Many would argue that the art of live performance is dying. Mel Alston Jr and The Sound Barrier Experience would like to disagree.
Mel Alston Jr is a lifelong musician, singing since he was a child. The Philadelphia native joined up with The Sound Barrier Experience (SBE), crafting a blend of soulful R&B and energetic rock that, though perhaps not unique, is certainly effective. Supported by SBE, Alston recently took the stage at The Fire in Philly – the result is Movie MuZik: Directors Cut EP.
Alston’s voice is exceptional. It’s at turns pure and soulful, powerful and passionate, and deeply emotional. He can hit a wide range, from falsetto highs to silky smooth lows, but one thing Alston never does is embellish unnecessarily – he avoids the bells, whistles, trills, and flashiness that is, by my ears, the downfall of many otherwise talented singers.
He is also versatile. It shifts flawlessly from the smooth R&B of “Science N Math” and “Wind Shield Factor” to the heavily rock-influenced “The Day After Forever” and “The Impossible,” which features bandmates Jay Griffy and Dakota Black, who each rap powerful verses.
The band – which includes Gregg James, Mick Daddy, Morris McFarland, and Thorobred, in addition to the three vocalists – is every ounce as talented as Alston. They’re clearly all masters of not just their instruments, but of a range of musical styles. In an EP of five live-recorded songs, there isn’t a single note out of place.
Going to Philly in the near future? Stop by and check out Mel Alston Jr and the rest of The Sound Barrier Experience – they’re sure to restore your faith in the art of live performance.
Movie MuZik is also available on BandCamp and, if you love it as much as I did, the full album is available on iTunes.