Ledisi, Timothy Bloom 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., Nov. 17, 8 p.m. 2011

On her latest album, Pieces of Me (Verve), Ledisi isn't so much a neosoul artist anymore—by continuing to move away from her embrace of the music's past, she's become a more or less contemporary soul singer. Her powerhouse voice remains astonishing even on generic, cloying material like the title track, whose lyrics talk about the way people underestimate how many sides she (and everybody else) has. But most of the album finds better footing, and even the songs that function as little more than vehicles for Ledisi's perfect curlicues, melismas, shouts, and gospelized asides aren't marred by the schlock of "Pieces of Me." The best cuts tend to be carefully shaped songs rather than meandering, shapeless slow jams: the booming post-hip-hop beats on "Coffee" seem to prod Ledisi's soaring cries to even greater heights, and on the old-school ballad "Hate Me" she digs into the bluesy melody as though it were modeling clay, dropping embellishments as effortlessly as you or I might exhale. —Peter Margasak Timothy Bloom opens.

Price: $35

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