Published Jan 14, 2014The revival of interest in classic R&B augurs well for Annika Chambers. The Houston native can match Sharon Jones' earlier career (prison guard) with her own (eight years in the army including an Iraq stint), and this strong debut album marks her as a soul contender. She easily incorporates R&B, soul and blues elements, as shown on her choices of covers (tunes by B.B. King, Bobby Charles, Average White Band, Steve Cropper and Eddie Floyd).
Chambers contributes three originals, while album co-producer/bassist Larry Fulcher (Taj Mahal) and daughter Dominique chime in with new material. A full-blooded horn section and backing vocalists add muscle to the sound, while Chambers' voice is powerful enough to remain centre stage. Her players are genuine local all-stars, with a few Grammy nominees and winners in there. She stretches vocally on the epic Charles ballad "Jealous Kind" and "That Feel Good," a cut featuring a rap vocal accompaniment from Dominique Fulcher, the most unorthodox musical touch here, making both highlights. Chambers deserves to make a mark with this promising beginning. (Montrose Records)