While some people claim that skill is overwhelmingly the result of practice, most of us believe that there are just certain individuals born with gifts. Many of us have known someone personally who seemed to have a natural ability and an unrelenting need for avenues to express it. The instrumentalists and vocalists who comprise Dallas’ RC and The Gritz all have that volume of talent, so much so that even their other job (performing the ethereal grooves that move Erykah Badu) doesn’t expend all their creative juices. And their hip-hop-infused jazz and R&B will give you all the feels you need today.
Smiling through the pain…
With this opening phrase from Dallas emcee Bobby Sessions, this latest Gritz album The Feel starts a firmly-grounded 49 minutes of vibes. The level of skill that bandmates RC Williams, Cleon Edwards, TaRon Lockett, Braylon Lacy, Claudia Melton, and Jah Born bring to this project makes each moment sound effortless. The album develops from the passionate title track, and moves upward to “Never Enough” (a light-hearted groove reminiscent of the Badu sounds that maestro Williams is internationally-loved for). But by tracks 3 and 4, the groove falls into deeper territory, with the contemplative “Good Day to You Sir” and “Anxiety.”
The album continues with a soothing plateau at “Lessons,” and then instrumentals “Feathers” and “Jelly Roll,” two tracks that showcase the fierce skill set of the Gritz instrumentalists, as well as the musicality and vision of Williams. And when the recurring melodic theme of the album gets flipped on the interlude at track 8, it makes this project’s overall depth clear. As Claudia Melton and other featured vocalists like rapper Topic work thru all the unearthed feels during the final chapters, The Feel reveals itself as a chance to spend time inside the mind of this collective of gifted musicians…a huge GIFT in and of itself.