Curtis Harding could best be described as a student of the gritty, sweat-dripping, hip-swinging blues that wafted through the air of the American '60s. The offspring of a mother who sang gospel, and a retired veteran, he traveled all over the country as a child, singing alongside his parents, learning that music was in fact the great communicator, and that the key was not just in how pretty the notes were, but how if you were honest in what you were singing, you could stir a person on the inside. This is what Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Bo Diddley, and B. B. King knew. That somehow there was a way to take your experiences, your pain and joy, and give them melody, cause them to live and breathe and massage the hearts and minds of all those who hear.
That is exactly what Harding does on his new album, Face Your Fear. He figures out how to tap into the old soul man of the past without mimicking or bastardizing it, but instead evoking the spirit of the true soul music of yesterday, meshed with the realities of now. Produced by friends Sam Cohen and Danger Mouse, the 12 songs on the new album convey an eclectic blend of genres leaping from the many musical lives he has lived from following his evangelical Gospel-singing mother on tour as a child in Michigan to rapping in Atlanta, forming a garage band with The Black Lips' Cole Alexander to singing back-up for Cee Lo Green. Through these experiences he fully embraces life's darkest intricacies conjuring dynamic, addictive melodies.