I first saw RM play at Tobacco Rd, Miami in 2002 and have now seen him twice in 2006 in London, playing small clubby venues. It's great seeing him achieve the recognition this side of the Atlantic that he deserves and has worked hard to achieve - there will be so much to come, of that I am sure.
The briliant older material from 'Blind to Reality' has been developed into a new collection of songs on 'State of Mind' that use Raul's positive lyrics to entertain and uplift in equal measure. RM's thoughts on moving to New York (State of Mind) sit happily alongside a tribute to his wife (Waiting all my Life), whilst the reggae infused Keep on Hoping crosses a confident line to pop territory and we get to hear RM at his life embracing best on Expressions of Love (supported on harmonica by Stevie Wonder).
Raul's late producer, the towering Arif Mardin has made the right decision to keep the production stripped down in the studio, allowing RM's immense vocal range, blinding guitar playing, those percussive finger taps and the simply amazing trumpet solo scat to balance one another in exactly the proportions that this modestly spoken genius employs when standing under a spotlight, without support or interference from any other musical backing.
At RM's first London gig he explained how his brother is a NASA scientist - there must be a very proud family back in Embudo, New Mexico!
The live experiences are moments that I shall treasure, along with RM's between song banter that displays grace and wit in abundance. For those unable to get to see this musical giant in the flesh, 'State of Mind' is a hugely valuable record of 21st Century American music's brightest new star.
I first saw and heard Raul Midon on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and was instantly blown away. Just one man and his guitar, as if the two were fused together as one organism, but the rhythm, pace and sheer power he generates simply must be heard to believe. He vaguely reminded me of George Benson in his halcyon days, who had the ability to sing in harmony with the guitar he was playing; in Raul's case he seems to be able to perfectly mimic a trumpet using just his mouth and vocal cords, developed and perfected from his earliest years as a child when he would just hum to the songs he loved, while not knowing the words. We've all done it, but Raul is the master, and you'd better believe it when I say that he's exciting, he grabs your attention, how could he be otherwise with all that passion generated? For music lovers everywhere, for anyone who wants to hear their car or home hifi system at its most musical best: add State of Mind to your collection, it's a must-have.
I was searching guitar lessons on youtube when I came across RM singing 'State of Mind'. I was blown away and immediately bought the album. The last 'new' artist I reacted to like this was Alicia Keys. RM is equally musical and the album is solid gold. Shades of Bobby Womack, Benson, Jose Feliciano and mainly Stevie Wonder but all wrapped up in his own identity. I bought 5 more copies for friends and family with universal acclaim. I also bought the (admittedly less good) second album, which is still ok but State of mind is the one.
This CD is a real undiscovered gem, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes their music soulful, sometimes with a latin twist. Raul's vocals glide over beautiful acoustic harmonies, resulting in a fantastic treat for music-lovers.
I bought this album about a month ago after reading a review of it on Amazon.com and seeing it as a recommended album on iTunes. After listening to a few of the 30-second track samples, I took the chance and downloaded the album - how glad I am now that I took that chance! This album is a hidden gem, virtually unknown here in the UK, and I can't wait for Raul to get more coverage on these shores. Highlights of the album include 'Waited All My Life', 'Everybody', 'Mystery Girl' and 'If You're Gonna Leave'. The duets with Jason Mraz and Stevie Wonder are also worth checking out. The reason I didn't give the album 5 stars? The end tracks are slightly weaker than the others in that they aren't quite as catchy and are rather repetitive, but perhaps my opinion will change as I listen to them more and more. This album is well worth the money - buy it and enjoy Raul's pure, soulful voice in all its glory.
I saw Raul at the South by South West festival in Austin, Texas earlier this year and what a performance! He's a mixture of Jose Feliciano and Stevie Wonder with great vocal and guitar skills. The CD is wonderful and a great treat. Don't miss it, you will not be disappointed.