TO QUOTE THE late, great Doug Sahm, "You just can't live in Texas / If you don't have lot of soul." Like Sahm in his heyday, Houston-based singer-songwriter Micah Edwards, whose new single and video just dropped, freely embraces and blends Texas musical styles.
Edwards has developed his own genre, which he describes as "retro soul embellished with true country tones." He's referring to the classic country your grandparents listened to on AM radio back in the day; George Strait, Marty Robbins, and Loretta Lynn are a few artists Edwards has namechecked in interviews, along with Curtis Mayfield and Leon Bridges.
Edwards' sound is less psychedelic than Sahm and his Antonio-based Sir Douglas Quintet, but it's definitely got soul. Having now released several successful, heavily streamed singles, what continues to distinguish Edwards' brand of "Texas Soul" is his strong, tenor voice, like the voice you need to hear from a friend or loved one when your heart is broken and are in deep need of some spiritual uplift.
Edwards' new song, "Girl from the Valley," is a gentle, groovy paean to his wife Chelsea, with a jazzy flute hook, muted horns, and just a bit of female background vocals toward the end. There's a vintage Van Morrison vibe in the production, with brown eyes, the Rio Grande and eternity all mentioned in the lyrics.
Like Edwards' previous singles, "Girl from the Valley" is getting streamed like crazy on Spotify, and those numbers will no doubt skyrocket when his first full-length album Jean Leon is released in Spring 2022. Inspired in part by growing up as the oldest among five siblings in a mixed-race family (Edwards' sister Madeline is also talented musician), Jean Leon is described on his website as "a healing, soulful exploration of faith."
A full-length concept album about family and faith? Sounds like food for the soul from a Texas artist whose star continues to rise.
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