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Heston

Storyteller

(Worldsoul; US: 21 Aug 2008; UK: Unavailable; Internet release date: 21 Aug 2008)

In the overpopulated world of male R&B singers, Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Heston is a notable presence. On Storyteller, his expressive tenor conveys passion and desire more believably than the voices of most million-selling studs. The essence of Heston’s talent is evident in the first few wordless notes of “Brand New You” and the acoustic charms of “Like Sunshine”. He is most certainly an original artist, a fact that makes the derivative “Distant Lover” sound out of place on Storyteller. While not a re-make of the Marvin Gaye classic, “Distant Lover” nevertheless finds Heston blurring the thin line between homage and imitation with phrasing and ad-libs that closely resemble that of the late soul singer. Though trimming “Distant Lover” from the album, along with the sincere but saccharine “Songbirds” and equally as sincere but shaky-sounding “Good Morning America”, would make Storyteller a truer testament to Heston’s considerable singing and songwriting skills, finding treasures like the smooth and silky “No Way, No How” and deliciously groovy “Sumthing in the Water” make Storyteller worth the exploration.

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Christian John Wikane is a NYC-based journalist and music essayist. He's a Contributing Editor for PopMatters, where he's interviewed artists ranging from Paul McCartney to Janelle Monae. For the past three years, he's penned liner notes for more than 100 CD re-issues by legends of R&B, rock, pop, dance, and jazz. Since 2008, he's produced and hosted Three of Hearts: A Benefit for The Family Center at Joe's Pub. He is the author of the five-part oral history Casablanca Records: Play It Again (PopMatters, 2009). Follow him on Twitter @CJWikaneNYC. 


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