Paul Steward – World Champion | Album Review

Paul Steward – World Champion

C&P 2XG Records

9 tracks

“I was born on a Thursday, December 20th, 1984 in Wine Country California; raised on Elem Indian Colony Sulphur Bank Rancheria. Moved to Santa Rosa, CA as a teenager. I love music! Been singing and playing my whole life. My dad gave me the gift of music, got me a toy piano when I was little, taught me to play guitar at 13. We traveled all over America sharing that music.”

Paul’s bio goes on to tell us of his achievements and accomplishments. His love of music is rooted in family and he and his Dad Richard have a duo band (Twice As Good) and won the 2010 Native American Music Awards Blues Album of the Year. More albums and the 2021 launch of Steward’s solo career was followed by the release of this album a year later. Mixing blues, funk, soul, R&B, tribal music, and even some pop, it’s a fun cacophony of fine sounds and music. It even features the first ever commercial release of a Southeastern dialect Pomo language song, “Myanik Xe (Beautiful Music).” This California wine country-based artist is a great singer, songwriter and musician.

The title track is first up and there is a heavy, funky groove going on and Steward sings emotively and plays with ferocity. “Doin’ My Thing” follows, which starts out slow and soft and then  breaks into a driving and rocking blues. This and the next cut were penned by Paul. “Come On Girl” is a soulful piece with another sweet groove and funky vocals. Next is “That’s Where You Are,” is a slower soul blues with pretty guitar and powerful vocals. OAul’s Pomo cut is the next track and features chants, shouts, rhythms and a clapper stick.  It’s pretty darn cool and well done.

Jimmy Dawkins “If You Gotta Love Somebody” is classic Chicago blues with a soulful delivery. Freddie Hughes’ “Send My Baby Back” is a big soul number that Steward nails. Exceptional vocals and a slow and sultry delivery make this a winner. Next is Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” and Steward makes it his own.  Funky and cool, he blends and mixes musical styles into a cool pop/hip hop/blues and works well. He finishes up with Ras K’dee’s rap “Seasons,” transforming the cut into a powerful, slow R&B cut with tasteful vocals and guitar.

Steward is an exceptional artist with a great new, solo record.  He’s toured the US and globe and is someone whom I hope to get to hear live soon. He’s a fantastic singer and guitarist and his songs and performances blend soul and blues and everything else into a delightful sound that grabs the listener. Highly recommended!

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