FAME Review: The Urban Renewal Project - Local Legend
The Urban Renewal Project - Local Legend

Local Legend

The Urban Renewal Project

Available from iTunes.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Holy Christ! Singer Aubrey Logan isn't just plugged in, someone ratcheted the amperage to a 10X factor as well. She flies into My Own Way, the first cut, like a missile screaming down from the heavens. I don't know what her octaval range is, but I could hear the glass in my living room windows getting ready to shatter as she climbed up to Minnie Riperton levels and then came all the way back down again, below the sidewalk and subways. Immmmmmmmmmpressive!…with an energy that set me back in my chair, pushed the chair against the wall, and left a permanent concavity in that wallpapered partition. All the while, the horn section capered and cavorted all around her. Man, this Aubrey, she's hands down a force of nature!

I dug Urban Renewal Project's first gig, Go Big or Go Home (here), and really liked Kenny Nealy's vocals, sorry to see him no longer part of the ensemble, but, well, Aubrey Logan has a SMOKIN' future ahead of her, and it starts right here. There's no way she's not going to be huge, and URP (heh!, love that acronym) underwrites her like gold matrixing a diamond. Catch the super tight repeating horn patterns in Make Like You Mean It and then the layback and Brian Clements' flute in its follow-on, You're Beautiful, a cut with rapper Elmer Demond (full moniker: Elmer Demond Logan…hmmmm) on vox, follows up in a great bass solo (Dustin Morgan).

Guitarists Andrew Lee and Tim Friedlander are heard but a bit submerged in the mix; both need to get some solos in to contrast the horns more noticeably (only Lee gets a solo on this disc, and just one at that). And I'm not the biggest fan of Rap unless it arises within heavy metal, though Demond's pretty good here. Still, duets between Logan and Nealy would have been vastly preferrable. I'm not really rankin' on URP, this CD's going in my permanent collection along with their first, but I think the rap gig was an experiment that didn't quite work out as hoped, though it comes through well enough on We Big Tonight as vocal ostinato. Aubrey Logan, though, is an absolute find and must remain part of the band.

Regardless, URP's métier is party / dance hall music, gettin' ya to jump up and boogie whether ya wanna or not. It's not like you have a choice, Jeeter, unless you lack ears and a soul, in which case I advise looking into Barry Manilow or Yanni. The band isn't shy about opening its ribs up and letting that collective heart out, pulsing with sinew and energy. Tenor saxist / clarinetist R.W. Enoch is the linchpin of it all, writing and arranging everything, but this choice of new lead singer, a woman who's a lock, stock, and barrel phenom, is the wisest move he's made yet. Hopefully, she'll be a permanent member in short order.

Hmmm……am I getting my message across or just being my usual shy, wallflower, blushing, modest, unassuming, bashful, meek, reserved, reticent, retiring, self-effacing, unobtrusive, coy, moderate, timid self?

Track List:

  • My Own Way
  • Rooftops & Parking Lots
  • Make Like You Mean It
  • You're Beautiful
  • Redshift
  • Change
  • We Big Tonight
  • Prophecy
  • The Belief
All songs written by R.W. Enoch Jr.,
all rap lyrics written by Elmer Demond Logan.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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