Jarvis Church celebrates and updates the legendary Bill Withers with his contemporary cover of Just The Two Of Us — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
The release is fresh from Church’s forthcoming album The Soul Station Vol. 3: A Tribute to Bill Withers and Beyond — the latest in an ongoing series paying tribute to his favourite soul singers. “This time, however, there’s a twist,” Jarvis says. “I decided to lose the retro sound, and interpret these classics with contemporary modern production. And, for each of the modern production styles of the four Bill Withers classics, I used contemporary hits as sonic references. See if you can identify them.”
In addition to Just The Two Of Us, The Soul Station Vol. 3 will include Lovely Day, Use Me and Ain’t No Sunshine. Deliberately missing? “Lean On Me,” Church reveals. “I did about five versions of it, but I couldn’t get a modern take I was happy with. Club Nouveau’s version was one of my favourite songs when I was a kid; there was just no way to top that.”
It’s this unbridled passion for soul music and modern production that fuse together to make both Church’s cover of Just The Two Of Us, as well as The Soul Station Vol. 3 so special. Listening to the retro addition of high-pitched saxophone wailing, coupled with modern house synths and drum kits, invites new and old listeners alike to experience the song from a unique angle.
“The album also features five original songs that take my love of soul and house music ‘beyond’,” he adds, explaining the album’s subtitle. “The ‘beyond’ part was an invitation for me to make the kind of music that really excites me, especially since, like so many people around the world, I found solace in my craft during the isolation of the pandemic. The genesis of The Soul Station series was my love for performing live … What better way than combining my 20-year catalog of original songs with my favourite soul singer classics?”
Based in Los Angeles, with his roots in Toronto, Church is the lead singer for the R&B-pop group The Philosopher Kings; it was during the group’s 10-year hiatus that he started his solo career with the release of his debut album Shake It Off. From there, he has been paying homage to the artists who inspired him as a young soul singer. His past Soul Station volumes include tributes to Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield. The next instalment is due in spring.