Charles Bradley at Brilliant Corners

Another one of the year’s standout records is No Time for Dreaming by Charles Bradley, a terrific soul singer in the style of James Brown who’s belatedly getting attention after decades of obscurity. Read his bio here: Bradley’s been through a lot over the years, including the experience of grieving over his brother’s murder. He pours those experiences into his songs, and when he played Saturday (Sept. 18) at the Brilliant Corners festival, the songs were bursting with emotion. There were sexy songs, too, and Bradley danced with come-hither moves. And what a voice this guy has. Some of his soul shouts gave me chills.

He asked the crowd to listen to the words of the final song of the set, “Why Is It So Hard,” saying, “Listen to the lyrics and you’ll know the story of my life,” he said. “It’s taken you to bring me forward to do some good.” His feelings clearly came out of real experience as he belted the chorus, “Why is it so hard to make it in America?” As the curtain closed on the stage, Bradley jumped down and hugged everyone he could.

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