In Praise of Hollin’ Ass White Men

Category: By Glamour Diva & galaxyMafia
First let me start by defining the term “Hollin’”. Hollin’ is the bastardized southern form of hollering which means to yell, shout or otherwise make a lot of damn noise. Now this can be negative or positive; it just depends on the context. Today I’m using it in the very positive context of singing ones guts out in the loudest most soulful way possible.

Back in the day when I was but a petite baby Glamour Diva in training we used to refer to white folks singing in this manner as “Blue Eyed Soul”. You remember that don’t you? Folks like the Average White Band, Dusty Springfield, Hall and Oates, Teena Marie, Bobby Caldwell, Michael McDonald etc.?

These people had so much soul that black folk often refused to believe they were white! How could someone born with white skin and all the rights and privileges thereof, sing with so much passion we asked? What trials and tribulations could they have possible undergone while working after school at the Piggly Wiggly?

Okay I’m being facetious but you get my drift. Soulful singing isn’t black or white and it has no socio-economic barriers. Some people are just born with it and we automatically know it when we hear it! Well, most of us do. You see, Justin Timberlake is not a member of Blue Eyed Soul Inc. A high pitched whine does not a soul man make! Ms. GD has always thought that J.C Chasez has a much better voice than Mr. Timberlake anyway. The problem is that Mr. Chasez can’t dance! JT does indeed dance circles around JC (literally as well as figuratively). And this is sad because it says so much about the state of music today. If Luther Vandross were just starting out today he would have a hard row to hoe! So much time is spent on the performance aspect that true talent is often overlooked and it really is to our detriment. But I digress…

Below is a list of artists I admire. All of them are singer-songwriters and are, in general, fairly new to the music scene.

Marc Broussard – Carencro (Karen-Crow), Louisiana

Carencro (2004)
Momentary Setback (2002)

A trachea scorching baritone is this guy’s MO! By far the best vocalist of the bunch, Mr. Broussard flows seamlessly from flat out delta blues to straight up R&B. My favorite song is Rocksteady from Carencro. Mr. Broussard fair looses his damn mind on this joint! I swear he sounds like he’s about to pop a blood vessel in his brain from all the hollin’!

Kyle RiabkoSaskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Before I Speak (2005)

He’s the youngest of the bunch (17) but plays the guitar like a seasoned veteran. His voice is lovely but difficult to describe. It’s smoothed out on the James Taylor tip but already boasts the beginnings of a Marvin Gaye type sensuality. It’s almost obscene sometimes the way he sings so passionately about sex! I have to keep reminding myself that he isn’t legal yet…at least not in the United States.

I see you on the floor/You got me wishin for more/I’ve been wondering how my body might feel underneath yours- Miss Behavin'

Gavin DeGrawNYC, New York

Chariot (2004)

Gavin’s the “star” of the group but no less deserving of entry into Blue Eyed Soul Inc. Technically his music is categorized as rock but there is no mistaking the soul force bubbling up from under the surface. I love watching him sing. When it really gets good to him he opens up his mouth so wide I can see his toes! I suppose the wider you open your mouth the more hollin’ you can get out? It’s working for Mr. DeGraw.

Lewis Taylor – London, England

Stoned (2002/2005) First U.S. Release
Stoned Part 2 (2004)
Stoned Part 1 (2002)
Lewis 2 (2000)
Lewis Taylor (1996)

Lewis is the “Elder Statesman” of the group, the best musician, and the hardest to categorize. He’s also, next to Omar, my very favorite singer! Even with all his genre hopping (most often within the same song) the soulful core remains. I like to compare his music to a coiled DNA strand, it looks simple enough on the outside but when you open it up you notice all the complexities! Every time I listen to one of his songs I notice something different, a new piece of the enigmatic Lewis Taylor puzzle. His voice is just as layered as his music. He was a very distinctive and rich, throaty moan that can go from deep baritone to falsetto so quickly it will make your head spin! I hope his current release does well here. He’d be a welcome edition to Blue Eyed Soul Inc.!

What the world needs now is love and a lot more soul! - GD


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