Abby Dobson, Sleeping Beauty – You Are What You Have Been Waiting For: Volumood 1
New York City’s IT soul-singer Abby Dobson has been keeping industry suits on the edge of their seats for sometime. While gracing the stages of S.O.B’s, The Knitting Factory and the Blue Note with rave reviews she was also a finalist in the John Lennon Song Writing Competition (R&B category) and as worked as a backup singer with mainstay artists John Legend and Talib Kweli. All the while, Dobson has been meticulously crafting her debut album (wait for it)….. Sleeping Beauty – You Are What You Have Been Waiting For: Volumood 1. Whew, is R&B turning Emo or what?
Despite what you may have heard, Dobson fits perfectly with the R&B genre, although she does tackle it from many different angles; jazz, reggae, soul, gospel and even country make their way on the record but every track is burning slow into the night with light grooves that are not in any way new or wild. That doesn’t mean that Sleeping Beauty is a bore, in fact it is quite the opposite. Over 13 songs, Dobson’s concept record looks at the stages of a relationship gone sour and is “a call for people to wake up and make their dreams come true. Don’t depend on others to define or color what the dream is for you”.
“Cool Rain (A Prelude For Horns)” sets the tone for the record offering up the warm touch of a new relationship before getting love-sick in the tender reggae beat “I’m Drownin'”. These two tracks really sum up the vibe of third track “Didn’t You Know You’d Be The One” where a relationship is wrapped up in six-minutes with an ingenious blend of steel pedal, soft funk and hip-hop grooves. The brutal aftermath of this relationship is found on “Still Alive” where Dobson recalls, “She was abandoned/Ship broken down by the weight of her past/Too many holes in her soul/So empty inside, too damaged to love”. By the bridge, our dear character gets her Waiting To Exhale moment when the dark veil is lifted and met with a squealing Rhodes and a heavenly choir heralds, “I’M ALIVE/STILL ALIVE!”. This is all in the first 4 songs! My personal favourites include, “No More Happily Ever After”, “Be Free” and “Not This Girl” which really show off Dobson’s astounding vocal ferocity and range. Beautiful stuff.
What I love about Abby Dobson’s debut is her absolute commitment to delivering an album for the ladies who believe that they are lost in life without a relationship; even though it may alienate male listeners. Her self-confidence is an inspiration to all and her bold presentation is timeless (keep in mind that Sleeping Beauty is not a singles record). Let’s hope that Volumood 2 will carry on these desperately needed qualities in our entertainment.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars