Will Downing | Silver

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Will Downing - Silver

Will Downing | Silver
(Liaison Records Dist.)
Penned by Brent Faulkner

Grammy-nominated vocalist Will Downing celebrates his silver anniversary
in the music industry fittingly with independently released 16th album,
Silver (February 12, 2013) via Liaison Records. Silver is neither a
‘best of’ nor completely new; it is distinguished by an 11-track
combination of new, borrowed, and classic songs. Downing collaborates
with songwriters and producers the likes of Chris “Big Dog” Davis
(reunion from 2010’s Lust, Love & Lies – An Audio Novel), Rex
Rideout (Roy Ayers, Angie Stone), and Gary Taylor (Anita Baker). Over
the course of 54 minutes, Downing proves why his recording tenure has
endured.

Four brand new selections grace Silver, all collaborative songwriting
efforts with Chris “Big Dog” Davis. “Stuff That I Like”, a promo single
and one of the strongest cuts, finds Downing retaining poise and
coolness atop a distinct adult R&B groove as he adulates his love
interest. The message is clear and simple – ‘my baby got the stuff that I
like’. On the pleasant tropical-influenced “What Would You Do”, the
theme is introspective, finding Downing asking the perennial question
“what would you do if today was your last day?” Vocal chemistry isn’t
contestable on the fiery, memorable duet with up-and-coming Avery
Sunshine on “You Were Meant For Me”. The cut is notable for both
retro-soul production cues and its theme of complicated love attraction.
“Never Find Another Love” is equally pleasant, if fourth-best of the
quartet of newest cuts.

Borrowed cuts from Silver reappear from three EP’s – Yesterday (November
2011), Today (February 2012), and Tomorrow (July 2012). Yesterday
reprises “Send For Me”, an exceptional cover of Atlantic Starr’s 1981
hit. The mid-tempo balladry of “One Step Closer” (from Today) compels,
accentuated by Downing’s silky smooth pipes and female backing vocals
cooing on lyrics “one step, two steps, three steps…” 2012 single “The
Blessing” (also from Today), Downing thanks God for finding his true
love, delivering the effort’s crowning chivalrous performance. “Only
One” (written by Downing, Rex Rideout, and Gary Taylor) gives Downing
another ode to his lady and a thoughtful highlight from EP Tomorrow. As
for the ‘classics’, it is a live rehearsal recorded medley that allures
in “I Go Crazy / Wishing / I Try”. Downing strong vocal punch cements
his place alongside refined adult-R&B male vocalists in the vein of
Luther Vandross and Freddie Jackson.

Silver, hence, is a mark of excellence from Downing; another notable
‘chapter’ of his illustrious career. He never delivers an objectionable
moment worthy of chastisement or scrutinization. Vocally, Downing’s
poised, silky tone allures the audience, making them hinge on his every
nuance and lyric. Thematically, Downing’s message is chivalrous, making
love feel innocent, natural and simple, even if and/or when it is
complicated. Silver isn’t a game changing three-pointer, but it
certainly is a ‘long two’. Kudos are owed to Downing for achieving his
silver anniversary as well as another great album in Silver.

Brent Faulkner
The Urban Music Scene

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