Three words: Tony! Toni! Tone! But seriously, New Jack Swing might be long passed relevance, but well-crafted soul music is not bound by time or trends and Raphael Saadiq is living proof. Saadiq has been cranking out pure R&B bliss as a singer and producer for almost twenty years, and with each year his mastery of the form becomes more evident. His new album The Way I See It is such a solid piece of retro-soul that we wouldn't be surprised if the dude owned a time machine and was using it to pilfer the vaults of Hitsville USA in its prime. Just like a classic Motown album, The Way bounces with boyant arrangements, powerful backbeats and beautiful vocals, all wrapped around tight lyrics and great hooks. It might not be what the kids are into but its certainly "The Sound Of Young America".
Sun., Oct. 5, 8 p.m., 2008