Soul Folk featuring Will Hammond Jr.
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Soul Folk featuring Will Hammond Jr.

San Francisco, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band R&B Soul


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Soul Folk feat. Will Hammond Jr."

How to describe this? Hmm. Probably my best set is to say that its contemporary, bang on C21 but without being crass mainstream R&B. Stylistically it is bold, of that I have no doubt. The beats in places are very hip-hop and urban but almost rootsy too. The songs are firmly rooted in the soil of Neo-Soul, and have an awareness of where music has been, and points towards where it is heading. The passion and starkness of Van Hunt, P.J. Morton and Seven can be felt, and the subtlety and soulfulness of the greats can also be found. The first handful of songs is rather mechanical and urban yet has more depth than you would expect. They’re engaging and different and the eerie – almost early 80s synth pop feel of – “Spaces And places” may not be everyone’s cup of tea – let alone the purists, but artistically there is a lot of interesting texture. This shows that these guys are not just out to tread the same old tired R&B path.

Saying that, I do admit a preference for the more traditional soulful numbers, and there are at least 4 songs on here which really impress me, and on the day I heard them for the first time it was warm and sunny – a perfect match for the tracks that I am about to highlight for you. “No Surprise” is just sublime, it really is. The opening birdsong and guitar, baseline and dreamy keys work extremely well together, and comparisons with Van Hunt have to be made. The song is lovely and positive, and is definitely one to savour on these lengthening days. Fans of jazzier vibes will appreciate “Jaded” very much I suspect. The crashing cymbals and contemplative piano and dreamy vibes are almost at loggerheads but are perfectly engulfing the vocals. This is melancholy set to music, a moment of daydream and half-realization with a healthy hint of contentedness.

The most commercial radio cut has to be “Breakdown” which cleverly interpolates Stevie Wonder’s wonderful synth bridge from his classic “Superwoman”. This is handled with complete reverence and subtlety. No cack-handed Puff Diddley sampling work here! The chaps turn their talents to an acoustic Latin sound with “Your Love” which, again, is perfect for the warmer temperatures. Their cover of Stevie’s “Golden Lady” also nods towards a classic 70s sound. I suspect that Mr. Wonder’s unique style and approach is one that Soul Folk and Will Hammond can hook up with. My final choice is the excellent 80s-ish jam, “Goodbye” which is essential. I think that if you loved Cognac’s “Blast Off” as much as I did, then this will be for you! Superb. Please check these tracks out as I know you’ll be impressed.

- Barry Towler

"Review of "To Be Continued...""

When it comes to music, I'm a less is more type of guy. That's probably a function of growing up in the 1970s at the height of the LP era. Vinyl long play records contained 10 or 11 songs. That's about all a long play vinyl record could hold. Truth be told, 10 songs averaging between four and five minutes pushed up the limits of the attention spans of most music fans. Besides, most artists struggle to crank out four or five decent songs, which made the classics such as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On or Michael Jackson's Thriller all the more special. It was an event when artists such as Stevie Wonder or Prince dropped double-albums such as Songs in the Key of Life or 1999. Both artists had to create music that justified the extra cost consumers purchasing it would have to plank down.
Compact discs hold twice as much music as a vinyl LP, and big box stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy charge twice as much for them. That might explain why most artists feel the need to stuff 70 minutes worth of music onto those small discs. Maybe artists and music companies believe fans will feel better about planking down $17 if they get 15 or 20 songs. The problem is most music fans don't want to listen to 20 songs, especially since most artists still make four or five good ones.
That's why alarm bells went off when I flipped over To Be Continued by Soul Folk featuring Will Hammond, Jr. and saw that the CD contained 17 tracks. I put the CD in fearing that it would be the musical equivalent of interstate driving - miles of nothing interrupted by the occasional tourist attraction, leaving the listener to exclaim "are we there yet?" Boy, was I wrong! A measure of how good an album To Be Continued is that Will could have made two records out of the first and second halves of the album, and they'd both be excellent.
One thing that makes To Be Continued a work that has a very good chance of holding the listener's interest is the album's pace. To Be Continued doesn't overwhelm the listener with track after track of up-tempo songs, nor does the record fall into a mid-tempo groove that all to easily becomes a rut. A mid-tempo groove such as "Sunday in the Park" is followed by the frenetically, pulsing techno inspired jam "Beautiful." The listener falls into a mournful mood while listening to "Jaded," a slow, acoustic jazzy ballad, only to be aroused by the whirring violins in the song "Venus Returns."
The sparse acoustic guitar that complements Hammond's tenor on "1979" gets followed up by the ultra-funky neo-soul and hip-hop fusion of "When It Rains," one of many high points on To Be Continued. The breezy "Your Love" and a lovely version of Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady" follow that song.
To Be Continued by Soul Folk featuring Will Hammond, Jr. draws on jazz, hip-hop, techno, folk to create 17 compelling tracks that surprise and hold the listener's interest. Highly recommended. - Howard Dukes/Soultracks

"Review of "To Be Continued...""

