Sweet Angel

Sweet Angel was born in the cradle of the Home of the Blues, the birthplace of Rock and Roll, Memphis, Tennessee, and has been singing and playing music since her early days in elementary school. She was such a talented reed player that she won seats in the top ten All West Tennessee Bands and all City Bands for clarinet and saxophone when she was still only in middle school. Of course lots of people show an aptitude for music at a young age and either it means they peaked early or they lack the motivation or drive to parlay it into a career.

Judging by her first two CDs, "Another Man's Meat on My Plate" and "Handle Your Business", that's not the case with Sweet Angel. Not only does she apparently have musical talent to spare, she's got the strength of personality and character needed to make that talent come alive when she performs. There are plenty of people, who can sing, and there are plenty of people who can play musical instruments, but there are very few people who have that extra quality that compels every eye in the house to focus on them when they walk on stage and begin to play.

Listening to the way Sweet Angel delivers her material on disc, it's easy to see her on stage. You've heard of performers who make each person in their live audience feel as if songs are sung to them personally; that's rare enough, yet Sweet Angel somehow manages to accomplish that on disc. Perhaps it's her choice of material, or that she is without affectation and you just know that what you hear is what you get. Maybe it's her matter-of-fact delivery that makes her sound like she's someone you could just as easily sit and talk with as watch on stage.

Whatever it is, she breaks down that invisible barrier between audience and performer that is the key to making heartfelt music like soul or R&B come to life. So it doesn't matter if she's singing slow and soft as on "Easy Loving You," or laying it on the line for some ex in the hard driving title track "Another Man's Meat on My Plate." (I just have to say I don't think I've heard a better song, with better lyrics or title for a woman to sing in a long time than this track. It was written by a man, Sweet Angel's husband/producer Mike Dobbins, making that notion that even better.)

There are a lot of performers that you might acknowledge for great voices or extraordinary musicianship, but their music and songs are forgettable. To my mind that means the person has cared more about themselves than the song that they performed. That's not the case with Sweet Angel; she's putting all her energies into selling the song and not only does it make the material all the more powerful, in the end it makes her more memorable.

What sticks in my head after listening to her disc is the way she turned a phrase in a particular song that gave it character and personality; that brought the song to life. She has a good, strong voice, which she doesn't waste on pointless pyrotechnics; instead she uses it intelligently to make sure that every word and every line of what she sings is believable. Some people call that selling a song, but you only ever need to sell a song if you don't have the talent to convey what it offers. When you have talent such as Sweet Angel's, you do what you do best and let the song take care of itself.

As all of the material on "Another Man's Meat on My Plate" was written for Sweet Angel by her husband and producer Mike Dobbins, he's obviously going to be making damn sure that he takes advantage of her strengths. The great thing about the job he's done is that it's obvious that not only does he know Sweet Angel's strengths, but he has enough faith in them that he doesn't mess with them in the post-production. If these two can continue to progress along the path they've started to chart with this first album we can look forward to years more of great R&B music played and sung the way it's meant to be.

Sweet Angel's "Another Man's Meat on My Plate" is a great first album by an R&B performer worth watching. Recently, Ecko Records has released this album and added two great cuts, "I'd Rather Have a Cheatin' Man" and "I'm Gonna Give You Good Love". These two cuts have only enhanced an already great album. Ecko Records signed Sweet Angel in May of 2007. It makes for a great combination. This is definitely a force to be reckoned with.