Come On Through My Door
Ronee Martin has a rich, bluesy voice that is a throwback to the Motown sound. Perhaps not coincidentally she covers the Temptations’ “My Girl,” switching the gender to “My Guy” while her producer gives it a contemporary facelift. The modern fingerprints aren’t necessary, at least on an artistic level. Martin’s vocals are so timeless that a faithful or stripped-down approach would’ve made it a more effective remake. When you have a woman who can sing like Martin, the smartest thing to do is get out of her way.
Thankfully, while the slick beats of “Get Real” bury Martin’s raw power, the rest of the album wisely places the focus on her voice, which is as soulful as Anita Baker’s and as punchy as Aretha Franklin’s. Comparisons to Baker and Franklin will stick Martin with the retro tag, but that’s the fault of the music industry for being so obsessed with new sounds and tossing proven styles into the cut-out bins. A song like “Giving Up” is the kind of soothing R&B that Top-40 used to mix in during the ’70s. It is here that Martin’s vocals are freed from studio gloss, letting them command the words that she is singing. Even better is “Round and Round,” which sounds like a radio hit from 30 years ago.
The majority of what is labeled R&B or urban music these days has the depth of processed cheese; the same cannot be said of Martin. These are touching, emotional songs that draw from real-life experiences.
Ronee Martin: www.roneemartin.com