Hit play. Listen. Pause. I need to see a visual of the person singing. What a voice! So, I look up XOXOK and find a video of XOXOK playing in a room with just his guitar.
Hang on… let’s back up. When I hit play, I was stunned by the voice I heard, but there was a voice in my head was saying, “This isn’t what you usually like!” Well, I made that little voice shut up and opened my mind to the music.
What I soon discovered was the enormous amount of talent and passion XOXOK has and puts so effectively into his music. His voice is rich and textured. A blend of modern R&B with a strong and powerful throwback to 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s soul.
The backing vocals pick up his voice and compliment it rather than drown it out or compete with it.
When the first track, “Nancy” starts, it strikes me as straight up radio pop, then moves, slides and slithers its way into an “in the pocket” grove that builds and climaxes with the guitar solo.
XOXOK can play the hell out of a guitar. The dynamics are incredible. You think you are being seduced and lulled, and then he hits you with noise, reverb so dripping and eloquent. It is this dynamic that shows his depth of talent.
“Flaws”… I want to hear this song in a film. I would love to see a Tarantino film or a film of that genre take “Flaws” and use it to drive a scene. It is a beautiful song that took me for a trip through the eras of influence XOXOK must explore.
Keenan Jenkins is XOXOK. Let that be known. He may hold a Ph.D from UNC, but his calling is truly vocal master and translator of guitar legends throughout time.
XOXOK plays The Station on May 11 for his album release party. I am sad I will not be there. The Editor will be having all the fun instead. As for me, my eyes and ears have been opened and I can’t wait to see him perform live.
If you can get to The Station this weekend for the show, then do it. You will be glad you did.
Featured Image by Wyatt Kane, courtesy of XOXOK.