Sit down. Put your headphones on. Take a deep breath and get ready for something spectacular.
Yes, I’m talking about a new EP from soulful R&B artist Aryk Crowder, 2x4 Vol. 1.
Due out on September 9, 2x4 Vol. 1 is a collection of four lush and gorgeous songs featuring simple rhythms, finger snaps, and clear and ringing acoustic guitar instrumentation. But the star of the show is Crowder’s smoky tone and silky delivery.
Crowder's writing skills are also apparent here, as he combines solid composition with well-written lyrics. A lovely finish the collection, the closing song, “Feel Loved,” is supported by some sweet strings. My favorite of the bunch, it’s wonderfully written and performed.
Crowder shares, “Working on 2x4 Vol. 1 was an incredible experience as it is not only my biggest project to date, but also that I got to work with such a great team on it. The musicians and engineers behind this record are by far the best people I have worked with. Not only are they all my friends, but as a team we work well and the bring the best out of me. They let me feel comfortable in being vulnerable on these songs and open to new ideas. I couldn't have made this record the same way without them."
2x4 Vol. 1 is the first half of a two-part EP series, with Volume 2 due to release next spring. Though comparisons to Jeff Buckley, John Mayer or Ben Harper aren't unwarranted, Crowder sports more love for true soul music than any of the above, as evidenced through the rustic tones of acoustic plucks.
Though the focus is on Crowder's expert vocals and masterful guitar work throughout, the 2x4 Vol. 1 is rounded out by hefty contributions from award winning hip-hop group, Sidewalk Chalk members Charlie Coffeen and Tyler Berg (co-production/keys and drums, respectively), engineer Chris Harden (Plain White T's, Hard Working Americans) of IV Lab Studios and Boiler Room mastering engineerColin Jordan, responsible for assisting a who's who of Chicago hip-hop talent over the years, such as Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Twista.
Crowder began his quest for success in the heart of Chicago, after perfecting his debut EP Ready, Set in 2010. Crowder released his next record Over Getting Over in 2012, which was recorded and co-produced by Greg Magers (Lupe Fiasco, Umphree's McGee).
Excited for his upcoming release, Crowder explains, "After working on 2x4 for nearly 18 months since the creation of the concept, I feel like a proud papa with his new baby. I've been blessed to call Chicago home as the talent here in the soul, R&B, and hip hop scene is in abundance. It was great to be able to work with so many great, creative, Chicago folks on this record who believe in me and the music I'm making and that I can call friends. I feel as if this record will be what I need to start taking my music on a national level. I anticipate the next year to be nothing short of amazing."
Aryk Crowder is set to release 2x4 Vol. 1 on September 9, 2014.For updates, please visit: arykcrowder.com.