The Right Now - Carry Me Home
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: March 3, 2010
The Right Now are a Chicago-based soul band. Carry Me Home is their debut. Lead singer Stefanie Berecz appeared on P. Diddy's "Making the Band," in 2005 and the group has toured with the likes of Jamie Lidell, Bela Fleck, Justin Townes Earle and Dr. Dog.
How is it?
The greatest album you haven't heard this year comes from a Chicago septet that goes by the name The Right Now. The band's 24-year-old lead singer Stefanie Berecz brings her toddler daughter on tour with them and the band plays a version of jazzy soul that's the greatest thing in the genre since Joss Stone's 2004 Mind, Body and Soul.
The band's epicenter is Berecz, whose strong-lunged vocal gymnastics are nothing short of stunning. Plain and simple she can howl with the best of them. When she wants to be bluesy, she's bluesy. When she wants to be sultry and sweet, bam, she achieves it. When she wants to be gritty, earthy and tenacious, well step out of her way, cause she will slay you. But most importantly, when she wants to be commercial, accessible and radio-ready, well, naturally, she can handle that too. All the credit shouldn't go straight to Berecz however. Her co-writer and the brass section's pivot man is Brendan O'Connell, a keyboardist and guitarist who wrote most of the band's arrangements. To put it simply, he is the Batman to Berecz's Robin.
From front to back Carry Me Home is one of the most consistent and engaging listens that has come across this desk in quite some time. From the very first strains of opener "Ain't Going Back" there is something incredibly seductive, cerebral and gravitating about this band's output. That is most readily defined in lead single and should-be chart topper, "Nobody," which for all intents and purposes the greatest song released this year that no one is listening to. The band continues their soul swagger through the disc's middle half, with the five-minute "I Could Really Hold On," and the near seven-minute "Better Way To Live," grabbing most of the acclaim. The disc's latter half is equally as memorable with the saucy "I'll Get Down," and the tender "The One Way You Love," being the most memorable. The LP rests its laurels on "Carry Me Home," a gorgeous, old-time ballad written for Berecz's daughter Angeline. Stirring, emotive and deeply passionate, it is a perfect way to cap off a near-flawless album.
While throwback music such as this is probably a tough sell, the success of new-soul British singers Amy Winehouse, Duffy, and the aforementioned Stone, reveal that the music-listeners of the world enjoy females that can sing their tails off. Berecz is no exception. With strong support from O'Connell, an air-tight three-part horn section and a rhythm section that doesn't miss a beat, Carry Me Home is to put it simply, a most welcome surprise. Innovative, timeless and worth remembering, the disc is everything that music should be.