"Read Between the Lines"
Composer/Producer: Tyrone Steele
Lyricist/Vocalist: Garland Thomas
As the collaborative effort between Tyrone Steele's production and Garland Thomas' flavor of singing, "Read Between the Lines" ultimately is an urban-contemporary R&B tune with heavy jazz influences. Steele provides a fine accompaniment to the punchy, soulful voice of Thomas, which results in a very fresh, cool feeling.
D'Nas Productions describes this song as very refreshing, which is entirely accurate. Steele works well to set a smooth, easy pace that really sets the tone of the song. From there Thomas brings forth his lyrics in a performance that seems improvised at times, matching the feel of the accompaniment around him. Production wise, Steele brings forth everything you might expect from a jazz-flavored jam: wandering pianos, sweet horns, cool hats and cymbals, etc. The melodies are intricate by nature, and play over each other very well.
There are a few problems with the production of this song that make it just less of stellar. First, the recording quality is a bit flat. I heard a good low end (though the synthy baseline kind of gave it a 1980s soft rock feel), but the mid frequencies sounded squashed and the highs of the cymbals were not brought out and much as they could have and should have been. Also, there is a long break in the middle of the song that drags on a little too long, but does show off some of Steele's skills.
All and all, the song is a nice departure from most of modern R&B, and should probably be checked out by most R&B and Jazz fans. Thomas is an enormously talented vocalist and Steele has a good grip on how to bring those talents forward with his melodic skills. Others of you not especially interested in urban music will want to pass this one over; production quality is sub-par, and the lyrics are not especially poignant.
Oh, and congrats to D'nas Productions who accurately found a refreshing and talented producer in Steele, whom we may hear from more in the future...
Matthew Hurst (aka DJBox)