The Coby Brown Group


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When singer Coby Brown and his Coby Brown Group started playing the New York club scene in the late '90s, they often found themselves being compared to the Dave Matthews Band. It's a valid comparison, to be sure -- like Matthews, Brown embraces pop/rock that has been heavily influenced by the soul and funk of the 1960s and 1970s. But Homesick, Brown's debut album, isn't as diverse or eclectic as Matthews' releases -- and Matthews isn't the only comparison that comes to mind when you're listening to this CD. At times, Brown reminds you of Lenny Kravitz -- specifically, Kravitz's more subtle and understated work. Brown doesn't get into the sort of Jimi Hendrix-minded hard rock that Kravitz has sometimes provided, but he does, at times, make you think of Kravitz's more restrained offerings. Homesick isn't an in-your-face sort of album; Brown doesn't try to win you over with aggression or attitude, but those who appreciate subtlety will hear his potential (as both a vocalist and a songwriter) on soul-minded pop/rock items like "I'm Not Leaving" and "Halloween." Unlike Matthews, Brown doesn't get into a lot of irony -- Matthews' take on 1970s funk/soul culture can be very ironic and humorous, but that isn't the sort of thing that Brown is going for. On Homesick, the Generation Xer comes across as someone who just happens to be especially fond of the rock and R&B of his parents' baby boomer generation. And why not? If 19-year-old hard bop trumpeters can claim Dizzy Gillespie and Clifford Brown as their primary influences, why shouldn't a Gen-X pop-rocker be influenced by Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield instead of Limp Bizkit or Courtney Love and Hole? Homesick falls short of exceptional, but it's a solid debut from an artist who is sincere and fairly promising.

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