Mar 23rd, 2022
Shirley Davis is centered, with her feet firmly planted on the ground and her gaze focused on the future. The powerful soul singer takes no prisoners and holds no regrets on her third album, Keep On Keepin’ On. As the frontwoman of Shirley Davis & The Silverbacks, Davis harnesses the power of soul mothers of the past as well as her own history to deliver a record that rollicks from soul serenade to rocking ballad, then brings it on home with hard stepping funk.
Keep On Keepin’ On embodies the best of the modern soul tradition, while showcasing a unique voice in its growing canon. Conjuring classic soul and funk sounds of the 1960s and ‘70s, as well as the mighty Sharon Jones – whose last words to Davis provide the album title — Shirley Davis & The Silverbacks’ latest full-length is a highly personal tale of empowerment and self-realization, served up without losing any groovyness.
Keep On Keepin’ On sees a new confidence build, highlighted by punchy midtempo songs like “Wild Girl” – a biographical tale that’s also a tribute to Davis’ daughter – and the silky neo soul stylings on “Still Young”. The heartfelt and vulnerable ballad “Love Insane” showcases the band’s ability to iterate classic American soul, while the string-laden “Culture or Vulture” offers a Marvin Gaye-esque critique of interlopers into Davis’ international soul community.
The band kicks it up on infectious dance numbers like “Take Out The Trash” and oozes warmth on “Outdoor” – a prescient song recorded before the pandemic about the pleasures of being outside.
Led by guitarist and musical director Eduardo Martínez, The Silverbacks are Jorge Suarez (drums), Diego Miranda (bass) and Lucas Duplá (keys), who are supported by a horn section dubbed the Mighty Roaring Tigers: saxophonist Aarón Pozón and Javi Martínez on trumpet. Together, the tightly tuned Silverbacks evoke the familiar sounds of modern soul with a fresh European twist.
While Davis found her center and inspiration with The Silverbacks, she continues to bow down to the queens of soul – many of whom lovingly call her “littler daughter”. Davis wrote several songs for Sharon Jones – the Daptone Records frontwoman and matriarch of the soul revival – her mentor and “singing godmother” including “True People” and the titular “Keepin’ On”. Just before her death in 2016, Jones offered Davis words of encouragement in her soul singing journey.