Jully Black Revival

Jully Black Revival
Given the decidedly vanilla Canadian music landscape, one wouldn’t fault Toronto’s Jully Black for packing her sassy self to the States for greener pastures. But the Toronto-based singer-songwriter has made a go of it in the Great White North, and with flourishing results. Through various high profile media gigs and appearances, she’s become a brand unto herself, instantly recognisable in Regina, hailed in Halifax and touted in Toronto. Indeed, Black has been extremely savvy when it comes to forging a music identity and defining the possibilities of being a successful Canadian R&B singer. Just peep the lyrics in the reggae-tinged manifesto "Queen” ("I’m a girl, I’m a lady, I’m a woman, I’m a queen, I’m everything I can be”). With that in mind, Revival is a careful, calculated project, one that manages to stay street sassy while staying upliftingly family-friendly. There’s a slight trade-off however: between the glossy mass appeal production of songs such as the pop-flavoured soul of "Just a Moment,” "Catch Me When I Fall” and the Etta James (à la Amy Winehouse) reworking of "Seven Day Fool,” one could argue that Revival plays it a tad too safe. There’s still her trademark mix of R&B, soul and reggae but long-time fans might miss a more "urban”-sounding Black, as heard on tracks like "My Baby.” In the grand scheme of things however, it’s remarkable that a Canadian R&B artist even gets to record a sophomore disc, much less one as ambitious as this. Revival rocks rightly, plays it safe and essentially ensures Black a lengthy and award-winning Canadian career. (Universal)