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José James releases 2 more Bill Withers cover videos

Critically acclaimed contemporary jazz and R&B musician José James will be embarking on a two-year world tour in celebration of legendary singer-songwriter Bill Withers.

Yesterday, José released two more live videos for his renditions of “Hope She’ll Be Happier” and “The Same Love That Made Me Laugh” with Billboard. Watch them here and here!

The videos follow the release of his “Better Off Dead” video last month.

As 2018 marks Withers’ 80th birthday, the Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers tour playing the Withers songbook kicks off on January 11th in New York and is backed by an incredible band handpicked for the job (Sullivan Fortner on keys, Brad Allen Williams on guitar, Ben Williams on bass, and Nate Smith on drums). While on the road these past few years, James found his live set slowly changing to make room for more Withers. First it was “Sunshine,” coming out of a vamp following his neo-soul original, “Trouble.” But soon, “Sunshine” grew to include “Grandma’s Hands,” then “Use Me,” then “Just the Two of Us,” and before long, the emotional peak of the show had become a 20 to 30-minute medley of Withers music that “people would just go crazy for,” says James. “It’s the power of performance: you can make those songs come alive again and people feel it in a way they can’t on a record.” And he has a point: with Withers retired from the touring life for over a quarter-century, his work while monumental is, to new ears, part of history. We last heard from José James in early 2017 when he released his seventh album, Love in a Time of Madness, a contemporary R&B set that marked his turn away from the solipsism of jazz and, as he said back then, “toward music that’s made for other people to enjoy.” He wrote love songs as a salve for all the negativity in the air, but things have gotten a lot worse since. Which is another reason why he found himself considering the power of Withers classics like “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me,” and “Lovely Day.” “His songs reflect a love for community and unification,” says James. “His music respects elders, values mentors, and explores male vulnerability. What better way to bring light to the world while challenging the racist, fascist, and sexist status quo?”

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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