Although a honeyed voice reminiscent of Sam Cooke and lyrics that recall Gil Scott-Heron provide evidence to the contrary, Aloe Blacc is a fairly recent arrival on the scene. He might have only just crossed into his 30s, but his ascension to soul stardom was swift. His song "I Need a Dollar" was chosen as the theme to HBO's How to Make It in America last fall, and his debut album, Good Things, on the ever-stellar Stones Throw label, recently was certified gold in France. Good things don't come easy, though: In his teens, he got his hands dirty in the beat lab with L.A.'s mad scientist Exile as the hip-hop group Emanon. Even singing of the shadowy alleys of a capitalist society and the litter the last economic recession left behind, he doesn't bring you down. Just like the golden-voiced gods of soulful protest that came before him, he makes even the struggle sound sublime.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Aloe Blacc performs Sun., May 22, 8 p.m., at the Music Box. All ages.