by Dom Jones
BJ The Chicago Kid was a Grammy nominated artist after his first album, and his fans have been eagerly awaiting a follow-up. In My Mind established BJ as someone who isn’t afraid to pay homage to old school soul and who actually has the chops and sensibilities to do so. His tone could have him sit comfortably in the 50s, 60s, or 70s, but his music is fresh and contemporary, creating this really cool bridge between the past and present in everything he releases. His new single “I’m Sorry” doesn’t diverge from that pattern at all, and even takes on more of the past in its form.
A fleeting two-minute tune full of remorse and apology for an indiscretion, BJ tells the full story of a man who has strayed from his relationship and whose mistress has now become pregnant! So much drama, and there’s so few words. When you listen to the tune, though, you realize that it’s really a duet between BJ The Chicago Kid and the guitar, which sings throughout the entire track. I incorrectly assumed that it was Jairus Mozee playing guitar on this tune, one of BJ’s go to musicians with a ridiculous talent, who has played with the likes of Lalah Hathaway, Kendrick Lamar, Jill Scott, and Anthony Hamilton. It’s actually Lawrence Jones, someone I hadn’t heard of before. Regardless, his playing is so melodic and emotional that it adds another dimension to the song. It’s almost as if the guitar is BJ’s scorned partner, crying as he reveals his truth and apologizes. The guitar feature on this song really captures how a powerful and intentional partnership between vocalist and instrument can create a masterful story without much lyric.
Because that’s the thing. “I’m Sorry” doesn’t have many words beyond that. We find out that he cheated, we find out that the other woman’s pregnant, we find out that the scorned woman is crying, and that’s pretty much it. The details are in the under and over tones, and this is something that BJ is particularly skilled with. Harkening back to his Grammy-nominated song “Turnin’ Me Up” he uses musicality and the fortress of skilled musicians he’s built around himself to croon, to layer ostinato after ostinato until the listener is hooked. It puts one in the mind of R&B/Soul greats such as Marvin Gaye and Al Green, and even Jackie Wilson as well. He’s calling upon their vocal technique, while fusing it with a more contemporary sound. If “I’m Sorry” is a preview to his sophomore album, then I think we have much to look forward to.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF BJ THE CHICAGO KID’S NEW SINGLE? SOUND OFF IN THE COMMENTS!