Label: 2020 Manhaton Records
The ultimate trio – Robin Trower, Maxi Priest, and Livingstone Brown, teams up to bring forth United State of Mind. The album projects a blend of Reggae and Blues that emboldens the title of the record as “United.” Having worked with Maxi Priest and Robin Trower both on an individual basis, Livingstone Brown finally brought the trio together to create this 9-track masterpiece. Browne provided the studio space and engineering skills, as well as some of the instrumentation. Meanwhile, Maxi Priest lent his vocals as Trower plays through with his sleek, smooth stylings.
The album begins with the title track, “United State of Mind,” which separates itself from much of the rest of the record. The premier track, maintains a more upbeat, faster sound, with melodramatic lyrics whereas the rest of the tracks, apart from “On Fire Like Zsa Zsa,” carry the opposite effect. The sound and tempo are distinguishingly slower and more relaxed, while the lyrics often offer an introspective feel and message or a positive outlook. Regardless of the concept surrounding each track, it is far from your typical Blues record. The fusion of two genres appeals to the typical Blues connoisseur’s yearning for a new and different sound.
“Are We Just People” is the most thought-provoking piece of the album. It asks the age-old questions we as humans often wonder but, we cannot begin to comprehend what the answers could honestly entail. “Should we just keep pushing? I’m thinking I should take some time…begs the continuum question, how far, is too far? And what is it, that we ultimately want to uncover? On the flipside, “ Hand to the Sky” lights up United State of Mind as it speaks of rejuvenation, rebirth; and lifting the spirit of the audience.
The continuation of newness and rebirth continues on “Good Day.” And you might think to yourself…”I thought this was ‘Blues’?” Well, yes it is, however, Blues can also paint pictures and tell stories rather than just concentrate on the negative and sadness of a life or situation. This song, expresses just how much 24 hours can change a man and his mindset. Following up, “On Fire Like Zsa Zsa” is a cool track with a wicked game to play. This woman ‘Zsa Zsa’ will wrap you up in her clutches if you don’t know how to play her game to your advantage.
We come back down from our feel-good, jam tracks, to discover “Bring It All Back to You.” This piece yearns to make things right with a former lover and even the attempt to talk things out seems to slip the singer up. Combine the struggling lyricism with the emphasis on Trower’s gliding staccato-like guitar structure, you get a soothing but heart-aching composition. “Walking Wounded” follows suit in its painful emotion. If the title wasn’t enough to show you, how quickly on a dime, emotions can flip. Sit and listen to how he comes to an understanding that some situations just cannot be fixed.
On the final two tracks, “Sunrise Revolution” is all about being on this quest for answers and truth. And the singer’s answer is in-fact a ‘sunrise revolution’, to shine a light on deceit and the right and clear intentions of so many in our lives; both of powerful and common-man. Then, rounding out the album, “Where Our Love Came From,” is a short mission to get back to a place of stability and order from the singer’s point-of-view in a relationship of his. Whether it is past or present is unclear, but the track does well in not saying too much and leading out with a cool, tender guitar solo that gradually decrescendos in the listener’s ear.
Key Tracks include: “Are We Just People,” “Good Day,” “On Fire Like Zsa Zsa” and “United State of Mind.”
Gregg Keniston - MuzikMan.net Staff
February 5, 2021
01. United State of Mind
02. Are We Just People
03. Hand to the Sky
04. Good Day
05. On Fire Like Zsa Zsa
06. Bring it All Back to You
07. Walking Wounded
08. Sunrise Revolution
09. Where Our Love Came From