Saturday Afternoon Artist: Aloe Blacc

photo by Jim Bennett

Aloe Blacc is a Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist whose style depends on which instrument he picks up to play that day. He says. “Simply stated, I’m a musician. I have produced music in many genres from country and folk to hip-hop and dancehall. Whatever I make depends on what instrument I choose to pick up at the time; the guitar usually brings something alternative out, while the keys direct me to a more soulful composition. Most times I just make some banging hip hop. ”

His first solo release, Shine Through, dropped in 2006, but it’s this year’s Good Things that’s really putting him on the map.  His old-school soul singing style is most funky on the song “Hey Brother” – mixing velvety, heartfelt singing with simple rhythms, tight horns and wah-wah guitar.

Although Aloe Blacc’s new record brings in other styles like reggae, R&B and Latin, the vocals have an unmistakable Bill Withers feel. Especially on the song “I Need a Dollar”.

These are both excellent tracks for airplay. So I got my own copy of the record and took it home, where full-lengths are best experienced. The whole record is good. In fact it’s made the list of my top 10 releases of 2010. Which are (in order, but this list could change tomorrow): LCD Soundsystem, Galactic, Big Boi, Arcade Fire,  The Roots, Gorillaz, Black Keys, Aloe Blacc, MIA and Victor Shade.  Would love to know your top 10 of 2010 — post your list on my Facebook page 0r e it to  I’ll send listeners’ top 10 lists out on my weekly DJ Playlist e-mail.

Aloe Blacc plays live at Nectar Lounge in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood on Friday, November 5th!

Michele Myers spins every Saturday on KEXP from 3-6pm. Every week she plays 3-in-a-row from the Saturday Afternoon Artist. She is the creator of KEXP Documentaries and hosts Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 6-9am on WNYE 91.5FM in New York City.

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