EP Review: Tameca Jones “Naked”

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by Dylan Goodman

Tameca Jones is a soul and R&B singer from Austin, Texas who recently released her EP Naked. Tameca has mainly done covers in the past, but this being her first release as a solo artist, she has decided to bare all and sing her own original songs.

Motown-influenced track “Hot and Bothered” gets it off to a rollicking start, the deep and heavy lead guitar riffs top off layers of busy drums and stabbing rhythm guitars. There are eerie, weaving backing vocals, similar in a way to Tameca’s own performance on Gary Clark Jr’s 2015 track “Wings”, where many might have heard her for the first time. In “Hot and Bothered”, Tameca’s vocals are beautiful and piercing throughout. She establishes the subject for most of the album when she sings of a crush she has, the mystery man that’s setting her heart aflame.

The following 2 tracks cool the EP off a bit and Tameca displays some of her variety. “Let Me Be” is more languid, held together by a solid grooving bass line and reggae-like guitar parts played like punctuation marks throughout the track. “Head Over Heels” comes across as more of a ballad. It sounds like the “Queen of Austin Soul” is pining over somebody. I grew tired of it much quicker than the other tracks on the EP, but it’s another great example of Tameca’s shining vocals. Her voice is unique, shrill and keen. It’s like a pane of glass, (maybe the pane in the window to her “Naked” soul) that vibrates and flexes, but never shatters.

“Sandman” is one of the first songs she ever wrote. Tameca said herself “I really think the song “Sandman” reflects my naked self.” In the same interview with Sounds so Beautiful, she said that the song has gone through many iterations. I think the version on “Naked” is a fantastic one, the whole EP is worth listening to, but if you’re short on time, “Sandman” is the cornerstone, a taste of everything good Tameca Jones has to offer. It includes probably her best vocal performance on the album and some blues-inspired guitar.

A cover of Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets” is the closer, perhaps fittingly, as a small nod to her career as a cover artist. For an artist’s first solo release, especially an artist who doesn’t traditionally perform her own songs, I think Naked is an astounding one. It’s one to listen to on a sunny day, with a cocktail in hand. Although she has drawn from many influences, Naked showcases a style she can call her own. Her piercing voice is definitely one that we’ll be hearing much more of very soon.

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