as “We All Will Know” and “Take a Look Around” provides slamming rhythm tracks, melting strings and smooth guitar strokes. On the aforementioned, Fatin’s muscular tenor and Aja’s powerful soprano are joined by Raheem DeVaughn, Bilal and aggressive scratches by BJ the Chicago Kid cover social commentary from the economy to guns and war. “You Got Love” is a simple party jam to break the ice for a few moments with Snoop Dogg rapping in his usual laid-back swagger. The title track on Love Has No Recession is highlighted by a soulfully gleeful solo by French-born jazz harmonica sensation Frederic Yonnet Yollet (credited as Fred Yollet Yonnet in the liner notes). “Authentically You” raises the bar for Motown inspired material on this infectious boogie-woogie jam accented by super-charged vocal performances.  Continuing on the up-tempo side, “Going To A Go-Go” recalls the go-go movement made popular by Chuck Brown (who handles the vocals and guitar solo) & The Soul Searchers and others from the Washington DC region and whose beats have been sampled in the past by Heavy D & The Boyz and The Roots.  Last but far from least, the current single, “Magic Happen,” leans more towards the KTFS neo-soul trademark sound.
In summing up all of Love Has No Recession, KTFS continues to remind the listener that the power of duos is still alive and well. And it is encouraging to note that Fatin & Aja are willing to fore-go compromising whatever current trends are brewing to preach and practice this wonderful thing called love.
Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene   


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  • 8/29/2011 5:33 PM Marc wrote:
    Love the album all together! Note however that it is Frederic YONNET who plays the harmonica on the album. It was misspelled YOLLET in the review.
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