HIp-hop=leaning Roots R&B on blue vinyl; $22
Son Little, the singer and songwriter born Aaron Livingston, is the easygoing musical alchemist of our time. He is a conjurer, and much like those of his heroes Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix, his songs are deconstructions of the diaspora of American R&B. Deftly he weaves different eras of the sound—blues, soul, gospel, rock and roll—through his own unique vision, never forced, always smooth, each note a tributary on the flowing river of rhythm and blues. And now, with his second full-length album, New Magic, he has delivered a profound statement, a cohesive creation that captures the diverse spirit of American music in a fresh and modern way. The song that serves as the album’s true centerpiece is “Blue Magic,” a Philly Soul inspired number deconstructed almost like a rap song or the best of production savants like J Dilla or Madlib, complete with chiming glockenspiel bells and old school female backing vocals. The song has the appeal of an instant classic. On the heels of his 2015 self-titled debut and the 5-song EP, Songs I Forgot, that came before it, Son Little found his reach steadily growing. His song “Lay Down” had been streamed over seven million times, he had toured the world with artists as diverse as Leon Bridges, Kelis, Mumford & Sons, Portual. The Man and Shakey Graves in addition to his own headlining runs, and also became a Grammy Award winning producer, earning a 2016 Best Roots Performance award for his work on Mavis Staples.