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Tanika Charles - The Gumption (Record Kicks)

17 October 2019

The second album from Canadian soul singer Tanika Charles, The Gumption recalls R&B classics of a bygone age. Charles clearly reveres old school Midwestern and Southern soul – the guitar-based arrangements and earthy production of tunes like “Going Home,” “Remember to Remember” and “Tell Me Something” recall the glory days of Motown and Muscle Shoals. She’s not a firebreather – there’s more of Al Green’s restraint than Otis Redding’s furor in her grooves, and that’s to her advantage. Songs like the soulful “Cadillac Moon” or the frisky “First & Last” benefit from her matter-of-fact delivery, letting the strength of the song and the richness of her timbre carry the tracks, instead of over-the-top passion. The closing ballad “Always Restless” lets her show off a bit, but she still avoids histrionics. Not so much retro as timeless, The Gumption is a beautiful piece of work from a singer that deserves attention.