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  • Alice Smith

I Songs I Love w/ Donovan Keith

Austin based Soul-R&B artist Donovan Keith releases his latest single ‘Sweet Lies’. Taken from his upcoming album, ‘Sweet Lies’ is a cautionary tale about falling for the wrong type and always getting hurt. First written and recorded by Reggae artist Beres Hammond, Donovan’s reimagination of this 90's classic infuses classic soul and R&B vibes, brimming with smooth basslines, funky drum beats and triumphant brass sections, providing the perfect backdrop to showcase Donovan’s impressive vocal range as he convincingly makes the track his own. If you're a fan of the tracks below be sure to check out Donovan's new single which is featured at the end of this piece!

1. Sam Cooke – Bring It On Home To Me – Live At Harlem Square Club

"This song started it all. First time I heard it I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I was18 working my first job at a movie theater and heard only a piece of it during a teaser trailer for a movie that didn’t come out until a year later. I became obsessed and after a year of digging, I found it was Sam Cooke who I already knew, but not like this. I knew his crooner “You Send Me” style, but this was raw and gritty & something I never heard before. The whole album is great and features King Curtis on all the sax solos. Recorded in January of 1963 it’s a massive precursor to what eventually became soul music. This album was what made me want to become a singer."

2. Emily King - U & I

"I’ve been a huge fan of hers since I saw her for the first time at SXSW 2016 in Austin, TX. This

was the song in her set that won myself and the whole audience over. I arrived early to catch a different act and what started for me as chill background music became the absolute diamond find of the whole festival. She has a lot of great songs but something about that guitar riff and the build-out of the bridge just gets me."

3. Squirrel Nut Zippers – Got My Own Thing Now

"The first CD I ever bought was the Squirrel Nut Zippers ‘Hot’ album. Thanks to Barnes and

Noble listening stations of the 90s I came across this first track and was blown away by how live and raw the room sound was. The melody and lyrics are so catchy and the trumpet just blows you away from the first note. The whole album is a classic."

4. Little Richard – Long Tall Sally

"When I was 5 years old I loved Little Richard. I would listen to his songs on the Oldies radio

station & old reruns of his Sesame Street performances. It’s also playing early on in the

helicopter scene of the 1987 movie “Predator” with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I grew up a fan of movies so most of my early musical influences were shaped by that."

5. Toots & The Maytals – Love’s Gonna Walk Out On Me

"I love everything about this song. It’s so imperfectly perfect. The heartfelt classic soul influence is obvious. The little nuances of the recording are charming and yet chilling at the same time. The odd tonality from the organ/keys and the strings and poor EQ mix gives it such a dark and warm ambience. Throw those howling vocal bends from Toots and Maytals on top of it and it’s the perfect example of beauty in imperfection but every bit of it serves the song."

Check out 'Sweet Lies' by Donovan Keith

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