Lizz Wright is in possession of an extraordinary voice, one described by the NY Times as "luminous... smoky and perfectly pitched...one of the most wondrous rhythm-and-blues instruments of our time." She is also an accomplished songwriter who resists easy categorization, seamlessly combining intimate India.Aria-meets-Odetta styled soul/folk and smoldering torch ballads with earthy, gospel-tinged blues and rhythmic jazz undertones. "While I absolutely adore jazz," the 30-year-old rural Georgia native says, "when I'm alone I listen more to singer/songwriters like Jeff Buckley and Damien Rice, whose songs tell a story." Her two most recent albums, both produced by Craig Street (k.d. lang, Cassandra Wilson), were confident expansions of her own personal musical vision, one that seems to happily know no boundaries.
For her fourth album Fellowship, arriving September 28 via Verve, Wright takes us on a more spiritual journey -- but, as always, with a few unexpected stops along the way. Revisiting classic gospel songs of her youth ("Amazing Grace", Shirley Caesar's "Sweeping Through the City"), she also makes room for the Gladys Knight hit "(I've Got to Use My) Imagination", Eric Clapton's "Presence of the Lord" and "In From the Storm" by Jimi Hendrix. There are also original contributions from guests Angelique Kidjo, Me’Shell N’Degeocello, Joan as Policewoman (the lovely "Feed the Light") and frequent Wright collaborator "Toshi" Reagon. Another noteworthy chapter from our most prodigiously talented and intelligent performers, Fellowship breathes with inspiration from what Wright calls her "ancestral place." “It’s just a very big part of my life,” she says. “It reinforces the way I do everything else. It’s that simple for me.”
Lizz Wright - ("I've Got to Use My) Imagination" (from the album Fellowship)