Something to Give
The Essentials is a collaboration of ten highly talented and experienced musicians, each with a personal or professional attachment to the University of Oregon School of Music in Eugene. Covers of such artists as Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, and Chicago join originals written by the group to make up the band's sound, a mixture of tight rhythm, heavy brass and soulful vocals. The band has performed at dozens of nightclubs on the west coast from San Francisco to Seattle, headlined festivals, played weddings and private parties, and appeared at numerous college events and football games. They have opened for such household names as Leon Russel and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies. Their original self-titled album, released in Spring 2007, has had nothing but solid reviews, and is recieving television licensure, spots on national compilation albums, and rotation radio play from Denver to Des Moines to New York. 'Something to Give" was recorded and mixed by Billy Barnet, the producer behind the Cherry Poppin' Daddies albums. Fans of The Essentials' more traditional self-titled album will notice a difference. This time around the group adds disco and pop flavors to their roots, producing a sound more along the lines of Jamiroqui than that of Marvin Gaye. The five original tracks explore love and politics, addressing our future in the song "Greed" by stating that "Maybe the point is not / to have it all but have something to give". Lead vocalist Neil Thurston shares the limelight of the album with Myeshia Cleveland, who is featured on her own track "Crossroads", and joins Thurston in the Chicago-esque ballad "If You Run to Me". The album's first track, "What You Do", features a real string ensemble as well as the group's signature horn section.