David’s gritty baritone falls somewhere just this side of Anthony Hamilton, and he uses it effectively here, especially on the disc’s bluesier material. So while the disc’s occasional forays into hip-hop don’t work particularly well, cuts like the opening single, “Stop Playin’ Games,” and the smoky ballad “Lady” (with Keisha Jackson) are pure magic. Friend India.Arie also joins in, bringing her accessible soul sound to the duet “Words,” a great track that, along with the acoustic ballad “On & On,” highlight the middle of the disc. The arrangements on the disc are also stronger than on 3 Chords, particularly the use of horn sections that make the upbeat cuts absolutely pop out. But in the end, it is the material that makes or breaks this album, and David shows himself to be an improving songwriter, delivering a handful of extremely strong compositions.
The Red Clay Chronicles arrives with unusually high expectations for an independent release of an artist still finding his voice. But it largely delivers the goods and continues Anthony David’s trajectory as one of the brightest new soul performers and an artist to watch. Recommended.
by Chris Rizik