"Summertime soul from multi-talented San Francisco
performer Soul Folk, formerly of Midnight Voices.
From the first beautiful keys of "Life Goes On", you
can feel you're in for something special. Pour the
Malibu, this might take awhile." - Toph One/XLR8R Magazine

"Top 2008 Albums"

Will Hammond, Jr. and Soul Folk: To Be Continued... -- This CD checked in at a normally overweight 17 tracks. However, there is little fat. There are several radio-ready tracks on To Be Continued, including "When It Rains" and a nice remake of "Golden Lady," but nobody would call any of the album tracks on this record "filler." HD - SoulTracks


“To Be Continued…”,(2008) Soul Folk feat. Will Hammond Jr.Dreamtree Entertainment
“Brothafromanuthaplanet”,,(2003) Soul Folk • Dreamtree Ent./Café De Soul (UK)

Singles (airplay):

"Sunday in the Park" (To Be Continued...)
"When It Rains" (To Be Continued...)

"Life Goes On" (Brothafromanuthaplanet)
"Love Affair" (Brothafromanuthaplanet)
"Soul Spirits" (Brothafromanuthaplanet)



Singer/songwriter Will Hammond Jr.'s musical career began in elementary school at Cathedral School for Boys and Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. After Hammond Jr. graduated from Urban High School in 1987, he performed with up-and-coming black alternative /hip-hop bands Bass House Funk and Midnight Voices. In 1990, Hammond Jr.’s major accomplishment occurred while he was a student at San Francisco State University. He is credited as the writer of Tara Kemp's international hit, "Hold You Tight," (Warner Bros.), which went to #3 on the Billboard Pop and R&B charts and became a certified gold record with 800,000 units sold. Hammond Jr. has produced tracks with other Bay Area talents like: The Coup, Midnight Voices and performed with: Ledisi, Martin Luther and B’Nai Rebelfront.

JFM Presents: Let’s set the record straight. In 2003, you released a debut project «brothafromanuthaplanet» under your pseudonym, "Soul Folk featuring Will Hammond Jr." In 2008, your follow-up project «To Be Continued...» was released under Dreamtree Entertainment. Both CDs were released under “Soul Folk featuring Will Hammond.” Is Dreamtree Entertainment your label, and if so, is that the differentiation you are trying to make?

Hammond Jr.: Yes, the label was created back in early 2000 and the band name has developed over that period. The initial name was "Colorfolks," but the industry felt that was not "politically correct" I changed the name to Soul Folk which most people know me as. Now I am trying to brand the sound under my birth name.

JFM Presents: Tell me about the concept for «To Be Continued…»

Hammond Jr: The cd is a culmination of different images from my life....translated into a musical mix of soul grooves and progressive/electronica layers. I wanted this album to be a representation of me; a variety of feelings and perspectives and musically diverse but still staying true to my soul background. From the groovy funk of "When It Rains" to the drum & bass layered "Beautiful" this cd will give you an emotional tapestry of life itself.

JFM: How did the Will Hammond Jr. project get started?

Hammond Jr.: My professional music career started out as a songwriter and I made beats at my home studio in San Francisco while I was in college but commuted to Los Angeles to work with some producers down there. I started to reflect on my experiences of love and relationships--the ups and downs of the industry. After I finished some songs, I found some amazing musicians like Uriah Duffy, B’Nai Rebelfront and Mike Blankenship to tell the story live, so we started playing around town and I started writing more and expanding the concepts. The first cd was full of live music with hip-hop/jazz beats and helped me understand the direction of the next project «To Be Continued…»

JFM Presents: Who are your influences and why?

Hammond Jr.: I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. Big time Prince fan and of course his disciples which include D'Angelo, Bilal and Cody Chesnutt. I would love to work with those producers and writers who made that magic happen. My old drummer used to play me tapes of The Young Disciples with Carleen Anderson, Omar and Mica Paris. I loved the energy they gave to the music and it was free of the boy band sound we get now. It gave me hope to keep writing the songs I want to write and maybe someone would understand my story too.

JFM Presents: How would you describe your sound?

Hammond Jr.: I would always tell people I have love for all music. The CD is a mix of hip-hop, soul, jazz-funk and some Latin beats. When I'm in the studio I start to build ideas from an inner-rhythm I feel in the hook. From there I start to write down a story or freestyle my idea until I know what type of feel I want for that specific song. Right now, I'm working on a song called "Sunday in the Park" which has a very bossanova feel to it but with a soul groove.

JFM Presents: There is a track on «To Be Continued...» called “Jaded.” Does that song in particular have anything to do with the current state of affairs with regard to the music industry, specifically, soul music in the US in juxtaposition to the UK soul movement?

Hammond Jr: The first album did well and I'm very excited about the feedback we've gotten out there and I have much love for the UK soul movement. It is more organic, more real than most American music that is being written right now.

The music industry needs to do their homework and look at us as the next soul movement. The cookie cutter artists will always be there, the money will always be there. They need to expand the musical box and create a soul renaissance so folks will start picking up instruments again and singing about real, day to day things again.

JFM Presents: Finally, what can people unfamiliar with Will Hammond Jr. expect to see at Yoshi’s San Francisco?

Hammond Jr.: They should expect a funky, soulful set w